Thanksgiving week means that everyone gets a week off, and I finally got the occasion to take the bus and make a daytrip to Santa Cruz - it's 2 hours by bike, train and bus to get there but very much worth the trouble. The bus was cheap, comfortable, did the trip in one line over highway 17, and had wireless internet access. Finally I got to see the coastline and the famous surf of Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is one of the most free-flowing chill-out cities I've ever seen (apart from San Francisco perhaps). The population is a mix of students (from UC Santa Cruz), surfers, hippies, beatniks, homeless and tourists. The main street is dotted with shops that best compare to the Kammenstraat in Antwerp. Apart from groups of weirdos sitting on the sidewalk, clearly still high from the party the previous night, there wasn't much going on when I arrived monday morning at 10. Most shops were closed, the amusement park too.
I just went for a really long walk: up to the beachside amusement park, then further along the lighthouse and the surf hotspots to Natural Bridges State Beach. I ended the walk by jumping on a bus that brought me uphill and toured around UC Santa Cruz, a campus hidden largely inside forests and cliffsides, but also with lots of open land from which there are great views over Santa Cruz and the coastline.