Day 1,534 of Traveling the World | Santa Barbara, CA | April 14, 2022

Santa Barbara proclaims itself the “American Riviera,” with one section of the city actually referred to as the Riviera area. It is known for its mild and pleasant Mediterranean climate year-round.

We decided to take a ship excursion, since we had free money from the cruise line on our account. A 90-minute trolley ride took us through the main street of next-door Montecito first, where we heard more celebrity names than ever before, all people who currently live, or formerly lived, in the city. We saw lots of Spanish architecture in Santa Barbara and toured several neighborhoods, first of the bungalows that cost $1 million, and then the neighborhood that started with $5 million houses. They all looked pretty modest and normal to us. We had heard years ago that many people who worked in Santa Barbara couldn’t afford to live there, and thus had long commutes to work.

We had a stop at the Mission, which was built on a hill up from the beach because there were water sources there. It was founded by the Spanish in 1786, and the current building dates to 1820, as the original was destroyed in a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 1812. The Spanish also constructed a Presidio in 1782 (defense first, church second). It is one of four California Presidios built to defend cities on the California coast (also in San Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego).

All in all, the weather was beautiful, with a little breeze, full sunshine, about 70 degrees – a picture-perfect day. Our trolley tour was very informative and light-hearted. We met two new friends, Julie and Steve, and talked with them late into the evening. There was lots of laughter, lots of stories shared. The ship, the Majestic Princess, has been a great home for almost two weeks.

The Syuxtun Story Circle mosaic, 20 feet around and consisting of 200,000 tiles. It was placed by the Chumash community to commemorate the first known residential area of the village of Santa Barbara.
View of the Pacific Ocean and ships at rest from Stearns Wharf. From almost every vantage point in the city, there are views of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
We love that the local Sandman accepts Venmo! We would show you his work and we would have Venmo’ed him, but it was too early in the creation process.
Dolphin sculpture at the entrance to the wharf. Years ago, when we took a whale watching cruise in Santa Barbara, we were surrounded by hundreds of dolphins leaping up, out, and back into the water for many miles. In the hundreds of days we have spent on the water, it was a unique and joyful sight for us, and they looked just like this sculpture!
Checks out all those masts making scribbles in the sky. There are no docking fees for boats along Santa Barbara, mostly because, without a bay, ships often get tossed around by the Pacific winds. Dock or moor your boat at your own risk!
Believe it or not – and you won’t! – the teeny-tiny bungalows in this one area, like the one pictured, go for a cool $1 million each!
The Lobero Theater dates to 1873, and is typical of the arched Spanish architecture found all over Santa Barbara.
A glance down State Street, the city’s main drag for shopping and dining. It is now closed to traffic due to outside street space required for dining. But as you can see in the next photo….
…the residents aren’t particularly happy with the “quality” of the outdoor dining construction on State Street.
A pretty park that we passed on our trolley ride tour.
Why is this photo included, you ask? Behind the old train car is the Moreton Bay fig tree, spanning 160 feet, believed to be the largest ficus macrophylla in the US. A seaman visiting Santa Barbara in 1876 presented an Australian seedling to a local girl, who planted it here.
A gorgeous bougainvillea shrub glimpsed from the trolley.
The Presidio of Santa Barbara with the chapel in the middle.
A great name for a gourmet coffee truck.
Our trolley, stopped for a break next to the old fountain at Santa Barbara Mission.
Santa Barbara Mission Church, called “the Queen of the Missions.”
The Mission Historical Park is filled with roses of every color.
If you look into the distance toward the ocean, our cruise ship can be seen in the middle of this photo, taken from the steps of the Mission.
A gentle reminder from one of the Franciscan Friars who staff the mission.
The inside of the mission church.
The chandelier fixture inside was very colorful and interesting.
Outside, the colonnade has gorgeous Spanish arches.
You cannot smoke in the city, even in the open air!
The wharf planks were very rough and splintery. Being barefooted would hurt, and we are not sure that heels would make it out in one piece. Of course, though, few people at the beach were wearing high heels!