Magnificent gardens, terrible roads
02.05.2014 - 02.05.2014 27 °C
Saturday 3rd May: Best Western Frontier Inn, Lone Pince CA
Just back from a great Mexican meal and thought I'd try and catch up.
A great deal of yesterday was spent in traffic of which there is an awful lot in LA. First we went to Sony Studios and were allowed to park in their visitor car park while we went to the First Entertainment Credit Union. On our last trip, when we had a studio tour, we found that this, and other credit unions, do not charge to withdraw cash from their ATMs. So we got out some "free money" had a coffee "with the stars" and bought some hats and a T Shirt in the gift shop where this kind lady
after a bit of chatting up by John, gave us staff discounts and a free bag. Part of that was down to the fact she had just married a guy from Devon and I pointed out that my father was a Devonian.
We then drove out to Pasadena to visit the Huntington Library gardens. Freeways writhe their way around the urban sprawl that is known as Los Angeles. Most of them are in terrible condition as is a lot of the driving. Holdups occur at all times of day and night where freeways merge or separate or where people leave one to join another. For the most part, for sanity's sake, we avoid the freeways and stay on the Boulevards and Avenues. Often it's just as quick. Names are evocative. Santa Monica Blvd. Cienega Avenue. Sepulveda, and, of course, Sunset and Hollywood.
Anyway, we had to take the freeway to Pasadena or it would have taken the rest of our holiday to get there. Some nerve-wracking moments but we got there. Drove to the Huntington and it was not yet open. Never thought to check. So we drove back to Pasadena for a wander and coffee. A nice town, Pasadena. How does the song go?
Back to The Huntington. We had found this in a newspaper's (maybe New York Time?) top 10 things to do in Los Angeles. The house built by yet another railway tycoon, who no doubt made his fortune by treading on his rivals and, eventually got a conscience and started doing "good works" by setting up a foundation. The house and other buildings contain a stunning collection of Gainsboroughs, including the Blue Boy.
But it is for the gardens that people come here. We headed straight to the Desert Garden where we found a huge selection of plants (succulents & cacti) that will be familiar to those of us trying to garden in Spain. BUT, with a lot of water, yes water, (this stuff is given a lot of water once a week) and careful planting and landscaping, you too could have a garden that looks like this:-
And how is THIS for a yucca:-
We had the Desert Garden to ourselves as most folk seemed to be headed for the Japanese and Rose Gardens...
If ever you come to Los Angeles a visit to this place is well recommended.
We then drove back along the freeways to find the restaurant we had booked for dinner in Hollywood. Then drove by Graumann's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood, which was all but submerged under hoards of tourists. And we decided to stick to La Brea to get back to the hotel which flowed quite well apart from busy cross flows of traffic. It went from pretty shabby in Hollywood, smart and up & coming near Wilshire, then really down and out and dangerous as we got further south, ony becoming nice again in Culver City. One block can make the difference between smart and dangerous.
By the time we got back to the hotel we did not really want to face that drive back again so we reluctantly phoned the Dresden Rooms to cancel our reservation. Maybe next time!
After a rest at the hotel, where the Postal Supervisors were still making a lot of noise, we drove to the otherside of the San Diego Freeway to a mall we could see from our hotel room window. Bob bought a pack of nice white T-shirts ($26 but we had printed a J C Penney coupon which gave him $10 off) and a nice pinkish polo shirt reduced from $24 to $9.99 as a "Door Step Offer available only on Fridays and Saturday afternoons".
We decided to eat in the food mall. A huge choice from Mongolian, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Vietnamese to perhaps one American cuisine. We chose the "Stone Oven" which was a bit of a strange mix. Bob had a Mediterranean Chicken Salad which was disappointing and John had the Santa Fe Hot Ham Sandwich which was quite good. However, we were put off by the grubby surroundings in the food mall. Bits of food on the tables and rubbish underneath. Uncharacteristic for Amerian catering starndards. It was not particularly cheap and a poor substitute for the Dresden Rooms!
Stop Press: Arrived safely in Nevada (Longstreet Inn & Casino) having spent the day wondering at Death Valley. More on all this soon. Time for a gamble.