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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 27, 2013

Thursday through Saturday - ta da!!

Warning - I have not proof read this - it's time for me to get checked out and I want to get it published.  So excuse any and all mistakes, please.

Thursday started off with a brisk walk to Esau's - a little diner-type place only California style which mean surfing videos on the TV and many Mexican choices on the menu.  I opted for just a bacon, cheese and egg sandwich though  - morning is not my most adventurous time of day.

It was a foggy morning as I've discovered most California mornings are, at least where I've been.  But I figured it would clear up and it did.  After breakfast, I walked down to the beach and had great fun trying to get a photo of a wave at the instant it breaks.  I ended up doing some videos too, but when I tried to upload them to You Tube, it wouldn't let me.  The scenery here is just stunning.  You stand on the beach and see the endless expanse of the ocean with the waves breaking on the beach and then turn and there are the beautiful mountains to enjoy.  And everybody is out walking, running, playing beach volleyball, etc.  I wonder if California is one of the healthiest states?

I took pictures of course and will let them speak for themselves.  Part of what they're saying is it's a shame she didn't have a better camera and isn't a better photographer!!  Actually when I just now uploaded them I saw that there are a couple where I will have something to say.  Is anyone surprised???

This first one was taken at Marlene's house so I can introduce my hostess, a very nice lady and a much closer friend now that we've spent three days really getting to know each other.

Looking down the street their condo is on
 A gorgeous bird of paradise in the condo's entry area

And here are a few pictures of a big clump of seaweed that hadn't dried up yet.  I was surprised at how attractive it is in an alien sort of way.

Pretty fantastic, I say.

Marlene gave me a call to say come on over so I did and she gave me a "tour" of her house and all the needlework and miniatures that she has in it.  I told her she put me to shame for sure.  And she's still very busy creating whereas I've pretty much given up any building and don't seem to do all that much needlework.  The blame rests on my small apartment and my shaky hands.  At least that's my theory and I'm sticking with it.  She has so many lovely things and has done a lot of stitching on the very tiny counts - she mentioned 60 stitches to the inch with a number of them.  The tiniest I've done is 40.  I knew she was a stitcher, of course, and have even visited her album on our petitpointers group, but seeing it all up close and personal was really kind of a "wow" experience.

Oh, and I almost forgot - on my way over to her house, I had to take a little detour because it was market day on the street I was going to use and I came across this incredible house.  Had to stop and record it for posterity.

 Yes, that's a life-sized John Wayne thingie upstairs behind the gargoyles.  The bay windows all have lovely stained glass panels hanging in them.  So it's kind of from the ridiculous to the sublime I guess you'd say.

So moving on, after we finished with the show and tell, it was time to head up the road.  She wanted to take me down the main street in Ventura (lots of interesting shops) and then head on up to Santa Barbara - said I had to see Santa Barbara which was fine with me - my guide book had said pretty much the same thing.  And it was a delightful visit.  An absolutely beautiful town with lots of the Spanish influence.  Most of my pictures are of the magnificent city hall building which is very much the Spanish style and just stunning.  And of course since it's also very large, it's difficult to get good pictures of it.  But they will give an idea maybe.

 Inside the city hall entrance area
 The ceiling of the stairway to the upper floors
 Part of the muraled walls of their meeting room
 City meetings would certainly seem more important in such a setting...
 We walked up to the top of the tower and this clockworks area has been glassed in so you can see all the gears and pendulums doing their thing.  There are also 5 big bells that I didn't get a picture of for ringing the hours.

 Believe it or not, this building is the jail!  I wonder if it's worse or better to be incarcerated in such a beautiful setting?

 Now we're window shopping in a delightful "arcade" type street of shops. 
Ben and Marlene taking a break on the bench...
Mozart in bronze...
Back to Marlene's street - such big beautiful trees!
The view from Marlene's house.  I've thought since I've been in California (after I got out of San Francisco) that it's almost like being in a different country.  The topography, the vegetation, the architecture - so totally different from any place I've ever lived in the states.  And so totally beautiful!  Thanks, Marlene for such a great day!  Oh, and I almost forgot the ending.  Marlene, Bill and I went to one of the restaurants they like for dinner which was also very enjoyable.  Once again, I had a pork chop - I seem to be on a real pork kick and at the rate I've been eating out here, there's a good chance I'm going to end up being a real porker myself!

That's all there is for Thursday and Friday and it's now Sunday morning as I'm writing this and once again I'm confused.  I think Thursday was the tour of Marlene's home and my "bonding" with the Pacific.  She and Bill had an emergency trip to the ER Wednesday night after I had arrived and so we got a late start Thursday.  That would also be the night we had dinner together, I think.  Then Friday is when we took off for Ventura and Santa Barbara.  I really don't like getting so far behind but tonight I will maybe catch up. 

Anyway,  Saturday morning Marlene and I drove up to a town called Solvang which is kind of a tourist town. Apparently, a lot of Danish immigrants settled there and it has become a very half-timbered buildings, ebelsniver treats, type of place to visit.  Was fun to poke around in the many, many, many shops.  They have three needlework shops!  Huntington has none.  Finally around 1:00 or 2:00, I decided I'd better get on the road for Cambria.  Marlene had arranged things so that Bill would drive up to Solvang to take Marlene back home.  We said our goodbyes and I spent the rest of the day feeling kind of lonely - we just had such a nice visit and yakked so much...  I did make one stop at Morro Bay and have pictures of that whic I'll include here even though this is really a lengthy post.  I'm just really wanting to get caught up!

First scenes from a rest stop of those beautiful mountains up close:

Now, Morro Bay.  My guidebook says Morro Rock is 576 feet high and is the core of an ancient volcanic plug, one of several in a chain stretching from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo, further south.  In 1969 the state designated it an ecological reserve because by that time more than a million tons of rock had been quarried from the face of the rock.  It was so designated because peregrine falcons nest on the rock.  It sure is some rock!

The fog was feeling generous and just barely allowed the top to be seen.

 Blurry, blurry cause I enlarged it so much but I'm going to say those are peregrine falcons even though I wasn't close enough to see them clearly.

 Surfers!  It was so cold but they were all wearing wet suits which I guess helps.
And of all things, a squirrel being fed Cheetos!  He sure was cute and a totally different species from those in West Virginia.  This next picture was taken as I was leaving and the fog is now covering a good portion of the top.

Finished the drive to my motel in Cambria uneventfully until I was pulling into the breezeway area where you enter the office and managed to scrape the rear panel of the car against a cinderblock wall that was sticking out there.  In my own defense, the sun was blinding me and I thought I had pulled past the wall far enough before starting the turn.  Seems like a curb would be a much better thing there than a wall, but c'est a vie, I guess.
And now, that truly is all - it's Sunday morning and I just finished writing about Saturday, so until I check out of the motel, I am caught up! 


Christopher said...

Wow, it really looks beautiful out there. I've heard of that courthouse... quite a building!
And I can't believe you're going to Cambria -- did I know that? On my visit to Hearst Castle, I stayed overnight there, and there's a TERRIFIC glass gallery there called Seekers; I bought probably my first "serious" piece of glass there, oh so many years ago...!

Chinch said...

That is ALL so beautiful. I think California is maybe like visiting two or three countries -- such incredible variety and none of it like the east. Nice that you've found another place to love but unfortunately, it's almost as far away as Italy. Sigh. I guess you start home tomorrow -- sounds like it will be hard to leave.

Mary Lynne said...

Boy, small world, huh? Marlene mentioned Seekers to me and I saw a sign for it. I did stop at a gallery today on the coastal highway that had some really stunning glass pieces and I wished I was rich.

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