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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

21 May 2016

Overtly ottery day

23 April 2016

Today we ended up in Sonoma. Wine country!

It looked like it had snowed rather than rained higher up in Yosemite, and the big granite domes were all dusted with icing sugar when we drove away, very beautiful. Our route wound its way gradually down through forested mountains and then grassy hills, to the flat lands below – a more northern part of that huge San Joaquin valley. Here we crossed some of the rivers that run into Sacramento Bay, spotting a sealion in passing, and then stopped off at Grizzly Island Reserve.

Grizzly Island is a wetland reserve, and one of those places that shows the American attitude to wildlife and conservation which we sometimes find hard to parse in the UK. So, it’s a wildlife reserve… where you can hunt the wildlife. At least, some of the animals can be hunted (and fished), while others are being conserved. Presumably without the interest in hunting there wouldn’t be enough support for protecting the area as a wilderness in the first place?

Anyway, we had a really great view of an otter fishing along the slough (slough = tidal river channel), and they at least aren’t allowed to be hunted. We watched from a bridge and he almost swam right underneath us.

Otter a-fishing

Otter a-fishing


We decided to celebrate our otter with a good bite to eat tonight. Sonoma is much nearer sea level, and nearer the coast, and bathed in beautiful sunshine. What we have now, however, is a fairly powerful wind blowing down from the north. It might have been a beautiful sunny evening, but it was still T-shirt, jumper and jacket temperatures wandering around town in search of dinner. We found a place called El Dorado Kitchen, very stylish and full of very stylish people. Luckily we fit right in! My favourite dish was cubes of slow-cooked pork belly with cubes of pressed watermelon, a spicy dressing over them both.

The place we’re staying in – the Alexandra Suite – is described as a suite but is basically an entire house, fully equipped and with plenty to eat and drink in the fridge.

The Alexandra Suites

The Alexandra Suites

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