Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Just returned from Cancun – glad to see the other CAI writers keeping the home fires burning.  Flight back was filled with screaming and yelling kids, while parents idly sat by… numb perhaps, but still very unhelpful!

But thankfully I had my ipod and some trusty Remy Zero in the library.  One of my favorite songs of theirs… enjoy (the song definitely, video not so much – definitely not on par with Elijah’s selections).

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What better place to wander than the real world?  I’ve decided to spend the next Weekly Wandering outside of cyberspace, in Los Angeles County.

People seem very polarized by Los Angeles.  Morrissey declares that “we look to Los Angeles for the language we use, London is dead.”  Ben Gibbard inquires, “Is this the city of angels or demons?”  I once told someone that I love Los Angeles and, visibly bothered, they asked, “Have you ever been anywhere else?”  That’s a bit harsh, and to readers who might be asking the same question, yes, I have been several other places.  It is a passion of mine to explore.  I have a keen sense of direction and memory for locations, and I am most fond of Los Angeles and its surrounding cities.  It’s true that I’ve spent more time in Los Angeles than any other city and there are various reasons outside of the objective value of Los Angeles that influence my passion for the city.  But I’m convinced that there are plenty of positive and negative things to go around in any metropolitan area.  I don’t particularly like the weather in Los Angeles (I’m more of a North Atlantic or Pacific Northwest type of man), but I am bewitched by the city and I feel called to serve in and explore Los Angeles for the rest of my life, so deal with it naysayers.  Maybe I’ll post something more in depth regarding Los Angeles and culture, but for now I offer locational wanderings to readers.

In light of my constant state of near-poverty, or at least my slight frugality, I am primarily going to include places that are free (aside from transportation), which is a truly great thing in both a thriving economy and a recession.  Maybe you’ve been to these places, maybe you’ve never heard of them, maybe you don’t live in Los Angeles County and you’re completely disinterested.  Either way, this place has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike.

This week I will mostly focus on some fun places within Griffith Park that I have explored over the past six years of being a licensed driver.

Griffith Park (4,210 acres) was a donation from Griffith J. Griffith (ridiculous name, ridiculous man) to the City of Los Angeles.  It offers a wide variety of activities, many of which are free:

  • The Mulholland Memorial Fountain – This beautiful fountain is located off of Los Feliz & Riverside.  The fountian (like Mulholland Drive) is named after William Mulholland was an Irish immigrant who worked as an prominent civil engineer and is responsible in part for the rapid growth of Los Angeles at the beginning of last century (thanks to several projects he undertook while working at/heading up the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power).  It’s easy to get to and is a nice place to enjoy hot tea (or coffee if you prefer), a walk, and/or a smoke.
  • Griffith Observatory – This place is a Los Angeles landmark and it showcases a beautiful building and a beautiful view of Hollywood/Los Angeles/South Bay/Palos Verdes/Long Beach/etc.  You might have seen it in a number of films including Rebel Without A Cause.  There are a number of interesting exhibits, a Tesla coil, several telescopes, and a free theater (now showing a short film about the observatory).  If you’re willing to spend a little money be sure to buy tickets to the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, currently presenting an enjoyable show, “Centered in the Universe” ($8 with a student ID and well worth it).
  • Bronson Caves – These manmade caves were originally built for transporting rock for a Union Rock Company quarry there, have been used in numerous films and are a fun little hike.  Just take Bronson (or Canyon Dr., which Bronson merges with) north of Hollywood Blvd. and then park where the road ends.  There is a service/fire road on the east side of the canyon, which is the beginning of the trail to the caves.  It is probably a ten or fifteen minute light hike.  Once you’re there you can also see a nice view of the “Hollywood” sign (which I would talk about hiking to, but it would be tresspassing and I would never do that…again…maybe…ever…).
  • Walk – Never underestimate the power of a nice walk.  I typically scoff at the prospect of walking (which is different than “hiking”).  Most of the time I’d rather ride a bicycle or run.  But when I do start to walk I find myself enjoying it greatly, especially with company.  It’s like watching “Home Improvement.”  I usually hate television, and “Home Improvement” never sounds especially attractive, but when I have watched an episode here or there I just can’t get enough of that Tim Allen.  Griffith Park offers a lot of beautiful scenery and much of that is enjoyed to a far greater degree while strolling.  The best places to wander on foot are located on the north side of the park, off of the 5 freeway at any of the “Griffith Park” exits (Los Feliz, Griffith Park, Zoo Drive).

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