Took us a while to start writing again, but we have been so busy lately!
Our road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the Pacific Ocean Highway (450 miles, 725km for those who use the metric system) took us a week, which left us room to visit lots of things along the way. Plenty of stops to break up the drive at both seaside- and country towns, with million dollar views over the Pacific, the real California state of mind indeed.
After a stressful detour through Hollywood and driving on a 6-lane highway we ended up on the curvy roads of the Hollywood Hills, overall a good test drive for our much-cared and loved Toyota Prius. A disappointing first stop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House however – still can’t believe it’s private property and not accessible for visitors – did not stop us to reach our highlight of the day; the Getty Center, designed by Richard Meier, one of The New York Five.
The Getty Center is mainly a museum and draws over 1.6 million visitors a yearly, one of the most visited museums in the whole of the USA and rightfully so in my opinion. It’s big (9.7ha), bold and beautiful, this doesn’t count only for the building but also the location and more importantly the huge collection of artwork.
As we were on a tight schedule we opted to visit the post-impressionism hall, with works from all the greats such as van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Matisse and Cezanne.
The campus also includes also the Getty Research Institute (GRI), the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Center’s design should be able to withstand any earthquakes and/or fires.
Due to a drought in California, all water features were turned off. It did affect the feeling of the place quite a bit, since you could tell there would have been beautiful fountains. Now the overall feeling was a bit cold and distant.
While having a stroll in the gardens, I recognised these beauties made by Calder!
My favourite piece of him will always be the Calder Mercury Fountain though, don’t forget to visit the Joan Miro museum in Barcelona if you get the chance.
The Getty Villa, is the second location of the J. Paul Getty Museum we visited, completely different than our first experience as you can tell from the pictures. The museum is a copy of a Roman villa with a modern touch due to it’s 2006 renovation. The collection is dedicated to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
We made a small stop in Malibu for lunch and had a walk at the Malibu Lagoon, a smallish birdlife preserve along the beach. Malibu is quite overrated to be honest, we didn’t take a lot of pictures, but this one tells it all.
Final destination for the day was Santa Barbara, where we stayed for a few nights.
The city has a Spanish feel to it, which did make Santa Barbara pretty interesting place to visit. It was beautiful to look at, with all these little details all over the city and the buildings. The city has honoured its 300-year-old past under Spanish rule by Spanish revival style buildings, even after the earthquake destroyed most of the downtown in 1920s.
There were lots of wine tasting possibilities around Santa Barbara due to it being the main hub of the wine country, and I will definitely write more on that in a later post. But it does make Santa Barbara quite sophisticated destination, along with the great architecture and overall cleanliness of the city.
Due to the dry season everyone tries the contribute by not wasting any water, this one was cleverly decorated without using a drop.
Santa Barbara also has a beautiful pier, with barely any tourists, which was a major difference with the one in Santa Monica. We did not mind the peace and quiet for a few days.
The American presidential elections are closing in on us, not a lot of support for either party it seems. Someone decided to collect coins by creating a coin-tossing game up from the bridge.
You can also never go wrong with visiting local markets, truly. This one was a food market with some good stalls and selection. It still felt like brand-new.
Soon more to be posted.