A Different Perspective

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

We descended from the lofty heights of Twin Peaks and made our way to sea level for our next view of San Francisco. A cruise around the bay on a Red and White Fleet boat showed us the city from a completely different perspective.

We took the green route on the Bridge2Bridge tour. Leaving from Pier 43½ in the city, we sailed east to the Golden Gate Bridge before looping back past Alcatraz towards to the multiple spans of the Bay Bridge.

As it sank low in the sky the afternoon sun glowed, embellishing the bridges and the city skyline with a gilded trim.

San Francisco Views

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

The views from our Airbnb home in San Francisco were fabulous. In one direction we could see ships on the sparkling waters of San Francisco Bay.

Further round, we looked out across the suburbs and the always busy freeway to the Sutro Tower, high atop a hill between Mount Sutro and Twin Peaks.

While we thought this outlook was great, we were even more impressed when we visited Twin Peaks.

Perfectly positioned at the geographic centre of San Francisco with an elevation of 282 metres, the two hills of Twin Peaks have unrivalled views of the city and its surrounds.

Our walk from the car park up to Christmas Tree Point went right past the Sutro Tower, a radio and television tower which was once the tallest structure in San Francisco.

Although we could have stayed at the lookout at Christmas Tree Point, we couldn’t resist the challenge of climbing to the top of the hill. We were glad we did, because the 360° panoramic views of the city were spectacular.

On this clear winter’s morning, we could see the skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco, Alcatraz Island and its formidable prison and the glowing orange spans of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As well as the lookouts, there’s a short walking track which follows the curves of the road. Apart from the communications towers and a water reservoir the area is a designated wilderness reserve, dedicated to preserving the habitat of the  endangered mission blue butterfly.

We spent almost as long looking for butterflies as we had looking out over the city, but our search was futile.

The only creatures we saw were a few birds. From their perches high above the city, they seemed to be enjoying the views too.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Palace Romance

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

Fun fact #1: Mr ET and I first met at Caesars Palace!

I know what you’re thinking. What are the odds of two Australians from the same city meeting in a crowded casino in Las Vegas?

Don’t get too excited – it wasn’t that Caesars Palace.

In the early 1980s there was another Caesars Palace, a fancy downtown nightclub in our Queensland city. It was the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights – and that’s where we met.

More than 40 years after that very first meeting we found ourselves in the other Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and, with just a few days to go until our 38th wedding anniversary, it was the perfect venue for a celebratory dinner.

With the Emperor and his friends looking on we dined in style in the Forum on arancini balls, pasta carbonara and a delectable chocolate cake.

It was a once in a lifetime occasion.

Fun Fact #2: A few days later on our actual anniversary in San Francisco we celebrated again. At Golden Gate Park Mr ET promised me another memorable meal and he certainly delivered – hot dogs and cans of root beer from the hot dog van.

What a guy!

Telling Stories in Pictures

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

Many cities’ art galleries are full of works depicting the region’s history and culture and the city of Exeter in Tulare County, California is no exception. What makes Exeter’s gallery unique is the location – it’s outdoors!

More than 30 spectacular murals have been created on the walls of historic buildings in the city centre. Some are time capsules, showing street scenes from bygone days. Others portray the people of Exeter going about their daily work, both in the past and the present. The scenic Sierra Nevada mountains and their native flora and fauna are also featured.

Come with me for a walk along the streets of downtown Exeter to see some of these beautiful works of art.

Orange Harvest 1996: the first mural painted in Exeter

Exeter Road Race Circa 1916 2006: competitors prepare for a race through the streets of Exeter

Our Town, Circa 1925 1999: a sepia depiction of Pine Street

Yokuts Harvest 1997: Yokuts Indians harvest sour berries in spring

Timber Trail 2001: a mule train and wagons transport timber to Atwell Mill in the late 1800s

Golden Harvest 2000: farmers harvest a wheat crop circa 1915

Hometown News 2004: Staff busy at work in the Exeter Sun Newsroom circa 1920s

The People Behind the Label 2000: farmers harvest emperor grapes mid 20th Century

Packing Ladies 1997: Exeter Citrus Packing House circa 1950

Exeter Fruit Labels 1999: labels used by Exeter’s fruit packing houses

Mineral King “In Our Backyard” 2009: featuring the mountains of the historical Mineral King area

Poppies and Lupine 1998: California poppies and lupine grow beside the Kaweah River

Rocky Hill Guardina 2008: a mountain lion guards the entrance to a cave on Rocky Hill

One long mural honours those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Freedom Fighters 2010: dedicated to veterans in all branches of the armed forces

Freedom Fighters 2010

Another, taking up almost a whole city block, celebrates Exeter’s centenary.

Exeter Centennial 1911-2011 2011: Celebrating the city’s centennial with depictions of Pine Street circa 1911

Exeter Centennial 1911-2011

Every year since that first wall was painted in 1996 more murals are added to the collection. The tradition of visual story telling is alive and well in Exeter.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

In The Clouds

During Becky’s April Bright Square photo challenge I opened the archives to December 2019 and January 2020. Now I’m sharing more of our pre-pandemic holiday in California and Nevada with stories that just couldn’t be squared!

Postcards from America

We knew there was a fabulous view out there – we just couldn’t see it.

At Hearst Castle, just 8 kilometres inland and 490 metres above sea level, we should have been able to see California’s central coast and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Not on this very foggy day – the view was hidden by thick cold cloud.

And while the mist may have obscured the view it enhanced the beautiful gardens surrounding the castle, giving them an ethereal feel.

The muted light of this overcast day accentuated the brilliant blue of the Neptune Pool and the swirling fog made the colonnades, winged figures and Roman temple seem almost mystical.

It was as if the sculpture by Charles Cassou depicting the birth of Venus was made for a day like this.

Inside, a second pool glowed even more than the Neptune Pool. Surrounded by spectacular mosaics, Murano glass tiles and gold leaf, the Roman Pool was also more lavish. The perfect reflections on the undisturbed water magnified its opulence.

The splendour of the pools was repeated in the gardens surrounding the house. Even in midwinter flowers bloomed in rich jewel colours.

We may have been denied the views from the top of the hill, but up close the scenery was spectacular.

30 Read the Signs!

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

We’ve come to our last day in USA! 

Our flight wasn’t leaving until just before midnight. We had one full day in LA so we booked a whistle-stop tour of the city’s highlights. From Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, the Griffith Park Observatory and Hollywood, we saw it all. 

It was a thrill to see these famous places – many we’d read about or seen on TV. 

Even the street names were familiar.

We also had time for some last minute shopping – here…

and here, 

but not here!

29 Night Lights

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

When the sun went down the lights turned on at Santa Monica Pier.

And the best view of the night lights was from the top of the Pacific Wheel. 

28 Another Pacific Sunset

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

We’re back where we started, with another winter sunset in Los Angeles.  

Even after it disappeared below the horizon, the sun cast a rosy glow over Santa Monica.

The day may have been ending but the pier was lighting up for the night. 

27 After Dark

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

Evening was already closing in by the time we arrived at San Francisco’s Pier 39.

At the end of the pier, the sculpture Open Heart mirrored the luminous colours of the sunset. 

Even though it was almost night, we could still see the California sea lions who live around the West Marina. They had already gathered on the docks, their glossy pelts shining in the fading light.

The sky darkened and the sea lions began to settle but we were reluctant to leave and stood watching until they were no longer visible.

By the time we were ready to move on the sky was dark. The pier wasn’t dark though, with 1,800 glowing LED lights illuminating the San Francisco Carousel. 

After starting with beautiful artwork, our evening ended the same way. Across the water more LEDs, an installation of 25,000 called The Bay Lights, lit up the Bay Bridge, all the way from San Francisco to Oakland. 

26 Floral Beauties

As part of Becky’s April Bright Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B, I’ve opened the archives to January 2020 to share our 19 day trip to USA. Join me on a pictorial travelogue of the best and brightest of our pre-pandemic adventures in California and Nevada! The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word bright. Look for #brightsquare.

Postcards from America

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park is the oldest wooden structure of its kind in the United States.

We wandered through all five galleries, each one displaying the flowering plants of a different ecosystem.  

From the vegetation of Earth’s tropical regions to the world of aquatic and potted plants, the five rooms of the conservatory were aglow with dozens of vivid blooms in a kaleidoscope of colour.