Santa Barbara used to be a town I remembered vaguely from the 80’s soap opera. I had never been a fan of soap operas but we had only one TV set at home and anything on TV was very intriguing than most things when you are a kid. As I grew up, I forgot about Santa Barbara and its “American Riviera” fame until I heard it again from Cigdem, my colleague for a year in Istanbul, who had spent one semester as an exchange student in the city during during college. All I heard was how amazing the city was, how beautiful the people were and how easy the life was. It was like a description of heaven on earth, at least for my colleague it was. Then some more years passed until our road trip along the route 1 of California. That was my opportunity to see the city with my own eyes and write my own version of praise.
If you arrive from north along route 1, you’ll start to see smaller towns with beautiful holiday houses. Who would not want to live there if you can afford? Weather is almost perfect, with sunshine and sea breeze, a major metropolitan area (LA) is in driving distance, with all its vineyards, farms, lakes, forests and mountains California is like your backyard. Yet, once you arrive Santa Barbara, you somehow get a hit of reality: That city ain’t built for everyone. Its beauty is painted by visible exclusivity tones. A short walk on the streets or avenues of the city; a coffee or lunch break by the beach assures you that out of millions who would love to live there; only a small fraction of them can really afford to settle down.
The things we remember about Santa Barbara are of course not limited to how supply and demand curves determine real estate prices. It is a well-known destination for surfers around the state and the world. The city has a beautiful boardwalk pier where you can go for a walk any any time of the day, any day of the year.
But you should remember that every day can be your lucky day on the pier because it is home to many many birds.
There are plenty of dining options to choose from the rich California cuisine. We had one of our best Mexican tacos at Lilly’s and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of Santa Barbara Roasting Company shop with black coffee. ‘Twas a nice relaxed afternoon that will stay with us forever.
I also could not resist to award myself with some local branded merchandise. Those will probably will stay with me until the next time I visit this good-looking, feel-good city.
To read more on our California trip, please visit: California Road Trip of 2014