Santa Monica Visit in Summer 2016
Happy New Year Everyone! Sorry that I haven’t written in quite some time. Life has been agonizingly busy, and I say agonizingly as you wouldn’t believe what I just went through – one of the worst moves of my life. I will leave this story for another day, but needless to say I was not happy about moving – I also had to downsize, and pay double the rent! 😦
Anyway, onto happier memories from last year….and hoping this year will be better for me and for all of you. We visited Santa Monica last summer, and I have had so much happen that I couldn’t even post my pictures until now. Well, it’s better to do it now than deciding to do it five years from now.
We loved Santa Monica, it’s quite close to Los Angeles, and we were just in Santa Monica for a day, but in the Los Angeles area for nearly three days. Isn’t it amazing that I live in San Diego, but don’t get up to Los Angeles that often any more, and that I have never visited Santa Monica until last year – and I’ve been in San Diego for almost 19 years!
Well, without further ado, here are some of my pictures:
This last picture is of main shopping street that is a block or two away from the beach. I will share more of these pictures another time. Well, that’s it for now, I hope you liked my pictures, and that you are already having an amazing year!
Christmas At The Venetian
The Venetian is my favorite resort and hotel in Las Vegas. I absolutely love it, and have only stayed there once. Every time I go to Vegas, I want to stay there, but sadly price wise…I have to stay away. I wonder how packages from the UK are so affordable to other countries, including to the USA, yet we can’t seem to get any bargains like this from here? For instance, my sister just booked a trip to the USA where she stayed 4 days in New York, and 4 days in Las Vegas (during this summer). Her hotel in New York was the Marriott Marquis right in Times Square, and her accommodation in Las Vegas was the Venetian. Her price for the trip was £1,000 UK pounds per person (for a family of four), and this includes airfare and hotel cost. When I flew to the UK in 2014 (in the summer) it cost me $1,500 per person (for a family of four), and this did not include the cost of hotels. I am so jealous, ‘cos I want to stay at the Venetian for four days! However, since it’s my sister….I’m happy she is staying at one of the best places in Las Vegas.
Last time I wrote in May about Las Vegas, I told you I would include pictures of inside the Venetian, so here we go. Sorry, it has taken me such a long time to get around to it. I even fit one more trip to Las Vegas since Christmas – this summer – not the same time as my sister unfortunately, and I did not stay at the Venetian 😦 . Here are the pictures that include Christmas inside the Venetian, and some that were taken this summer. Oh, and the gelato – it’s absolutely delicious! Incase you are wondering, Christmas is a great time to be in Las Vegas, and especially at the Venetian.
Venetian Magic, Venetian splendor! Oh, how I love the Venetian grandeur. This hotel/resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, is my absolute favorite out of all of them there. I have stayed at the Venetian many years ago, and absolutely loved it! I wish I could always stay there when ever I visit Las Vegas. Even when I stay elsewhere, I make it a point to go visit the Venetian. If you can’t go to Venice, at least go to the Venetian – it’s a bit of the real thing. Here are some pictures:
My kids outside the Venetian, last Christmas
Isn’t this place pretty? Isn’t it magical? Wish I could have a permanent suite there! These were all pictures taken outside of the Venetian, next time I will show you some pictures taken inside.
Christmas In Las Vegas
Christmas in Las Vegas was a new experience for us, and a rather nice one. We spent Christmas, 2015 in Vegas, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are some more pictures, these were nearly all taken on Christmas day, 2015. The last one was taken on Christmas Eve at The Carnival World Buffet which we went to prior to going to Christmas Eve mass at Our Lady of Wisdom Church.
We didn’t stay at Bellagio though as much as I would have liked to. Actually, if you ask me which place I would like to stay at my number one choice is Venetian, and number two is Bellagio. We actually stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Resort of which I am a member (through my timeshare ownership). I won’t even go into my tea-bag dilemna that I had there – can you believe they didn’t have regular black tea? I certainly had tea withdrawal! Enough said of that for the time being, other than to say you hotels should never just cater to coffee lovers, there’s tea lovers too! My view wasn’t too bad though.
We had brunch at the Paris Hotel’s Le Village Buffet, I will show you pictures of that separately in another post. Here are pictures of the Bellagio, where we spent the majority of our Christmas day, just strolling around – what a beautiful Christmas display!
We had Christmas Eve lunch at The Carnival World Buffet at Rio
We ate a lot in Vegas. My kids talked me into getting them the Buffet Pass which cost $55 per person for 48 hours. So we started the pass at around 5pm on Christmas Eve and it lasted until Boxing Day at 5 pm. Therefore, we were able to use it for meals over 3 days, but had to time the last meal on Boxing Day to be in the line for the meal before 5 pm. If you can time it properly, it works out well. All the meals and drinks that you want are included in this price (except alcohol of course) – but you will be sure to put on a few pounds! I will post more pictures of Las Vegas soon. I can’t believe it’s already April, and I’m just getting around to doing this post now. Where does time go to?
Christmas Eve In Las Vegas
I’ve spent New Year in Las Vegas, and summer in Las Vegas, but not Christmas in Las Vegas, so last Christmas we tried it, and we liked it!
There are less crowds in Vegas in Christmas, than there are at New Year. Also, when it’s New Year, it’s just not the best place for kids in all that noisy, raucous Vegas celebration – what with the drinks and the drunks, and well…..let’s say I think Christmas was a little more mellow in Vegas.
Have you ever associated Las Vegas with Christmas? Or have you ever even considered it to be a good place to celebrate such a joyous occasion? Well, I think our Christmas in Vegas in 2015 was spectacular, partly, because we found a beautiful church to celebrate Christmas Eve in. I am Sikh, but I like all kinds of churches, temples (including Hindu temples, as well as Sikh temples) and have even enjoyed visiting Mosques or at least taking pictures of them, see this link. The church we visited is an Italo-Greek Byzantine Catholic Church called Our Lady of Wisdom, located on 2120 Lindell Road, Las Vegas, NV 89146, only about 5 minutes drive from the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard. It is such a truly beautiful, spectacular church, and is very European looking – I could not believe I was in the USA while I was in this church, it was such a wonderful feeling that the church gave me. Here are some pictures:
I managed to get my two daughters in the picture
I don’t really think I was supposed to be taking pictures at the church, but I think it was too beautiful to not take pictures. I would love to be at this church every Christmas Eve, too bad it’s not in San Diego!
Flower Fields of Loveliness in Carlsbad, CA
Oh, the hills are alive with the beauty of flowers. You know I really am singing those words in my mind to the tune of “Oh, the hills are alive with the sound of music”. I often attribute songs to occurrences, or a single word or sentence conjures up a great song from long ago, but the classic goes so well with the Flower Fields.
The Flower Fields have been open since early March of this year, but we didn’t get to visit until the end of March, but to make up for it, we got a season pass. Now, we can visit an unlimited number of times until the season is over which I think will be the beginning of May.
Me and my little girl Chandra love visiting the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA – only 20 minutes drive away from where we live in San Diego. Just before my oldest daughter Niki went back to college, we were shopping at the nearby Outlet Mall on Paseo Del Norte, and the Flower Fields overlooks this outdoor shopping mall. Well, Niki and my son Luca did not want to go to the Flower Fields yet again as they put it….I have taken them various times in the past, and can’t understand why they would not want to go. However, I did drag them close enough to get them into a few of the pictures, but they are not quite in the Fields themselves. You will see Chandra and me about a week later on March 27, 2016 at the Fields, and then we visited again just yesterday on April 9th.
Here are some pictures:
And yes, I got the season pass for me and Chandra. It cost me a total of $46, but I have already been there twice, and if I go at least two times more, I have more than got my money worth out of it. Besides, it’s a great place to take a walk, and get in some healthy exercise, then top it off with the delicious out of this world strawberry milkshake. Both me and Chandra got one each, and they were $5 each, but really worth it.
So get to the Flower Fields before it closes in May, and before the flowers wither away. They are too spectacular to be not seen. Remember, the hills are alive with the flowers of beauty, or did I say with the beauty of flowers?
Lovely La Jolla
Lovely La Jolla, what more is there to say. This place which is just a 12 minute drive for me going south, or a 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego is spectacular. The scenery is amazing, and the wildlife is abundant.
Most of the time, the seals like to laze on the beach, and don’t move much at all, but all of a sudden, a few of them got up to take a dip in the ocean!
Look at this one! Doesn’t it look like a cross between a sea lion, and a tortoise?
We walked away from the ocean onto Prospect Street, and Chandra got to play with a massive globe that was a water-fountain feature. Oh, she rolled and rolled the globe around. She was enchanted!
Afterwards, we went for a treat to the Living Room, a really wonderful coffee house, that has wonderful pastries, and sandwiches. I got Chandra two macaroons, which she devoured before I got to take photos of them, and I also did the same with my pistachio baklava. Chandra then eyed my coconut mocha, and oh my gosh, it was delicious – it was made with low fat milk, and extra hot. I left a tiny bit of it for Chandi to try, as she really should not be drinking coffee at her tender age of 7! She loved it, well….it was delicious!
Then she got some gelato from a place called Gelateria, across from the Living Room, and again, I didn’t take pictures – but this was Chandi’s treat as mine was the coconut mocha. Then, it was time for a few more pictures.
This last picture was from a previous visit to La Jolla
I hope you liked my pictures of La Jolla. It really is a nice place to visit. I really enjoy it there, and I think I would like to say it is one of my favorites in San Diego.
December Nights in San Diego
Time’s already flying by, and it’s February now, but I still haven’t shared December Nights, 2015 with you. Must hurry up, or it will be December again. Just my luck! I don’t want time to go that quickly. There’s no rush…..I will get too old too quickly like this – slow down time!
December Nights at Balboa Park in San Diego is always a fun event. It’s a two day extravaganza, and my family really enjoys it. This year we had to go without Niki, my oldest – since she has started college, and moved away. Still, it’s a fun event for kids of all ages, and adults alike, and I think I might love it even more than my kids do!
This year, we went early. Even though the even starts at 12 noon or so, most people don’t go until 5pm, as they like to be there in the evening when all the lights are on, as well as the Christmas tree at the Organ Pavilion. However, traffic is crazy and hectic, and so is parking. A few times now, we have parked at Petco Park, and then taken a shuttle bus from there to Balboa Park, but this time I wanted to park at the Zoo, and combine December Nights with a trip to the Zoo. So, we got to the Zoo at around 1:45 pm, and were easily able to find a parking spot. We spent about one and a half hours there.
We then took the short walk to Balboa Park – an easy 5 or 10 minute walk.
We first saw the Fountain area, close to one of the museums, and had a little snack, then walked past the Botanical Gardens area where the beautiful flowers, and Reflective Pond is; then we went to the Grinch tree, which is by the Old Globe Theatre, and actually spotted the Grinch!
We then went to see some of the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and since Chandra wanted to eat, we went towards the International Cottages area. When I heard Indian music, that beckoned me, and I was so glad I had allowed myself to be beckoned like that – because that became the highlight of my entire evening. I normally enjoy the Organ Pavilion area, and the Christmas songs so much, and enjoyed them again this year, but this time I allowed myself to actually wander away from the performances at the Organ Pavilion to experience more of what was taking place at the International Cottages area, and these are two competing performance areas – one on the big stage, and the other on a smaller stage, but equally powerful in performance. While one concentrates on performances that are mainly musical, and showcases instruments being played, and singers performing – the smaller stage at the International Cottages focuses on dance. The dance aspect is really entertaining, as you still have the music and the songs, but now have further entertainment too. I absolutely loved it, and my little Chandra got up to dance on the stage for the Grand Finale of the Indian dancing!
Here are two videos that I made – one shows the Grand Finale that Chandra was in,
and the other one shows a variety of performances, and dances that were performed. This includes the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and the Scottish Bagpipe Band, as well as the San Diego Chorus, and of course, the Indian dance performances which took place at the International Cottages.
I love December Nights, there is nothing quite like it!
Dreaming of London
Oh, I’m homesick for England, and I’m dreaming of London
So, I’ll look at these pictures, and imagine myself there
Oh, I’m dreaming of London
And wanting to move there
A New Year makes me ponder
Ponder of yonder, and whether I should just dream
Or make that dream a goal, and put it into action.
I think you can read between these lines, that my heart aches for London
And I may have to act upon it real soon. Hope to see you soon, London!
Real question is…..do I go back after so long away? Will it be the right step, the right move, or will I regret it? It’s not easy to move when you have kids to think of. When I moved here a long time ago, it was just me, and so much easier then. This will be the question of the year for me, shall I do it? Time will tell!
Balboa Park As Seen From San Diego Zoo
I went to the San Diego Zoo in December, and saw the beautiful Museum Of Man from the Sky Ride. You may have seen some of the pictures I have posted before of this particular amazing building, but I haven’t posted pictures taken at the Zoo of it. So here you are…..
You may wonder what the Sky Ride is, it’s a wonderful lift with seats for about 4 people that will take you from one part of the Zoo to another, and you go up, up, up in the air! Best of all, it’s a free ride with you annual pass, otherwise I think you have to purchase tickets. We love the Sky Ride!
Pictures may be taken near or afar, but San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park are two treasures that you have to see up close. Did I tell you we love the Sky Ride? Well, we also love the San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park!