Day 20: June 28, 2011
A Ranch House
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This is what its owner called "the ranch at San Simeon" and which everyone else calls the Hearst Castle. And everyone else told me this was a place I had to see. William Randolph Hearst had the "castle" built in the first half of the twentieth century. A phenomenal amount of European art and artifacts is either on display or incorporated into the building. That fancy door is an example. I recall that it came from Europe and believe it was from a monastery but I could be wrong about that part. The ocean view was already there which spared Hearst the effort of transporting the Mediterranean or something similar.

Rosemary, our guide, told us the origin of most of the major pieces and had answers for every question about the smaller ones. There were so many good stories that they've become jumbled or simply fell out of my brain. I do recall that Mr. Hearst and his guests, who would stay for days or weeks, did dine at that long elaborate table.

The Grand Rooms Tour, which was what I was on, only included a small portion of the castle. The Roman Pool wasn't exactly part of the tour but was where shuttle buses returning to the visitor center were loaded. I think it may have impressed me as much as anything. Apparently no old used European goodies were used here. Even the statues were freshly carved by Italian Carlo Freter in the early 1930s.

A very late breakfast was about an hour away in Oceano. There are many more stories about diners being made from train cars than there are diners for which that is true but this is the real thing. It's actually two cars, a dining car and a lounge car, joined together. I liked the fact that, in addition to the typical movie posters and such, the walls contained old road maps. I see Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon it the picture. The food? Superb!

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