This post is by Nancy Jardine
On August 6th 2016, my post for this Wranglers Blog was about attending a wedding on the west coast of Scotland. Today’s post is also about my attending a wedding, but this time I’m so excited that it’s on the west coast of the US!
I’m extremely delighted that I’m writing this entry from a delightful holiday rental house in Kinneloa Mesa, near Pasadena, Los Angeles, California. I’m here with a family group of 7 from Scotland to attend my niece’s wedding that’s taking place later today in Pasadena (3rd Sept). It’s no great stretch of the imagination that coming all the way across the Atlantic, and all the way across the US to the west coast to be present, isn’t exactly practical on a day trip.
Am I just here for the wedding? That would be a huge NO. I confess that attending the wedding is intermingled with a whole load of sightseeing and other wonderful reasons – one of which included an excellent short meeting with Mike Staton, fellow contributor to this Writing Wranglers and Warriors Blog.
Meeting Mike, and his friend Sharon, was amazing after being fellow contributors for a couple of years on this Wranglers Blog.
When first invited to my niece’s wedding, my OH and I got out the map to see where we’d be going. Los Angeles wasn’t completely new to us since we’d taken our daughters to Disneyland back in 1989, having driven down from the San Francisco area. However, apart from the Annaheim/Long Beach areas, the rest of Los Angeles was totally unknown territory. We decided that a mini road trip would be fabulous before the wedding, giving us a few days to explore the Pasadena and Los Angeles areas after the event.
It was just way too tempting not to include a brief look at Las Vegas and ‘the Strip’. ‘Must sees’ were The Hoover Dam; Bryce Canyon (since friends and relatives who had already visited had raved over it); Zion National Park. We decided that seeing those involved quite long drives but were do-able. It made great sense for us to fly in to Las Vegas and fly out of Los Angeles, the rest of our tourist itinerary squeezed in between.
We set off to The Hoover Dam immediately after and what a magnificent structure that is. I’ve visited Hydro Dams in Scotland but they are teensie compared to the immense scale of The Hoover Dam. The tour was really informative and paid great tribute to the thousands of people who built the dam, the generated electricity sustaining so many people and states around it for decades afterwards.
To the newbie like I was, my evening experience of the Las Vegas ‘strip’ was an amazing and fun spectacle. What was doubly amusing was walking past the lookalikes of buildings I’d seen on my trip to Rome earlier this year. The restaurants we visited had spectacular food. My NY steak in The Capitole Grille was so immense that I was unable to finish it and that rarely happens with me and steak!
Phantasmagorical! We just had to spend one of our 3 Vegas nights in The Excalibur– a building of supreme extravagance and glee. The sum total of my gambling was losing a dollar bill at the bar in the main reception area. Those machines with a barrage of images and information on ‘how to play’ were mind boggling to the exhausted traveller and I’m afraid to say – it just ain’t for me!
Our trip to Bryce Canyon was awesome, using the word in its original intent. Every single step along the rim pathway gave a new view. It was so easy to imagine the hoodoos as watching people and many of them together as objects. Sitting on the stone benches just to breathe in the scenery was awe-inspiring. Unfortunately it was also very hot so spending too much time wasn’t practical. I loved every bit of it!
My Son-in-law, main driver of our trip, drove us down to Pasadena via Zion National Park which is equally as impressive as Bryce Canyon. In its own way, the rock formations of Zion are massive, striking and very memorable. I was so relieved to have been driven through what is a pretty difficult little road to manoeuvre through. (I took loads of photos but still need to process them)
My husband’s brother (been in the US since 1973), father of the bride, had told me that the drive from Bryce in Utah, to Paadena via Arizona on the highway might be a bit boring but I can say with all honesty that I didn’t find it that way at all. I was fascinated by the ever changing scenery.
Downtown Pasadena is beautiful, the City Hall building outstanding in the strong sunlight. The Argentinian restaurant, Malbec, was definitely worth a visit last night before we attended the post Rehearsal Dinner cocktails at another venue.
I’ll be getting ready to don my wedding finery mid-afternoon but a bit of sun soaking and a dip in the neat little pool first sounds just the ticket!
We’ve still got 2 days (Mon & Tues) after the official wedding events are over. What should I try to squeeze in? – Given that the young things of our party (my daughter, S-I-L, my nephew and his wife) have done the Hollywood Studios yesterday. I’m loving my US trip!
Whatever you’re doing this weekend, have fun.
Nancy Jardine writes:
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