Bringing Europe Home

Quotes from the Masters: Ovid

We had to go to Nepenthe.  It was mentioned in every Pacific Coast guide-book I had, and it was highly recommended by a friend.  It was in the area of Big Sur, so we made it our lunchtime destination.

We began our day with an immensely satisfying breakfast of French pastries, croissants (and cappuccinos for my eldest and me) at the Paris Bakery in Monterey, spent a few hours at the Monterey Aquarium, then loaded into our car and made our way to California’s Hwy 1, heading for Nepenthe.

The ride was spectacular.

We stopped often to capture the scenery on film, (my husband snapped these orange flowers),

and still, the photos do not do it justice.

Finally we arrived at the restaurant, marked by layers of parking lots that were filled with cars.  This place was no secret.  We climbed flights of wooden and stone stairs that worked their way through the leafy vegetation and led to the top of the slope, where the trees gave way to a large patio and the California sky.

The restaurant had an ethereal quality; there were bleacher style rows of stone benches carved into the wall, where you could lean against pillows that were thrown along the rocks and drink a beer while you drank in the sunshine and the view and waited for your table.  It was the ultimate in California cool.

A long wooden bar facing the view served as a table and optimized the dining experience.

We wandered, enjoying the scenery and taking photos.

I walked to the “Phoenix” snack bar, a level below, and found a menu that described a brief history of the place and explained that Nepenthe  is a Greek word for “No worries.”  I was pretty excited to know that the word was Greek, because that gave it enough of a link for me to use it in this European-themed blog (I only need a thin tether of a connection).

Certainly, worries could waft freely away in these surroundings.

While working on this post, I googled nepenthe, hoping to find a good picture of the restaurant.  And I found that, according to Wikipedia, nepenthe means, “that which chases away sorrow,” and was probably a type of anti-depressant drug used by the ancients.  That was an interesting twist, spinning the meaning of the word into something not quite so hakuna matata, not quite so Bobby McFerrin, but something along the lines of a natural Zoloft– a salve for our troubled minds.

This nepenthe revelation got me to thinking (because that’s what I do).  It got me to thinking about our human condition.  Our world is full of worry—of sorrow and heartache and pain.  And how do we deal with that?

Sometimes, we need to be engulfed in something bigger than ourselves.

We seek consolation in the glory of God’s creation, we seek refuge in the comfort of a friend’s embrace, and we seek peace in the depth of our prayers.

“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.”  Ovid

“Quotes from the Masters” is my weekly (if I can manage it) blogging challenge.  I invite you to use the quote as an inspiration for your own post and interpret it as you like, using a photograph, a story, a reflection, a poem, a song–whatever!  If you would like to, please title this one, “Quotes from the Masters: Ovid” and please add the link to this page on your post.  I’d be delighted to see a link to your post on the comments section of this page, too.

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  1. Awasome shots, interesting post, thanks

    • Thank you, Katy! I appreciate you stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. Once I get back into gear, blogging-wise, I’ll be sure to pop over to your site!

  2. Robin – you might want to consider submitting this to the current issue of BBooks:

    This week’s magazine is feature nature themed stories. You can send a link to your blog post with a short bio. I believe deadline is tonight or tomorrow morning.

    Just thought I’d invite you to participate.

    • Thank you so much for thinking of me, Nicole–that is very kind of you. I do believe that I will submit! Again, I appreciate your suggestion. Enjoy your evening!

  3. cristinasandru

    I have nominated you for a Reader Appreciation Award!! You can see the details and rules at

    • Thank you so much! I am very honored.

      • cristinasandru

        Was my pleasure! Congratulations for blog!

  4. What a beautiful place to visit – the colour of the sea is so inviting to the eye, and your words “Sometimes, we need to be engulfed in something bigger than ourselves” are a real truism, thank you!

    • Oh thank you, Claire, and I am glad to know that my words rang true for you.

  5. You were so close to me! I love your photos, and the quote you chose is incredible and needed.

    • Really? You live in the Bay Area?

      • Sure do! I hope you enjoyed it to the fullest.

        • Absolutely! Most of my next posts will feature that part of the world. What a wonderful place to live!

  6. These photos are breathtaking!

  7. a strawberry patch

    Wow! Incredible photos, “natural Zoloft” 🙂 what a wonderful way to describe how God’s majestic creation can affect us!

  8. I haven’t been there in a long time but have fond memories of a beautiful place that should be visited.

    • My memories of it were the same, Karen,…and they will be until the next visit!

  9. Spectacular views, perfect sea and cliff side. I feel like you’re definitely channeling the Mediterranean when I look at these images. Indeed I’m not sure that anyone could defy that amazing scenery and not forget their troubles 🙂

    • Thanks for helping me along with the European connection, Girl! And re the amazing scenery: precisely.

  10. How wonderfully “romantikaly”, as my Polish family would say. You deserve to have more people following this challenge Robin. I’m acting tour guide to a Polish neice at present but will be back as soon as I have time. You obviously made the most of your trip.

    • You’re great, Jo, and too kind! Yes, we did make the most of this trip–I’ve only just scratched the surface. 😉
      In the meantime, make the most of your trip, too!

  11. elisaruland

    I’ve always wanted to visit this part of California, and your pictures and story have added fuel to my fire! I love your thought, “sometimes, we need to be engulfed by things bigger than ourselves.” Nature does nurture the human spirit and keeps us grounded, doesn’t it. Love your pictures!


    • I appreciate your comments, Elisa. You’d love California.

  12. Amy
    • It’s a lovely post, Amy. Thank you so much for your contribution!

  13. We also seek it with distraction of something beautiful, such as the photos you have here! How truly amazing! I would really like to see this place on one of my trips to california!

    • Thanks, Arnel! Yes, if you’re going to CA, work it in there. 😉

      • So what is the Quotes from the Masters? I saw it on Lorna’s Tearoom. I’ve been so very delinquent on my reading, and a little wobbly on my posting. I have let my life circumstances get the best of me the last couple of weeks 😦 but I’m trying to get a handle on it! 🙂 So hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can catch up!

  14. Love your post and also the photos…I too think the Big Sur to Monterey Ca. coastline one of the beautiful sites in this world. Found your blog through Lornastearoomdelights, a blog I thoroughly enjoy and am inspired by your quote of the week. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Linda! I’m chuffed that you’ve found the quote inspiring. I have been worrying over it thinking about it all week.
      I’m a big Lorna fan, as well, and I’m keen on getting her book. Congrats on your book and your lovely blog, too! I’m in as a follower. =D

  15. Very thoughtful post – That quote is something I’ll probably be working on forever…!

    • Thanks, Meg. Sure–work on that quote a while, but don’t hurt yourself. 😉

  16. OK, I’m back and here’s my interpretation of the quote:

    • That was pretty speedy, after all! A terrific post, Lynne–thank you.

  17. Spectacular photos Robin and another awesome quote! I would love to participate, but my repertoire of nature pictures is rather limited 🙂

  18. Gina

    What a beautiful place to ponder that beautiful quote, very inspiring. Great post! Love the pics. I know what you mean about capturing the beauty in a picture; hard to do.

    • Yes, if I had to choose a place to ponder this quote, I’d settle for just about anywhere on the PCH.

  19. Such a gorgeous reminder of the West Coast… I need to revisit! Thanks for sharing your vision!

    • Oh, I like that word vision, Moira. It makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. 😉
      Thanks for your comments.

  20. TBM

    I’ve never been to this part of California – or if I have I have no memory. But it reminds me of why I love California. Now I’m off pondering the quote.

  21. I nominated your blog for One Lovely Blog Award. Look on my blog.

    • Thank you so much, Cynthia. That’s so kind and thoughtful of you!

  22. Lovely post and photos Robin! There’s nothing quite as beautiful as that big blue California sky…

    • It was outstanding, Kerry, especially with that big blue Pacific Ocean glistening below. We loved your home state, and I was so thrilled to be able to take my kids there for a vacation. They went bonkers over CA!
      I’m so glad you liked the post. 🙂

  23. Beautiful!! And this restaurant and area of California has now made our “MUST VISIT” list!!

    • As well it should! Pack your bathing suit and your hiking boots. 😉

  24. Indeed wonderful!! What a view…just gorgeous!!! 🙂

  25. Wow beautiful pictures.


  26. What a beautifully written and illustrated post, Robin, absolutely stunning in every way! It would be hard to drag yourself away from that view in the restaurant sitting looking out at the long wooden bar. An excellent quote too, and if only I were that happy man who had broken the chains, but somehow along the way I’ve turned into a dreadful worrier. However, I love the idea and I’m setting my mind to the task of coming up with an entry for your challenge.

    • It was wonderful really. The only consolation to leaving was knowing that we were getting back on highway one. =D
      I’m a dreadful worrier, as well, which is why the name of this restaurant resonated with me. But, I found many quotes (none by europeans 😉 ) that said something along the lines of, “the remedy for worry is prayer.” I believe that.

  27. I love rough, rugged coastlines, especially when there are fir trees and wild flowers! That water also looks very inviting. What a great place to eat with all that to look at and enjoy. Thanks for posting these wonderful photos Robin!

    • I’m so glad you like, Cathy. More wildflowers to come!

  28. Hmmmm, gotta think on this one Robin …

  29. Beautiful! I’ve been up and down the California coast but have never stopped to explore Big Sur. But it is one place I’d like to visit soon.

    • Oh, do! Then we can all read your post about it. 😉

      • We will see. I would ideally like to visit Big Sur sometime next year. The more I hear about Big Sur, the more I am motivated to go.

  30. A Nature Mom

    Nepenthe may have the best views of any restaurant around. I’ve stopped there many times for the cheese platter and glass of wine. Beautiful photos! Oh, and love the Paris Bakery, too! Now I’m craving a pastry…

    • Well, go get yourself one! Order one for me, too. 😉

      • Monterey is only an hour and a half drive from our home, but it’s far enough that I can’t justify a trip just for a croissant! Why can’t I find a yummy pastry shop here?? After living in Europe for a couple years, I’m kind of a pastry snob. 🙂

  31. Such perfect photos my friend – thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    • My pleasure! Thank you for your kind comments, Choc Chip Uru.

  32. Breathtaking. I’ve never been to northern California but that’s one of the places I want to visit. Meanwhile why didn’t Ovid provide more info on HOW to break those chains??? 🙂

    • Maybe he did…time to brush up on your ancient Roman poetry, Weebles. 😉

  33. Amy

    Spectacular pics! It brought back my memory of driving through Hwy 1. Thank you for sharing the quote!

    • Thanks so much, Amy. The scenery was so gorgeous, the pictures practically took themselves.

  34. Kim


  35. hallie

    Hey Robin – Nepenthe and Ventana! Love Big Sur. Let’s do lunch when you get back –

  36. Beautiful scenery. The rugged California still feels like the Old West.

    • Thank you, Valentina. The interior of CA does feel like the Old West, but I wasn’t feeling that on the coast–it felt more like surfer dude meets hiker dude and chillin’ dude and they throw a party.

      • It is a laid back region for sure.

  37. One of my favorite places in California. Lovely pics.

  38. You’ve shown us a beautiful and fascinating place, Madhu. Thank you!


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