Our slumber was cut short at 4.00 am by our daughter, Sarah, texting from Australia. After only a couple of hours sleep, I was wide awake so we Skyped home at around 6.00 am USA time. It was good to check in with Steven and Sarah at home and know that everything was alright.

At 7.00 am we dressed and went to the buffet breakfast to fill up for the day. I don’t normally do breakfast, but here it’s complimentary and therefore the most important meal of the day. If we fill up here, that’s less we have to buy later, and more in our budget for fun stuff. Besides, we had a lot of walking to do today.

After a large and leisurely breakfast and three cups of tea, we wandered along the sea front, turned left at Stern’s Wharf, walked under the 101 and up the hill along the main shopping area of Santa Barbara, State Street. It’s all very pretty Spanish style architecture, with lots of greenery around. The photo below is the beginning of the walk near Sterns Wharf.

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We did a detour off to the right to find the cop shop and after being told the review of our parking fine would take a month to finalise, we decided to just pay the $58 fine and not have it hanging over our heads for our stay in the USA.

Then we walked through the residential area to the Santa Barbara Bowl, the venue for tomorrow night’s Depeche Mode concert. There were lots of huge trees on the streets, the pavements were all over the place because of the roots. There were also signs everywhere telling people they could not park between certain hours on certain days because that’s when the street sweeper comes through.

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We couldn’t collect our tickets, as they are only available from 90 minutes before the concert. So we walked back down the hill towards the Pacific, stopping on the way to get a USA SIM card for Chris’ phone.

Our mission for today was to find tea bags, we had kept our one and only tea pod from the coffee machine last night, so we could trick the machine into giving us hot water. We found a shopping complex with a Trader Joes and a Rite Aid so we bought some English Breakfast Tea, snacks and Tylenol. All the essentials.

Our next stop was the Santa Barbara Zoo. It’s only a small zoo so we knew we could walk around it quite easily. It was great. Our first stop was to feed the giraffes. It only cost an extra $6.00, and it was something we’d never done before.

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After that we just meandered around, looking at all the birds and animals, and some creepy crawlies too. It was a warm day of around 30 degrees so we took our time with plenty of stops in shady places, and drank all our bottled water.

There was a train ride around the complex which we took as well, the driver was quite good fun, but I noticed Chris was closing his eyes once or twice. Time to head back to the hotel for a nanna nap! Our zoo visit wasn’t rushed, we saw all we wanted from around 11.00 am to 2.30 pm. We left and made our way back along the sea front to our hotel for a shower and a snooze.

In the evening, we decided we’d go out to dinner on State Street, and we ended up in Joe’s Cafe, it was very nice. As soon as we sat down we were given two glasses of water, then soon after that, complimentary bread, crackers, butter and salsa. We ordered pork chop, mash and veggies for Chris and I had the pasta with chicken. Both meals were delicious and just the right size. We had a glass of wine too, so we were really pushing the boat out. And yet the bill was only about $45 all up. We thought that was a good value dinner with great service, so we paid $50 and didn’t ask for change.

Right next door to Joe’s Cafe is the Old Kings Head pub. If you are a Depeche Mode fan, you will know of this place. If you are not, it’s an English pub, and Martin Gore sometimes DJs here for charity. Martin lives in Santa Barbara so effectively, this is his local English pub. A magnet for DM fans, so of course we went in.

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As we walked in I spotted a couple of familiar faces, but seeing as I’d only ever seen photos online before, I wasn’t too sure… Chris bought himself a Heineken and I had a Baileys on ice. The bartender just kept pouring, I reckon it was a triple. We walked down towards the booths and sat down in the first booth. I kept looking at the familiar faces at the bar. Eventually I had to go and ask, “are you Jennifer, and Michele?”. Yes they were. We chatted for ages, it was a bit surreal, but fun. Soon, after some texts by Michele, other fans started turning up, and the place got very loud, DM songs started to play on the jukebox. Eventually we had to call it a night. The others partied on for a long time, but this tired, still jet-lagged couple had to go to sleep. We walked back to our hotel and were in bed by midnight. So rock ‘n’ roll.

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