A work of art

There are many wonderful museums and art galleries in this world.

Then, there is The Getty.

Multilayered, modern design; open spaces; galleries drenched in natural light; gardens and streams; breathtaking views of the city and surrounding hills. If you can, go on a Saturday when the Getty remains open until 9 p.m. Because nothing beats watching the sunset from one of the balconies. Or the city lights as they begin to flicker.

June 15th, 2017

Westwood Village

Fox Village Theatre and the Gayley Terrace apartments. They were declared historic-cultural monuments in 1988 and not everyone was happy about that.

The Los Angeles Times wrote: ”Jean Taylor Lawrence, the owner of Gayley Terrace at the time, appeared near tears as she appealed to the council to leave her property alone. Lawrence said she was being punished for keeping her Spanish Colonial-style building in good repair.”

“Our corner looks beautiful, and it was because of my hard work,” Lawrence said after the council vote. “They have torn my heart out.” – [source]

Yet, in 2017, the complex looked more beautiful than ever.  

Westwood Village

July 15th, 2017

Warner Bros Studio Tour – I

The city of angels, the city of stars, the city of dreams. Rather than revolving around a centre, L.A. expands in neighbourhoods, or rather cities-within-the-city, each one with its own character and levels of popularity, gentrification and cool. We will (re)visit some of these neighbourhoods in the coming days but… first things first: a behind-the-scenes tour where some of the magic happens – in Warner Bros Studios.

Scene 1 – Take 1 (exterior snapshots) Warner Bros Studio Tour
3400 W. Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91505

July 14th, 2017

Solvang, the Sunny Field of Denmark

A little piece of Denmark in the County of Santa Barbara in southern California, founded in 1911 by a group of Danish immigrants who bought 10.000 acres of land and named it Solvang – Danish for ”sunny field”. While the settlers followed American ways, learned English and sent their children to the local school, they still kept their Danish traditions to this day. From their renowned Danish pastries to the Festival Theater channeling Shakespeare’s links with Denmark, Solvang is as every bit as Danish as any city in Denmark itself, and a postcard-perfect one at that.

Read about the history of Solvang here.

July 12th, 2017

The Roman Pool

Sheer, mind-blowing magnificence in thousands of tiny smalti, left me speechless.

{The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside. The intense colors and shimmering gold of the tiles combine to create a breathtaking effect. The designs created by the tiles were developed by muralist Camille Solon. The inspiration for some of these designs came from the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.}

For more about the Roman Pool, please go to the Hearst Castle Pools webpage.

July 12th, 2017

La Cuesta Encantada || The Enchanted Hill of San Simeon

Following his mother’s death in 1919, media magnate William Randolph Hearst inherited thousands of acres around San Simeon and later on purchased even more, until the land he owned extended further than the eye could see. Captivated by the beauty of the landscape, and probably tired of lodging in platform tents whenever he visited his ranch, Hearst hired architect Julia Morgan and asked her to build ”something that would be more comfortable” than the tents.  

Throughout his life, Hearst dreamed of building a castle similar to those he had seen on his European  tour as a boy. 28 years, 68,500 square feet, 38 bedrooms, 30 fireplaces, 42 bathrooms and 14 sitting rooms later (and that is only Casa Grande, the main building of the complex), his dream came true. He called his castle La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill” and, after a two-hour tour of the Grand Rooms, guest suites, gardens and the spectacular Roman Pool, I can affirm that this mythical structure of epic proportions is definitely ”something more comfortable” than Mr. Hearst’s tents.

During construction, Hearst used the Castle as his residence and it was there he exhibited his extraordinary art collection and entertained his friends. The elite of Hollywood, politics and sports – everyone who was anyone, has stayed in these rooms. Construction was still ongoing in 1947, when Hearst had to leave the castle because of his fragile health which required continuous medical care. Parts of the castle still remain unfinished.

If you enjoyed this virtual walk of the gardens, wait till we go indoors; coming up, views from the Grand Rooms and guest suites.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon

July 12th, 2017

Do you believe in fairy tales?

Once upon a time, there lived a man named Hugh. He was a good man who liked to build things with his hands. One day, it was the leap year 1924, Hugh came to Carmel to visit his sister. As his good fortune would have it, he met a woman named Mayotta. She was a good woman who liked to make things with her hands. Their lives met, their souls touched and, a year later, Hugh Comstock and Mayotta Browne become husband and wife. 

Mayotta was an artist who made little felt dolls she called the ”Otsy-Totsys”. She made more and more and then a few more, until there was no space left for the growing family in their home. Mayotta then asked her husband if he would build a doll house for her Otsy-Totsys. And so, Mayotta and Hugh, who were no architects nor designers but loved to make things with their hands, built the first wood cottage and named it Hansel. A little later, came Gretel and the rest followed in their gravel path.

Now, do you believe in fairy tales?

You can look for the real-life fairy tale cottages of Carmel on the Hugh Comstock Historical Hill District. Read more about them on this blog by Lynn Momboisse, who even went into the trouble of sketching a map, so you won’t miss even one!

And, if chasing fairy houses makes you hungry, Patisserie Boissiere is a mere magic wand’s flick away. The tale continues inside.


July 10th, 2017

San Francisco is… taking (the) steps

There are many ways to reach Coit Tower on top of Telegraph Hill. You can take the bus, your car or get on your feet for some excellent aerobic exercise – whatever works best. But the most scenic of all, must be ”The Steps”. There are numerous steps on different sides and levels of the hill, leading to the tower; the views here, are from The Greenwich Steps.

Another perspective of Coit Tower and the neighbourhood surrounding the hill. How amazing would it be to live there, don’t you find? Although, a bit of an ordeal when it’s your turn for that last-minute shopping… Greenwich Steps

July 5th, 2017