Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon - 29 August 2012

With two full moons this month it was a Blue Moon month and thus an appropriate month to end our eleven year odyssey.  We decided that retracing our steps to Hearst Castle was not sensible so headed out to the coast to educate ourselves about the Spanish Mission heritage along this coast.

Out first stop was thus La Purisma Mission State Park, one of about 50 missions that the Spanish Catholic church established along El Camino Real up this coast, this one being the 11th one established.  As elsewhere in the world, the missions were secularised and then abandoned and this one was restored in the 30s as part of Roosevelt's plan to get people working after the depression. As such it was California's largest CCC project.

In 1493 Pope Alexander VI granted Spain "all the firm lands and islands, found or to be found" west of the Azores.  This was terribly generous of him, since they were not his to give away, but power does that to people - I guess.

Just a little further down the coast is Solvang, a "replica" Danish village where the architecture is quite out of keeping with the climate, but kitsch and quaint nevertheless.

Back on the road we were back in market garden territory all the way to Santa Barbara where we detoured to visit the magnificent Courthouse, built in 1929 and in an architectural style much more in keeping with the climate and surroundings.
Santa Barbara beachfront looked inviting as we drove along past the palms and bouganvillea but we had a few more miles of market gardens, vineyards and parched hills to get through before we could rest for the night within easy reach of Los Angeles.

The next morning it was all go to get our belongings, which had expanded to fill the space available, back into the suitcases so that we could return the rental by 12 noon, to avoid another day's charge.

After that it was 12 hours to spend in scintillating LAX Airport waiting for a 14-hour flight. Oh, the joys of travel.

279 miles to LAX, total trip 7571.

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