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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

When Things Go Wrong...

So, things aren't going too well. We spent two nights in the flat (still gorgeous despite all the construction)  and couldn't take the smell of the chemical wood preservative anymore. At 4 am D. and I were both lying there wide awake and decided we would have to move out at least until the smell abates. We're hoping three nights will suffice but who knows. Right now 'our small adventure' is taking a small detour to a hotel. Even the landlord, a very charming Frenchman who had nipped over to cover the windows with a one way film to protect my modesty from the workmen, agreed it was all a bit much.
Glamorous hey?

In my eagerness not to blow the budget (and probably in reaction to the extreme sticker shock I'm experiencing after the affordability of Portugal) I booked us the extreme value option. Believe me an 85 euro room is hard to find in Paris even in February. I know some of you didn't think I could do it! But perhaps you're right because I've only lasted one night. Thankfully D. is a patient man. The reviews on Tripadvisor sounded good and it was located on the Ile de La Cite, a short walk from the flat. I  focused on the fact that it was located in the  Hotel Dieu, an amazing historic building right next to Notre Dame. What I spent less time thinking about was that while it's a beautiful building, the  Hotel Dieu is also a working hospital! I should have focused on their their website on which the French Tourist board declare it is  "juste un petit peu diffĂ©rent" - this may be Gallic understatement. Yes, it is an amazing location, but less amazing was passing the cardiac unit as you come in,  it has been a somewhat surreal experience. Tomorrow will probably switch to a place near the apartment in the Marias, where hopefully we won't have to pass the surgical center on the way to our room. 
Really, that is the cardiac unit on the left and the door to the "hotel" on the right!

Don't feel too sorry for us, we've been making the best of things with Paris at our feet. We have had two good bistro meals at L'Ange 20 & Brice Miche, and did a walking tour of Ile de la Cite  from a wonderful book our friend B. gave us before we left home. Walks Through Lost Paris is a wonderful guide to the architectural reconstruction of Paris under Hausmann and sends you on a journey to see the remains of the Paris that was erased in his 'modernization' project.  We were fascinated to learn that the Ile de la Cite was originally several smaller islands and that there was a Jewish ghetto here prior to the Marais. 

So that's all for now - A.