Oct 6, 2013
26.09.2013 - 13.10.2013
This morning we gave ourselves a few hours to explore Santa Barbara before heading for Los Angeles. First stop was to the botanical gardens, which, for the entry fee (I think it was $8), was a little disappointing. We did have a nice wander thru, but they were doing some improvements to the gardens that wouldn't really look 'good' until next year. We spent about 45 min here walking around (and I got to see some lizards!) before heading for the Santa Barbara Mission...founded in 1786! After just having dropped $16 at the botanical gardens, we didn't want to spend another $8 or $9 each to tour this (had we known, we would have skipped the gardens and just did the mission - hindsight!). The main church was open (preparing for Sunday services) so we stuck our head in for a few minutes, but I didn't want to wander and gawk while they were having their church services. So, that being a bit of a bust, we went to the County Courthouse, which at least two of our accom hosts told us not to miss. Completed in 1929, it's a very nice Spanish style building. Lots of nice artwork on the walls, lovely tile work, and you can climb up the clock tower for some amazing views of the city and surrounding mountains (hills?). Being a Sunday morning, we found a spot to park just outside on the street and spent maybe 20-30 min looking around (and eating that yummy raspberry cookie we got the day before in Solvang!).
Back on the road to head to Los Angeles, and our airbnb in El Segundo - so close to LAX - the planes landing and taking off were really noisy, but we had a hummingbird to watch, and were so tired at night we didn't notice the noise. And I like watching planes - wish we'd had time to go to a hill our hosts told us about to watch the planes - but time was tight!
On the drive to LA, we passed thru Malibu, and tho we had no shorts...and were wearing jeans...we had to stop and go on the beach for a few minutes just to say we did it! Lovely beach....very warm day again. And also along the coast drive, as we were coming to Santa Monica, it was hard not to stare in awe at the multi-million dollar homes built on the hills and wonder which rich and/or famous people lived in them. I wish we could have parked along the way so I could have snapped some photos...it must be nice to have that much disposable income!
We arrived mid-afternoon to our airbnb. We had a supper date with a lady who had couchsurfed with us a few years ago who I'd kept in touch with via email. It was nice to see her again, meet her dogs and cats and see her home, in the hills of Culver City area. But first...we had to get there. Well, our first introduction to 'real' LA traffic - on a Sunday afternoon no less! So of course the highways are eye-popping - at one point we counted - I can't remember - 4 or 5 layers criss-crossing over. We were cruising along fairly well...then all of a sudden, practically a dead stop. It took us about 20 min to go a few km's. Then all of a sudden we were moving again...for a few minutes, then packed again for 5 min. Our GPS, before having the traffic jam, said 20 min to get to her place...it took almost an hour. We actually made it right on time, and she arrived just ahead of us, but only because she got stuck in the same traffic. We had a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant and visited for a bit then back to the room - traffic not quite as bad, but still backed up in a few spots.