I have always been fascinated with the old whitewashed spanish buildings, so getting to check out one of the California Missions was great. The sense of history is really present here. It looks very peaceful and even glamorous now, but the reality of everyday life was a lot different when this mission was in use back in the day.
San Diego was founded in 1542 (as San Miguel) by the Spanish. They did how ever have a hard time “controlling” the native indians, so they laid out a plan to build 21 Mission stations up along the California coast, with the purpose of converting the Indians to Catholics. They started in San Diego and this station was the first to get build.
In 1769 this San Diego Mission was founded and named Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala. And I have to say the architecture is beautiful. I do how ever feel different about how the California Missions were run, and how they controlled the native indians. They were very hard on them and used them as work force and very much with fear as a motivator.
I find original Indian culture fascinating and I am so frustrated with how it has been wiped out and has almost disappeared. It is daunting how superior we (mostly) “White man” acted and with so little appreciation of other cultures. I am happy it has changed, even though it can still get better, just sad that we lost so much culture through those 200 years.
The San Diego Mission isn’t big, and you don’t need more than 1 hour to tour the place. Entrance was 5 USD and you can check out open hours and directions at missionsandiego.org
We were going to spend thanks giving with our good friend Michael in San Diego, so decided to do a small roadtrip down there from Los Angeles.
The stretch between LA and San Diego through Orange County has gorgeous beaches spred out on the hole stretch and we wanted to check them out:)
Our First stop was Huntington Beach, with tons of surfer. I think it was actually named the Best Surf Beach in the states.. or possible world.. minor detail;) The Huntington Beach Pier is long and has a huge Ruby’s diner at the end. All 1950’s inspired so of course an other burger with a view was coming up, and it was delicious. We also saw this huge bird.. not sure if it was a pelican, but sure looked like one!
Crystal Cove was probably my favorite and biggest surprise. I didn’t expect much, which can some times be a good thing. It was like being in a time loop of beach cottages build from 1930- 1950’s, and beautifully renovated.
The view from the lookout point at Crescent bay is amazing… there are a lot more beaches and beautiful bays to explore, on this stretch of the route 1, so get out there and explore:)
Last stop on our roadtrip was Crescent bay.
Have you been to any of these places and enjoyed them as much as me? Let me know:)
The grove is a big outdoor mall in Los Angeles, and it’s located right next to the Farmers Market. They have a ton of big brand stores and of course Morten had to go to the Apple Store… he just can’t resist:) California is so warm all year round and there are several small foodstands were you can buy food or a coffee to enjoy on the central square.
The hole place is set up to make it look like a European city plaza, with ornamented store fronts.
When we were there we really enjoyed it and noticed how everything was so pretty. When we got home our host told us that The Grove is where all the VIPs go if they need some more cover time. I’m sure they go there because it’s beautiful and has great valet parking.
I actually didn’t know what valet parking was… I mean, I have seen the service there people drop of their cars and some one else park it for you, I just didn’t know what it was called. Also, in Europe I hardly ever drive a car, I use public transport, it is so much faster!
This is a late christmas greeting from southern California;)
I really wanted to se the sunset from the Hollywood Sign, but our work was dragging out, and we got out of the door a later than planed.. woops. Well we did make there in time, but had to literally run to the top of the Hollywood Hills, to get there in time. Quite a work out.
California traffic continues to amaze me: we hardly had any traffic the hole way, and then we get there and all the parking is filled up and chaos has taken over.. and we are stuck.
We got there and the view over the city and the Hollywood Sign was amazing!
The amazing Hollywood Sign
It was so magical, I don’t care what people say… seeing locations and things (like huge signs) I have seen in movies, so many times, is magical to me:) Some people thinks it’s tacky, but not me, Im all for it:)
We went to the Griffith Observatory, wish is located in Griffith Park. There might be other locations you can go to, to see the Hollywood Sign, but I’m pretty sure this is the best one:) You have the Sign, the hole city of Los Angeles (except the part behind the mountains) and the Pacific Ocean.. It is simply gorgeous, but come early so you avoid the stressful parking and running:)
People kept telling me to skip Los Angeles on this roadtrip, but I am so pleased I stuck to my guns and planed a week here. Los Angeles really is a great place and full of amazing areas to explore, I could spend a month here – no problem:)
I wanted to go to the Santa Monica Pier for different reasons. I wanted to see if the “old time feel” was still there and see the sunset from the beach. Let me just say none of them disappointed me:)
The pier was great, we actually tried the West Coaster rollercoaster and it was so much fun.. the setting of being right on the water made the ride surreal. Here I am being tossed up and down.. and the ocean is right there.. it was amazing!! The Santa Monica Pier has 5-10 rides which are probably most aimed for kids, but there are a few for adults. You don’t pay an entrance fee to the pier, so you just buy individual tickets for each ride.
We spend about 2 hours on the pier itself and 3 on the beach. I remember growing up and seeing these amazing sunsets in movies filmed in Southern California.. I actually thought ‘Orange County’ got it’s name from the orange sky at sunset:) Of course I learned later that it gets it’s name from the Oranges farmed in this area, it’s funny what the brain puts together when you are a kid:)
Needless to say a California sunset was very high on my list, and I wasn’t disappointed. The sunset in itself was AMAZING, but seeing it go down behind the Santa Monica pier made it gorgeous. The sun was casting a golden light on the waves and creating a beautiful contrast and shadow effect on the pillars under the pier.
All in all a perfect day:)