LOS ANGELES: Arrived in Santa Monica via bus through the crazy LA traffic and checked into a crappy room which we insisted was not good enough and got moved to a far better room…SLEEP for all and then a walk to the beach and Pier to watch the sunset and then back to the Hotel for dinner.
Next morning it was off towards Venice beach and visited the Californian History Museum and went to the farmers market and listened to a great funky band before arriving at the crazy Venice beach.
Wow it was far out with freaks and drunks and interesting people of all sorts doing their thing. we ate at the Figtree cafe which was excellent and wholesome. Went by Taxi to 3rd promenade and did some shopping and then fatigue hit at we stayed in for dinner.
Got the bus the next day for a tourist drive through Hollywood to see all the sights and the bus took us past all the Rich and famous mansions of Beverley Hills which was crazy stuff but we loved the 1920’s Spanish mission mansions of the Hollywood stars the best. Universal studios next which was full on with earth Quakes, attacks from KING KONG and a trip Back to the future before the Jurassic Park water ride where we all got soaked. Next it was down to Hollywood drive and the Walk of fame, the Hollywood sign and back through Rodeo Drive..exhausted, wow what a day
On our return from mexico we had just the two days in Beverly Hills area and one day was at Disneyland. We drove down the freeway and wow what an experience, 8 lanes wide and full of traffic
We enjoyed our time seeing as much as we could with Magic Mountain, Fantasy Land and meeting every imaginable Disney character along the way. The poor girls had to think they were little kids so that they could emerge in every experience.
It was a great fun day with Pirates and Goals and everything in between. We had a day wandering around Wiltshire Boulevard and the fancy shops before finishing off with a glam night out
CASPER WYOMING: Up early and off to the airport to fly via salt Lake City to Casper which flies over the amazing Rocky Mountains all covered in snow and with clear sky it was a great sight. Louise Ron & Paul met us and we headed off in Big Red to home. Chris Andrew and the kids dropped over later and we all enjoyed a lovely vego meal whilst getting know a bunch of Family we have not met before.
had a lovely quiet sleep and woke to see it snowing outside the window so everyone very excited. We had our first cranberry bagel breakfast and then headed out into the show to shovel the driveway…tough work that. After the exercise we went downtown to the MALL and saw the real Casper and did a bit of shopping before a nice lunch and a social lazy afternoon indoors.
It was so nice being with Family for Christmas and especially a white Christmas with Louise in her home town.
We went out that night to see the Christmas lights of Casper and wow was that an eye opener..absolutely amazing energy and effort that goes into some amazing creations. The next day was Christmas day and we enjoyed the fun of the pressies time after breakfast before we met up with Paul, Andrew and the kids for a some slay and toboggan riding nearby, lots of fun, laughs and tumbles in the snow.
We spent a fabulous day up in the Casper mountains with the whole family doing cross country skiing which was much harder than it looked for us oldies but the girls were fine but we all survived.
Another fun night playing games and chatting as well as playing pool with the kids
We went to a college basketball game one night and wow what an experience, the atmosphere was electric and the fun and games very amusing…the food was shocking but we survived and it was lots of fun. Our last day was spent out in the wilderness at the lakes out of town and experiences how stark this area is and how inhospitable it must have been for early settlers. We had lunch at Sanfords Diner which was a real slice of Americana.
SAN FRANCISCO: We are staying at Fishermans wharf and it has a good vibrance to it with plenty going on in a rustic seafarers sort of way with a big dose of Touristic thrown in but we wandered around there on our arrival to get a good feel.
We took a cable car ride around San Fran and got a good feel of the place seeing the wonderful architecture that is so synonymous with the city and visited The Golden Gate bridge which was stunning and then the Presidio Naval college and through lots of fascinating streets before jumping off at Union Square.
We had an amazing lunch at The Palace Hotel after lucking a table surrounded by the high society of San fran and Beth said she felt very out of place but we had a great meal and enjoyed the stunning setting and the amazing glass domed cieling
As it was new years eve we were expecting some action down at Fishermans wharf but it was totally dead so we watched the fireworks from around the world on our TV.
We picked up our rental car and drove to the Ciradelli centre and had breakfast in the park and then drove around the Russian Hill district and Marina district before driving over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausolido.
we had a lovely lunch at Horizons restaurant and the drove back via Pacific Heights with all the fancy homes and then checked out the old ruins of the world exhibition which were surprisingly in good condition for being 100 years old and made from chicken wire and cement render.
HIGHWAY ONE: It was off on another adventure and we headed south via pacific Heights and the fancy Seacliff area and then along the long beachfront and coast down to Monteray where we had lunch at Fishermans wharf. It was not far to our accommodation at Centrella Inn in Pacific Grove , a lovely little suburb of greater Monteray. We are staying in a little cottage and it is just a short walk to the beach so Beth and I went for a wander while Ann and Amy rested.
The beach area was nice and there were plenty of seals having fun on the shore.We ate at a vegetarian restaurant that night and enjoyed the talent show which was both amusing and inspiring so a great night for all. all the christmas lights were still on and the atmosphere of the town was very inviting
Off we set and through the 17 mile drive past Spanish bay and our first sight of a decent surf running. The mansion houses along this coast are amazing and massive…so much wealth and such a lovely place despite the wet and cold.
We ended up in Carmel and the sun came out to reveal a beautiful crafted town that was both quirky, unique and friendly with the most unique Hobbit style homes that were everywhere.
The beach was stunning, white sand and really felt like home. next stop was Big Sur and the famous bridge and rugged coast where the mountains meet the sea. Winding roads and huge forests with massive redwood trees. Stopped for lunch and fuel just before we were about to run dry..lucky
We arrived into Cambria landing late in the afternoon and were greeted by the sight of massive Sea lions frolicking on the beach…so huge and we made sure we stayed well clear as we played around the huge dead Trees that have washed ashore after a big storm. Ate a great meal at “Robins restaurant” in Cambria town just up the road from the beach and it was such a cute location and very quiet.
The Carmel Mission was a scene of serenity on our way and we enjoyed the stop off to take in the feel of 18th century Spanish California
Raining a bit on this trip but we packed up and headed off to San Simeon and the fabulous Hearst Castle.
You can only get there by bus up the side of the hill and when you arrive …wow, the amazing entry into the Casa del Sol swimming pool that is straight out of Emperor Hadrians Villa near Rome. inside the Pool is gold leafed everywhere and the stories of Hollywood Movie stars and their shenanigans around here are epic.
There was sculptures from every time in antiquity with Egyptian sourced dubiously i imagine from all corners of the ancient world and tiger thrown together in a maze of mediaeval, ancient and Art Nouveau tabloids throughout the castle.
We stopped into Santa Barbara and had lunch at a restaurant on the beach before doing some shopping downtown and then off to find our Hotel at the Airport. We passed by Malibu and the whole strip of coast from Rincon down into LA and the strip just goes on and on with houses right on top of the beach.
PORTO VALLARTA MEXICO:
The flight from LA was interesting as we flew over the immensity of the sprawling cities of LA to San Diego and then onto the boarder and into the wilds of mexico. Arrived and got to the Hotel without too much drama and checked in. a few language issues but we will survive. The Hotel, Camino Real, is huge and being on the 10th floor was a bit freaky but the view is stunning. We had an amazing meal at the La Perla restaurant and the Lobster Bisque was as good as it gets but the blue domed ceiling was stunning .
Its beach time and after a yummy breakfast we got our mozzie with umbrellas and chilled to the max. The shore dump was a bit heavy so swimming was tricky but the water was delightful.
we went into town and hit the shops and explored the lovely waterfront sculptures and market style shopping centres set up for tourists and had a really lovely time taking it all in.
another relaxing day on the beach before we had to evacuate our room due to a strong burning smell which ended up being a burnt out light bulb so all good in the end. We ate at the famous El Set restaurant just a short walk from the Hotel and had a good meal and beautiful sunset. That night back at the Hotel we enjoyed a spanish guitar duo down at the bar whilst the girls watched TV.
The next day was not a good day as the two days of sickness began for the girls, first it was Amy, then the next day it was Beth so Ann stayed with her whilst John and amy went into town and discovered some amazing shops and restaurants hidden behind a big walled garden. when we got back Ann and Beth were violently ill so we decided to call a doctor. Dr Rogrigez arrived in all his cashmere glory and gave Ann and injection to stop the vomiting and then with both on medication took his big wad of cash and off he went.
The next day was so much better and as our last day we took it easy with beach in the morning followed by a trip to the hidden shops and then a safe lunch before getting ready to say goodbye.