1 October 2014
The quaint main street of the Danish Village of Solvang
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Very early start this morning as we needed to be at Chinatown by 6.30am to catch our coach to San Francisco. Firstly we were in a coach that travelled to a central spot, where passengers were sorted out to the various tours they had booked – a bit of a mix up but it worked out in the end!
The coach was reasonably comfortable, our Tour Guide was Chinese who spoke two dialects of Chinese as well as English (not so well!). However he was a very nice young man who went out of his way to make the trip enjoyable which made up for the fact that we may not have understood all he said!
Our first stop was Santa Barbara on the coast north of Los Angeles. Initially we passed through country that had interesting yellow soil and treeless hills with lots of chasms, as if the damage had been done by earthquakes (must research this). The drive along the coast was very pleasant and we followed the ocean for many miles. Santa Barbara has a very long pier and there was a cruise liner just beyond the pier. We had time for a leisurely stroll along the beach and the promenade before again boarding the bus.
Along the waterfront in classy Santa Barbara
Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, Santa Barbara lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the “American Riviera”. As of the census of 2010, the city had a population of 88,410, a loss of 1,190 from the previous census, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria with an approximate population of 220,000 (Wikipedia)
Next stop was the quaint Danish Village at Solvang where we had the opportunity of a tasty lunch at Solvang Bakery and a stroll along the main street, also saw the Little Mermaid which is a feature on the main street (right). Could not resist a delicious icecream before we boarded the bus for our last leg to San Francisco.
Solvang is one of the communities that make up the Santa Ynez Valley and was incorporated as a city on May 1 1985. It was founded in 1911 on almost 9,000 acres (3,600 ha) of the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata Mexican land grant, by a group of Danes who travelled west to establish a Danish colony far from the midwestern winters. The city is home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark in California. The architecture of many of the façades and buildings reflects traditional Danish style. There is a copy of the famous Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen, as well as one featuring the bust of famed Danish fable writer Hans Christian Andersen. A replica of Copenhagen’s Round Tower or Rundetarn in the scale 1:3 was finished in 1991 and can be seen in the town centre.
The Danish Bakery where we had lunch
The day was quickly drawing to a close as we arrived at our motel in San Jose, the coach has stopped at a nearby shopping centre where we had a choice of food for dinner (mainly Asian) and we found a great Sushi restaurant where the waitress helped us choose from the menu. Very tired after a long and interesting day, and really ready for sleep as we had to be up by about 5am to get started on our tour around San Francisco, which we were all looking forward to – join us for a great day in beautiful San Francisco.