Thursday, August 27, 2015

{California coastin'} Flashback: Day 2

I have seen beautiful photos of Hearst Castle from friends of mine and I couldn't wait to visit it for myself. We started our second day doing a tour of the Grand Rooms at the magnificent Hearst Castle. I was pretty bummed to find out when booking this tour that the pool had been drained due to a pool leak that needed to be renovated. In addition, CA was doing their part to conserve water because of our severe drought and the pool, due to the leak, needed continual filling up. Oh well.

My first impression of the mansion itself was complete awe that a person lived in such grandeur many, many years ago, but my impression of the staff of such a place was a stark difference. Ugly and horrible. They had me fuming by the end of the tour and I demanded my money back from the park staff which I was granted days later by phone. Yes, I was that mad that I continued to seek to have my voice heard and money back even after I had left the premises.

So lets start at the beginning...
I quickly began to notice upon arrival that the staff would pounce, I mean pounce, the second you touched anything. And I mean anything. Darren was leaning on the ledge of a fountain pool admiring the statue and someone ran over and said, "Don't touch that!" No please, no explanation, nothing. A flat out demand. I looked around to see that there was not a single "Please Do Not Touch" sign anywhere. Odd, but ok, we won't touch the ledge.

I later took Darren to get his diaper changed while the rest of our tour group entered the castle. When I was reunited with the group I saw some of the tourists in my group walking through the hallways and their foot would barely leave the carpeted area onto the wooden floor and again a security guy would come practically running to tell them to keep their feet on the carpet area. Mind you, the wooden floor is part of the walkway and the rug area was smaller. How was anyone to know you can't put a toe on a certain section of the walkway?? If you don't want people walking on the floor make the carpeted area bigger! But again, whatever, and I kept to myself.

On to the next room and a few tourists began to whisper to each other. I'm sure they were talking about what they were seeing. They were pointing, admiring the architecture, no big deal. They weren't bothering me and thats what you do when visiting a historic sight. Well, security lady comes running over and shushes them right to their faces!! As if they were children. I look at Tim and I said under my breathe, "They are really anal here." At this point I was ready to get out because I could tell they were watching our every single move and that is so lame, uncomfortable, and not how I like to feel while exploring and learning about a place.

Now let me add before I get to my final thought that I have traveled to many places and visited many museums and historic landmarks with young children. Palace of Versailles, Louvre, the British Museum, (just to name a few) and countless of European castles. I know plenty of people who wouldn't even entertain that thought.
I also am well aware how kids act. Sometimes they can be noisy and fussy and I know when my child needs to leave an area as to not disturb anybody who wants to enjoy a museum.  I get it. Trust me.

It is now near the end of the tour. My kids were honestly behaving. They weren't talking but Darren is starting to get antsy which I expected from him because well, he is 2, a 2 year old boy for that matter, and he is my more rambunkches one. Darren can't really talk (he needs speech) so he begins to make innocent babbling noises while holding my hand. We were standing near the back of the room at the end of the line as to not disturb anybody else, because remember, I know what little kids are like. I was suddenly approached from that same security lady who loudly said, "Keep your kid quiet!" I was completely taken back at her forcefulness, rudeness, and demeaning tone that she stunned me to where I didn't respond immediately. She pointed her finger at him as if he was a dumb dog, as if he was an out of control animal clearly not wanted here, when in fact, his noises were calm innocent child noises. Anyone who has a problem with that has some serious, serious issues. I rolled my eyes trying to pick up Darren and process what to say when Tim and another tourist lady with a child quickly came to my defense.

Tim- "No. We are not. He is 2."
Other tourist lady in my defense- "You can't say that! Everyone else is talking and you aren't saying anything!"

Now security lady is cornered by Tim and a fellow mother and it quickly became a battle. 2 against 1.
Tim finally ended it with a firm, "YOU are bothering me and because of YOU I can't hear what is being said."
And then security lady, clearly in the wrong, walks away.
I was instantly pissed.

The other lady who came to my defense also had a child just Cara's age and she couldn't believe what just happened. Her little one was crying earlier and you can tell she was trying to manage her while making sure no now was bothered and she did just that!
In my opinion, if kids are clearly not wanted here, then you shouldn't have children admittance. No one was bothered by us. No one noticed until security lady came by and made a commotion.
I was floored and sickened how rude she was.

The rest of the time we were there I was so bugged I couldn't enjoy anything. And the next time my kids touched the wall or briefly touched a statue I didn't say anything to stop them. See?...

How else are we supposed to know??



I have freakin' taken my kids to the Palace of Versaillas for crying out loud and they were not only graciously welcomed, but they were treated with great respect and invited to explore and learn French history. How sad that people all over the world come to my state of California, in my country, and have to experiene such rudeness. How embarrassing and how unfortunate.

Anyways, I had to put that out there. I left very disappointed. In my opinion, go with older kids or as adults if you feel the need to visit this place. The end.


On to a much happier note and to more pleasant parts of our trip....

After lunch in the car (which I packed before we arrived to the castle) we headed to Moonstone Beach. For as long as I can remember my kids have collected rocks wherever we go. Numerous times my girls arrived to the hotel or even our house with pockets bulging with rocks. I knew this beach would be a good stop for them to let loose and explore after a constraining trip to the museum.

Good quality restaurants are hard to come by in the middle of nowhere CA but we did find a random great one near our hotel called, Dan's The Grub Shack, where the kids enjoyed homemade mac-n-cheese, Tim had the Ortega Green Chili Burger, and I had a pulled pork sandwich. It was pretty good! We recommend! And the staff with their overly friendly attitude was a niiiice treat and welcome after today!

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