#10 Malibu: Getty Villa
“The Getty Villa is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.”
We were not sure we would stop by. The guide talked about reserving 3 weeks before hand (even though the visit was free). It even sounded a bit kitsch “Roman Villa Reproduction”???. But we had enjoyed the Getty Center (see below) SO much..that we turned right from Pacific Coast Highway at the last second, almost made the car behind crash into us… A Bentley and a Rolls Royce in front of us made us smile and wonder if we would be able to go in. The security guy asked if we had tickets…. I said: “no”. Then he asked were we were from… I said: “France”. He yanked 2 ruffled tickets out of his shirt pocket and with a big smile said: “Enjoy your visit!” We really did. (wikipedia) Getty Villa, Our photos and a short movie below.
#9 Berkley: Taste Restaurant\Wine Bar
Our Lonely Planet guide said the food was the only reason to visit Berkley…. it was right. We wanted to go to Chez Panisse but it was full till 10.30pm. Since we didn’t have that much time we went to a resto close by. We usually kept to the guide for restaurant choices… but we risked it and were not disappointed. The best food we had on our trip. Taste was a mix of French, Mediterrean and Californian cuisine.
#8 Santa Barbara
Beyond what the name conjures up; TV shows, Soap Operas, rich & famous, retired people from LA… we loved this city: great shopping, beautiful flowers\trees\plants and people watching on State Street, many Mexican reminders everywhere. The restaurant with the best atmosphere and great harbor view; Brophy Brothers Restaurant and Clam Bar. Our photos,
#7 Pigeon Point
A nice little spot suggested by Zu. It had this kind of romantic-horror movie atmosphere. Very calming, yet intense. A bit Hitchkocky. You could stare at the ocean, the fog, the waves, the pelicans flying by and the lazy seals on their rocks for a long time.
#6 Santa Cruz Sea Lions
#5 Organic Strawberries
From Santa Cruz to San-Francisco we saw many of these Organic\No Spray road side produce vendors. Reminded me of “l’ile d’Orléans” à Québec. We just had to stop.
These were the best strawberries I ever tasted. Actually, all the fruits we had there were delicious. The morning orange juices were also incredibly tasty. As if I had never had real orange juice before.
#4 Pacific Cost Highway
Beautiful drive! Breath-taking roads and views. It was often hard to drive and try to look at the sea and the cliffs. Many available “view points” make it easy to stop and take in the beauty of it all. Being next to the sea imposes a certain life perspective, makes you remember how small you are…. a very relaxing feeling.
#3 Venice Beach
One of the “poems” that had it’s beginning on this beach was The Doors “Hello, I Love You,” (1965) which was inspired by a young, tall, thin black girl who was walking towards Jim as he sat on a Venice Beach bench.
Sidewalk crouches at her feet
Like a dog that begs for something sweet
Do you hope to make her see, you fool?
Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel?
This is the US I love. It’s hard to precisely explain why. It’s multicultural, beautiful, friendly, intense cultural scene, environment friendly, tech friendly…. I think this is what we all imagine when we think of the US. Not the Bush US, but the intello, left wing, socialist, French loving America ;)
In this 10 minute montage of a bunch of clips I did during our 2 days in SF you’ll see: steep hills, cable car, Union Square, The Mission, Racist War!, Castro, Indians secretly filmed on the bus and downtown atmosphere. Enjoy!
#1 LA: Getty Center
Modern architecture and gardens.
What a place! We only spent a couple of hours at The Getty. We would have spent easily a full day. It’s the only attraction that would bring me back to LA. It’s on top a hill and you need to take a train shuttle to get there. Once there you are surprised by the modernity and beauty of it all. Everything feels right. All the material used, the spaces, the buildings, nature… it’s all extremely well thought of. Walking and visiting it seems natural. Everything just seems to flow right.
Thanks to JR, Steve, Kristian, Pat and Zu for your great suggestions. We didn’t get to visit everything…I guess we’ll just have to go back ;)