road trip: unexpected travels (ii)

Part 2 of my SoCal road trip series! You can read Part 1 here. On this leg, we drove from Santa Barbara to Long Beach, stopping in Downtown SB, the Getty Villa, and Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Santa Barbara downtown was such a lovely place to just walk around after a long day of traveling. This was our first stop in what counts as SoCal, and it definitely met my expectations with the palm lined streets and relaxed storefronts

This outfit was worn a few times repeatedly, because I'd get way too lazy to find other clothes to wear. My top is chiffon, so it's very breathable, but I can easily throw a cardigan over it at night.

Having a go to outfit while traveling makes your life so much easier, especially when you're running out the door, late to an excursion, or just way too tired from staying out late the night before.

Time spent here: 1 hr of leisurely walking time, could spend more if you went shopping.
Things to note: A nice walk after dinner, not too busy or loud. They have a pretty big Anthropology and Free People here!
Cost: Easy to find free parking, at least when we went (~7pm). 

These bikes. Literally the epitome of sunny California. 

The next destination is a must see if you're in the area. We almost drove past it, it's not very obvious from the road, and you can't see it while driving, but inside, the Getty Villa is amazing.

Rich oil or coal tycoons always seem to be building these amazing houses, isn't it great they end up being open to the public later on? J. Paul Getty actually built the Villa specifically to house his art collection, but was never able to see it in person before his death. 

I believe it was modeled after a villa in Pompeii, where Mt. Vesuvius erupted. It's supposed to invoke feelings of being an ordinary Roman citizen in a villa at that time, and I can definitely attest to how realistic it feels. If you can ignore the tourists and selfie sticks that is!

I'm kind of regretting my choice to wear grey instead of white, it would've popped much better. Photoshop perhaps? 

Inside the Villa, there are rooms and rooms full of ancient sculptures. You could spend forever looking at them, and I'm sure it would've been a great place to sit and sketch

I personally like paintings more, specifically Impressionism and Post Impressionism, so I went through them quicker than others might. 

Time spent here: 2 hrs, but you could go up to a half day. A day might be stretching it, unless you're planning to spend time sketching, want to get all your photo ops in, or are really interested in ancient sculptures. 
Things to note: If you're driving from North to South, the entrance to the Villa will be on the left hand side. You'll have to make a U turn and go South to North to get in. Also, you have to get free tickets beforehand from their website (this is probably to control visitor flow). You don't need to print them out, just be ready to show the guard the 6 digit confirmation number on your phone. 
Cost: Free tickets, but $15 to park. I don't think you can get in without parking inside. 

Continuing on the theme of otherworldly places, our next stop was the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades. There are actually many SRF temples, but this one is the Lake Shrine, so it's a lot bigger. 

Although I'm not religious, I definitely enjoyed stopping here. It was very peaceful and tranquil, and a nice change of pace from all the honking on the road (there is something different about drivers in SoCal, they seem to really enjoy honking at everyone). 

There's a beautiful temple with a bit of a climb, but worth going to. The whole area just doesn't feel like it's only a few miles away from central LA. I took this photo for Urban Outfitter's polaroid contest, and it ended up getting a decent amount of attention!

Time spent here: 1 hr, but more can be spent mediating or sitting by the lake.
Things to note: There is a functioning temple at the top, so if you visit it, be careful to be silent as there are people mediating. You're allowed to take photos, but there's such a calm, serene feeling to this place, I wouldn't go in with tripods and selfie sticks. They also offer weekend retreats!
Cost: Free, but suggested donation.

This was one of my favorite parts of our trip! Everything was just so different from the city, and it was a great change of pace. Neither of these places were incredibly well known or touristy, but still good for pictures and seeing new things.

Next week will be a little bit about my experience on the Carnival Imagination cruise to Ensenada and San Diego!

Have you visited any of these places, or places that remind you of these (Rome, Greece, Turkey, Southeast Asia)? Where are your favorite "off the beaten path" places in your city?




p.s. just curious how quickly my blog loads for you? I've been doing speed tests, and they range from 2-5sec, so wondering if that's accurate for my readers.

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