Thursday, February 14, 2008

Santa Barbara in the Summer

Last summer my husband and I went away probably three times -- just short little trips, just the two of us, overnight. We have a couple of inexpensive places that we stay at in Los Angeles -- we keep an eagle eye out for bargains and scoot off when we can.

So, last summer, on a weekend to Los Angeles, my husband started driving on the 101, north. I looked over at him, askance, and he just looked pleased with himself. A while later, I realized that we were driving off to Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is about ninety minutes away from Los Angeles, heading north. It is a beautiful place and has a lot of meaning for us. Back in the day, when we were first dating, my husband was going to the University of California, Santa Barbara. It is a really beautiful campus.

When we were dating some years later, I would drive to Santa Barbara to visit him or he would drive down to visit me. When we got engaged, Phil moved down to this area, where he grew up. It always feels like an anniversary when we go back.

The drive up the coast is always lovely. (I didn't take this picture, btw.) I have fond memories of getting out of the car and braving the waves with my sister here. We got drenched.

The first glimpse of the ocean is great.

We drove down into town and got out. Most weekends, there is usually a street/craft fair going on. It is a great setting, right along the water. We get out by Sterns Wharf and decide to wander aboot. Phil is the king of parking and gets us a slot right close to the beach. As we get out, we see this van. It is very Santa Barbara -- quirky, individualistic, and little out there.

We walked up to the wharf and then back.

There are lots of lagoons in Santa Barbara and lots of water birds.

I just liked the slightly disreputable look of this.

That is the wharf up ahead. I worry when we drive on it, because I don't believe that it will really hold the weight of the cars.

Bougainvillea should be the official flower of Santa Barbara. You see it everywhere, spilling over the wrought-iron, splashed against the whitewashed walls. SB is very Spanish in its architecture.

We walked up and down the beach, looking at the wares. There is mostly handcrafted stuff. Phil gets a great hardwood yo-yo for our eldest son. I remember getting Phil one about ten years ago on a similar trip. The yo-yo is gorgeous.

I took this picture because I love quail. We have lots at home and now that spring is coming, you start to see the little quail families scurrying across the road. I would put these in my yard, with no hesitation.

There are lots of handmade stuff for your yard. This picture is for my brother-in-law, who is a plane buff.

These are just the sort of new-agey odd crafts that one finds in SB. I would get one if it was a model of the solar system.

... And finally. I took this picture, just because it is the sort of thing that my daughter would draw. The bees made me laugh.


bama said...

Love it! Everything is so beautiful...and quirky. I love the bumble bees...very cute...and the weird van...and, and, and...

California dreamin'....

rowan said... beautiful!

Lovely, lovely coastline, and a lovely story. (Raises cup of strong breakfast tea to the Bobs.) I love being by the sea. It is so enervating and relaxing at the same time. I miss it.

I love the van too! I would have a van somewhere on the decorated spectrum, though not perhaps as wacky as this one. I do admire it, though. Years back, when I lived at the tip of Scotland by the North sea, I bought a beat-up old car to learn to drive in. I never learned, cos it was automatic, and needed such force on the accelerator to get it up the hill to the main road, that my leg would get lactic acid twitches half-way up, and the car would start to roll back alarmingly towards the clifftop.

Anyway...I wanted to paint big jazzy flowers on it, or use those flowery walpaer stickers you can buy in DIY shops. My ex-husband had great graphic art skills, and offered to paint complex ancient Celtic symbols on the auld ruschle, as he might have to drive it at some point, and the symbols were deeply historical (he taught history.)

Well, the car had been drenched with salt-spray from the Spring and Autumn tides for so long, that the engine siezed, and it was never driven anywhere, and towed away for scrap. In a way, I am quite glad, looking back, as it would have looked seriously, um... witchy. The upside would have been that the teenagers I taught might have taken my prophecies of doom if they didn't complete their work, a lot more seriously.

Lovely pics! It must be a fell braw drive and stravaig.

rowan said...

Jist to say - I love Pictish symbols, and they work really well on t-shirts and clothes. I had a lovely one. The symbol car would actually have been the boogie, and very much admired. Siiiigh.

The symbols are Pictish, rather than Celtic. The Celts came over from the west and sort of muscled-in and took over, later-on. The Picts were the ancient inhabitants of the north east of Scotland. The symbols are thought by historians to represent various clan groups, or tribes. Sometimes they appear on one side of the stone, and a beautifully ornate cross on the other, when they became Christianised. I think we are talking sixth/seventh century, or thereaboots. There are some truly incredible ones, denoting famous battles.

Bama...I am fightin ye fur the van, but as I can't drive, we will have to share it, and you can have first go. Bob...I thought those pictured quail were real, and that you were pondering giving sanctuary in yer yard to a disposessed quail family. I know I have poor binocular vision, but michty!

Santa Barbara looks delightful. Is that where Kinsey Milhone's adventures are set? I like that she has only one all-purpose dress and eats the most delicious sounding cafe fry-ups. But she jogs. :/ And there any comparisons between us cease. :)

Thanks for the glimpse of blue-skies, palm trees and sunshine! ( has warmed up a degree or two here. The daffodils are on their way. :D)

Bama said...

Row- If you get a van, I'll come over and help you decorate it...and then I'll drive as you navigate. And Bob can pack a picnic lunch.

Thanks for the history lesson! I didn't realize that that about the Picts and the Celts. So, the Celts have been taking credit for Pictish symbols all this time, huh? Well, who knew?!

rowan said...

Yeah! The cultures sort of merged. The Celts must have been congenial. Am imagining them as charming Irish and Glaswegian types, armed wi the patter (talking the talk and walking the walk, and being charming and vibrant, where us wee east-coasty Pictish sorts are sort of dry-humoured and quiet.) A massive historical generalisation, to be sure, but there is some truth in it.

The hardy Picts fought-off the Romans, btw, and the invading and settling Romans built a wall to keep us oot o the southern counties they had already conquered. It is called Hadrian's wall, and you can still see it. There is a smaller one around Stirling, called the Antonine wall.