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Going to California with a honeymoon in my heart

Just a few photos from our July 2022 honeymoon in northern California, from jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to garlic ice cream in Gilroy.

wedding ring on finger with wedding flowers

As you might remember from the note in our last ALDI meal plan oh so long ago (OK, three weeks ago, but who’s counting), I’ve taken a couple weeks off here to get married and go on a little honeymoon to northern California. That seems like a decent excuse, don’t you think?

California Dreaming

laughing with my brothers and wearing the same baby yoda shirt

So I thought I’d share just a few photos from our trip, since this was the first real vacation either of us had taken in almost three years! We first flew into San Jose and stopped to visit family for a couple of days full of games, food, and catching up, then took off on a quick touristy tour of some of the beautiful coastal areas in northern California. (And yes, my brother and I somehow own the very same Baby Yoda READ t-shirt. What this says about our family, I’m not quite sure…)

From Monterey to Half Moon Bay

jellyfish at the monterey bay aquarium

One highlight of our travels: We spent an entire afternoon exploring the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which has always been one of my favorite places to visit. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop in and experience their amazing jellyfish exhibit, the sea otters, the penguins, and so much more.

While in Monterey, also take some time just to admire the beauty of Monterey Bay. This was the view from our hotel room balcony, and the peaceful sounds of the waves and the birds lulled us to sleep each night. (The sound of those sea lions, though? Maybe not so much.) Driving just over an hour from San Jose to Monterey, the temperature dropped 20 degrees, too; 60s in July was such a pleasant change from hot and humid Chicago.

And they call Chicago the Windy City…!

wearing a sweatshirt on the beach in half moon bay

It got so chilly, in fact, that we had to do the touristy thing and pick up new sweatshirts to wear, which also came in handy on this very beautiful, yet very windy, beach up the coast in Half Moon Bay. We ate our way up the coast from Monterey to Half Moon Bay, enjoying excessive amounts of fresh clam chowder and seafood and marveling at the prices and freshness at the roadside fruit stands.

half moon bay beach

Chilly or not, Half Moon Bay was about as pretty as Monterey. We spent a pleasant morning here walking along the beach, looking for shells, talking to fishermen, and watching the surfing school practice their moves in the waves.

Garlic… ice cream?

garlic ice cream sign

Oh, and on the way to Monterey, we detoured slightly over to Gilroy, CA (garlic capital of the world!) and tried garlic ice cream at Garlic World. Believe it or not, both of us quite enjoyed the experience and would eat it again, and we came home with some lovely California garlic and garlic-based seasonings to enjoy later.

Back to reality

brown and white jellyfish

Here: Enjoy another jellyfish picture as I spare you the photos from our last night in Sunnyvale, where we found bedbugs in our hotel room. Luckily this was before we slept there, and luckily we were also close enough to family that we were able to detour over there, sanitize our clothes and ourselves, and spend the night before heading to the airport in the morning. Life lesson here: Always, always check any hotel bed before sleeping in it.

(Before this trauma, however, we stumbled across some live music in downtown Sunnyvale and enjoyed some of the most excellent Middle Eastern food I’ve ever had. The town somewhat redeemed itself!)

looking out the balcony to the water on the bay

So, that’s a bit of what we’ve been up to, before coming back to reality and kids and cats and continuing the move-in-and-get-the-house-in-order process. After looking at real estate prices in northern California, though, I think you’re stuck with me here — and, it is also nice to be back. 🙂


Sunday 14th of August 2022

Congratulations-looks lie you had a great time!


Monday 8th of August 2022

Congratulations on your marriage. I hope you are both very happy.

Jan Wishau

Sunday 7th of August 2022

Rachel, I'm happy for you and your husband. Thanks for sharing the fun photos. May God mightily bless your marriage.

Teresa B

Saturday 6th of August 2022

Congratulations!!🎉 Beautiful pictures!!


Saturday 6th of August 2022

Congratulations 🎉 and thank you for sharing pictures, it looked like a beautiful spot to travel to. I love your page and happy to see your back. Best wishes on your marriage.