Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Those of you who follow my blog, will know the traumas I've had with my computer. Sadly this delayed my holiday blog, but here it is at last. I still don't like my new computer much. As I type this post, the font size has decided to expand.(Probably just following suit with my stomach!) I can only cross my fingers that it looks normal to you!
Firstly, I'd like to introduce you to my younger sister, Jennifer. Jennifer moved to America many years ago. She first visited California to work as a nanny but loved the life (and weather) and decided to stay. Jen also met her husband Alex over there. I miss her very much and often wondered what it'd be like to have spent all these years meeting her in town or popping in for a coffee to each other's houses. Instead, we spend some lovely holidays together and catch up with our families' lives. These are her two daughters, Natasha and Rachel - my gorgeous nieces. I hadn't seen Jen for five years before this holiday, so it was well overdue. We were welcomed with open arms by our American family and spent a memorable and delightful holiday with them all.
This is Alex, my brother-in-law. He's a gifted motobike mechanic and jeweller. With him is my handsome nephew, Nicholas.
One of my favourite places is only 1.3 acres and five minutes away from my sister's house. It's the Japanese Water Garden set in the local university's campus. The immaculate gardens are breath-taking, along with lush mature trees, bridges, huge koi carp and sparkling waterfalls. Many people choose to get married here, but it's also used as a setting for parties, memorial services and receptions.
The pier and beautiful sands of Seal Beach.
There are some gorgeous beaches along the Californian coast. We visited the beaches closest to Long Beach, where my sister lives. The beach below is called Laguna Beach, which as you can see, is idyllic.
Of course I couldn't go to California without visiting Disneyland. Here I am in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle. I saw Mickey and Minnie but they were very busy having photographs taken with little children and I felt too silly to get in the queue! Sadly Pirates of the Carribean was closed for refurbishment but my daughter Rosanna and I screamed loundly on many other rides!
We visited San Francisco for a three day tour. Most of the buildings were new or modern due to the 1906 earthquake. Many of the lovely Georgian houses were destroyed and replaced with stronger building to withstand further acts of God.
We walked for miles along the many piers along Fisherman's Wharf. Sea lions lounged whilst basking in the sun and pelicans flew their gangly bodies over the roof tops, no doubt keeping a greedy eye on the fishermen's catches of the day!
Having shopped, eaten clam chowder in bread bowls and taken a boat trip, I just had to hang off one of the trams!
I'd been told that we were lucky to see even a small part of The Golden Gate Bridge in September, as thick mists descend and hover over the bridge. I was delighted to get a glimpse of it, as it's a sight that was on my 'to-see bucket list'.
This is Alcatraz. Despite only being a tourist attraction these days, it still had a palpable aura of fear and desperation about it. I suppose the atmospheric mist which was descending helped the goose bumps to prickle my skin as we passed the island. I'm sure there are ghosts of remorseful prisioners still walking the corridors!
We drove up the Hollywood hills to find the iconic sign. It was a very hot day as we climbed passed signs which warned of snakes in the area! It was worth it though. I love this photograph of us all. From left to right are, my daughter Rosanna, niece Natasha, sister Jennifer, my mum, me and my niece Rachel.
Finally I'll end with Johnny Depp. Sadly he couldn't make it to Hollywood that day, so I had to make do with his stand-in dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow! I did find his star on the walk of fame and also his prints in front of the Chinese Theatre.