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Entries about breakfast

Celebrating the Fourth of July with friends

written by Birgit, pictures mostly by Sam

sunny 22 °C
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The next stop on our journey was Thousand Oaks, just north of Malibu in the Santa Monica hills. This is not necessarily a typical tourist destination and only made it on our travel map, as this is where my friends Susan and John are living.
I had pre-warned them already when we met last year in September, that we might want to meet when we’re coming to their area. And luckily enough they were around and not traveling themselves!
We arrived at their house and welcomed with more food than all of us together could possibly eat: there were blue corn chips (yummy!) with John’s homemade guacamole and salsa. And then there was a big barbecue feast with bison burgers, German brats, rolls, sauerkraut, pickles, tomato, various sauces, corn on the cob and much more… Max was delighted and ate much more than what he usually eats, but also we had clearly more than needed – specifically when the apple pie and fruit came into play!

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What Sam and I had not realized so far is that we had really longed for good conversations. After all John and Susan were the first friends we had seen for two months now. And even though we’ve met lots of other people in the meantime, conversations with strangers are just different and much more superficial. So we kept John and Susan up longer than what they are used to and went to bed with the nice feeling you have after such great conversations.
The next morning John and Susan introduced us to one of their favourite breakfast places – the Side Street Café. What a great menu! Really nice!

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But the next highlight of our day was not far away: we went to the Ronald Reagan Library. John easily navigated us to the best parking position despite the hundreds of cars lining the access and the ushers advising us to use the overflow parking down the hill. There was quite a program at the Library for the Fourth of July: we met the flag maker Betsy Ross, had a chat with President Lincoln, Max bounced in the bouncing castle, we walked through Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One, had an excellent snack featuring Jelly Beans and saw the Oval Office how it looked in Reagan’s times.

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But there was more to come: in the early evening we went to Janss’ Marketplace, got our bracelets entitling us to join the firework viewing on the upper deck of the parking. Max immediately entered the bouncing castle just there before doing his balancing tricks in the playground.

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John and Susan treated us to excellent dinner at the Sunset Terrace and the timing was just perfect to arrive on the upper deck of parking to enjoy the Eagles Revival Band. Even though we seemed not as well prepared as many others who were carrying loads of stuff up there, John organized us seats and we placed them in the best position just in front of the band. We had to smile when the band played ‘Hotel California’, we got to think of the dark desert highways on the Baja and had a look at the picture we took of the ‘Hotel California’ in Todos Santos. At 9pm we just had to turn around our seats to enjoy the fireworks – all of us love fireworks!

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The next morning it was time to say good bye to Susan and John. All of us had really enjoyed the stay with them, but Max was very outspoken about the fact that he did not want to leave.
Eventually we headed off towards Hollywood. Our first stop was Mulholland Drive which treated us to a nice view not only of the infamous Hollywood Sign, but also of some very exquisite mansions in the Hollywood Hills. Given that we had not spent the 200$ to go on a Hollywood Tour, it was up to us to speculate which of them could belong to the various celebrities living in the area.

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Next on our list of places we wanted to see was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was fun to spot stars of all kinds of celebrities, such as Jodie Foster, Steven Spielberg, Aretha Franklin, Mickey Mouse, Michael Jackson, Anthony Hopkins etc… Along the way we also passed the Dolby Theater - location of the annual Oscars and Graumans Chinese Theater where various stars have left the imprints of their hands and feet.

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I really enjoyed that stroll along the Walk of Fame. The only bad news was that we had gotten an expensive parking ticket (73$) as we had missed to read that along that side of the street, street cleaning was on Tuesdays noon – 3pm and not like on the other side of the street on Mondays. Next time we’ll look more closely before parking!
We took the scenic route via Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard to the beach. I’m not sure how often I had watched ‘Pretty Woman’ as a teenager, but even though that’s quite a while ago, all these sites reminded me so much of the movie.

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In Venice Beach we once again went for street parking – this time checking the signs better than earlier. We checked out Muscle Beach, saw the beach basketball courts that were featured in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ and had lunch on the beach. With the life guard stations all along the beach, we were a bit reminded of ‘Baywatch’. Pamela Anderson was nowhere to be seen, but there were enough other people to watch.

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Max enjoyed the playground and was disappointed that he could not use the skatepark with his bike – after all it was crowded with adults who were practicing their tricks in front of a big crowd of spectators. On our way back to the car, we were lucky to catch a show of the Calypso Tumblers, featuring breakdance, acrobatics and funny commentary – fun!

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But best of all, was just e whole atmosphere and specifically the people there.

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Leaving LA around rush hour was less fun, but otherwise we would have missed a trademark of the area. Having the feeling on a 7-lane highway that there are at least 3 lanes missing is something that would have never occurred to me if I hadn’t seen it.
Even though we could have spent lots more time in LA and surroundings, all of us were happy with what we had seen and were ready to head on towards new adventures.

Posted by dreiumdiewelt 09:41 Archived in USA Tagged venice beach breakfast friends castle lincoln library hollywood fourth bouncing Comments (0)

Aussie Christmas

Cape Naturaliste, Margaret River

sunny 28 °C
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After two relaxed days in Busselton, we were keen to explore the coast on the way to Margaret River. Our first stop was at the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse for taking a walk to the whale lookout. As whale watching season is over already, we were it was not too surprising that we did not see any. Instead we got to see a seal playing in the waters below us.

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A short ride in the car brought us to Bunker Bay, where we found a nice and secluded spot for lunch. Our only companion was a big lizard that seemed not to take notice of our presence.

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At Sugarloaf Rock, we had hoped to see a couple of phaetons that are supposed to nest there. Even though we did not see any, the detour was certainly worth it: the coastline was spectacular with the waves hitting the rocky coast. And it was not only us enjoying the waves: a pod of dolphins surfed the waves seemingly having lots of fun in the process.

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But not only the dolphins were keen to surf the waves. At Yallingup Beach there were lots of kite surfers enjoying the powerful wind and the breaks coming in.

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Finally, it was time to drive the last couple of kilometers to Margaret River, where we planned to be over Christmas. Along the way, we passed at least 20 wineries, some distilleries and a couple of specialty food places, like a very tempting chocolate factory. We resisted the temptation to make a stop at any of the nicely landscaped places and headed on.
After all, our campground featured not only a pool, but also a bouncing pillow. That is a guarantee that Max will have fun and consequently we’d be happy as well – an important prerequisite for Christmas.
Also the weather treated us to a special pre-Christmas present. As we soon realized, it was not windy anymore. Since back in Exmouth and Coral Bay, we’d been getting used to (and sometimes upset about) the constant heavy winds that made even the hottest days feel chilly and uncomfortable. And suddenly, just in time for Christmas, the wind was gone!
Life is good. And even more so when it’s Christmas Eve and the day starts already with a traditional and relaxed breakfast: rolls with salmon and horseradish with sparkling wine from Capel Vale. Max was happy with his choice of jam instead of salmon and apple juice instead of sparkling wine.
Another tradition of the Dorner family is to take a hike up a mountain in the afternoon. Due to the acute lack of mountains around Margaret River, we skipped the mountain part of the tradition and went for a simple walk into the town of Margaret River instead. We made it all the way to the River and the Rotary Park before going back to our campground.

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After all, we were ready for having our Christmas Eve dinner. And contrary to what we usually have, this time we went for the classical Aussie Christmas meal. In other words: we headed to the ‘barbie’ and had steak and sausages with mashed potatoes and a glass of white wine to go with it.
It is not necessarily straight forward to create a traditional Christmas celebration, when outside it’s sunny and warm and there’s not even a living room to set up a Christmas tree in. Despite the challenges, it still seemed like an almost ‘normal’ Christmas, starting with the ringing of a bell up in the rooftop tent. And when Max got to check what’s up there, there was a (painting of a) tree, there were presents, cookies and mulled apple juice.
Once all carols were sung, wishes exchanged, presents opened, we had a very pleasant evening. Calling home, playing with Max’ new presents and simply enjoying the moment.

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Christmas Day is the big day for the Australians and we were surrounded by Christmas carols and greetings. As we had celebrated already the day before, we took it easy. Sam edited probably two weeks’ worth of pictures while I swam, jumped and played with Max.

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It had been a very peaceful Christmas indeed. Different than usual, but very close to the ‘normal’ version we’re used to.

Posted by dreiumdiewelt 21:53 Archived in Australia Tagged river walk breakfast kite christmas aussie lighthouse dolphin surfer present barbie Comments (2)

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