My kids are currently off of school and have something called Mid-Winter Break, a.k.a “Ski Week.” Growing up in Chicago, the weather was freezing in February, and the idea of having a mid-winter break would be a great for escaping the cold and not having to wait for the bus in -15 degree weather. Of course, we had no such thing. However, my California kids are enjoying this vacation in the middle of February while it’s 70 degrees out. Seems ironic, but I’m not complaining. Not having to wake up at the crack of dawn each morning and make school lunches is truly a wonderful thing.
Now for this school break, we didn’t go anywhere big and mainly laid low, but it made me realize that I still haven’t posted pictures from my Christmas vacation to Los Angeles and San Diego with my sister’s family and my parents. Yes, I know that seems quite awhile ago, but when I think about it, I still haven’t posted my Europe pictures from last summer, so if I can get these pictures out in 2 months, I feel like I’m already ahead of the game. Although I love taking pictures while I’m actually on a trip (my patient family members can attest to this), I admit that going through hundreds of vacation pictures feels as horrific to me as going to the dentist. But like going to the dentist, I am thankful, more or less, when the task is finally done.
We went to both Los Angeles and San Diego, and decided to take the leisurely drive from the San Francisco Bay Area down Highway 101, which was nice because we got to see much more than we would if we had gone the quick way down Interstate 5. And by much more, I mean ostriches.
My husband said this was one of the highlights of the trip, and it was really fun to witness these rather aggressive dinosaur-looking animals trying to eat food out of a dustpan. Ostrichland is a quick detour off of Highway 101 in Solvang, California, and although not a huge place, is definitely a fun and memorable experience for young and old.
You basically get a bowl full of ostrich pellets that is attached to a dustpan. Then you hold onto the dustpan for dear life as the ostriches battle it out for your food.
The emus were a bit tamer, but they were not afraid to look you right in the eye.
They remind me of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park.
We also made a quick stop at Pismo Beach, where I could have stayed longer, but my husband was itching to leave, flippantly saying, “If you’ve seen one beach in California, you’ve seen them all.” I was aghast and in complete disagreement (being someone who must stop at each and every “scenic viewpoint” along the way). Why else would they put those signs along the highway, enticing you to stop, if there weren’t some gorgeous view just a little way yonder? He has learned to humor me over the years and pulls over every now and then, so that I can add one more picture to my ever-growing collection of “shorelines that look like every other shoreline.”
We also took a detour to Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove. Each year, thousands of Monarch Butterflies come to Pismo Beach, where they migrate to the eucalyptus groves to escape the cold northern winters. It was cool to see them all clustered together, and there were telescopes strategically aimed at the butterfly-filled branches, but truthfully, the butterflies were a bit tricky to see as they blended right into the foliage like leaves. The kids were done with this place after 15 minutes.
When we finally arrived in Los Angeles, our first major stop was Manhattan Beach.
There was a bit of enjoyment watching these surfers paddle their way out to the waves only to be swept back to shore.
Here we all are intently watching them.
And a random seagull who let me get surprisingly close.
We also took a drive up to Griffith Observatory for a gorgeous view of the city.
And my token “starburst” image — always gotta get one of these in ;).
One of my favorite pictures below — little mini people walking through the trees and the endless city. I always love the juxtaposition of nature and city.
And the teeny-tiny Hollywood sign, just so we could say we’ve been…
And, of course, pictures of some of the food we ate! Fish tacos at Blue Salt Fish Grill in Redondo Beach,
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant for Dim Sum in Rosemead,
Genwa Korean Barbecue in Beverly Hills,
my Umami Burger and truffle fries in Costa Mesa,
and my husband’s Manly burger and short rib fries,
and mochi at the Japanese grocery store Mitsuwa.
Yes, we ate a lot, but what’s a vacation without eating and enjoying the food? And enjoy it we did! :)
Next post, the second half of our trip through beautiful San Diego (I secretly want to move there).
Oh, and does anybody have any LA suggestions for places to eat or things to do? Please share! I’m sure we’ll return soon!