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Monday, June 5, 2017

California, here we come, Part Five

From San Diego, we took a trip inland on Hwy 8 to El Centro in the Imperial Valley and the Anza Borrego desert. For visitors from mountainous Switzerland, the desert has a special fascination. El Centro is also the place where part of the Polkinhorn family lives, so it was exciting for my Swiss family to meet them for the first time.

But first, we made another surprise visit to a dear member of the "Polkinhorn Clan," Harry Polkinhorn, in San Diego. He and I used to live in Switzerland and he knew my family there, but hadn't seen them in over twenty years. So, it was a wonderful surprise when we showed up unannounced.

Our trip east on Hwy 8 brought us through the mountains and into the Anza Borrego desert. I remember well how impressed  I was the first time I took this trip many years ago. The mysterious landscape and the purple/orange colors of the rocks never cease to fascinate me.

In El Centro, close to the Mexican border, we met a few other members of the Polkinhorn Clan, my ex-husbands brother and my sister-in-law and their daughter. It was a first get-together for everyone and we truly enjoyed it.

Rae Lynn, my sister-in-law, accompanied us into the desert to Yuma, Arizona. Yuma is a quaint city with a pleasant climate (it does get quite hot in summer), so in winter the town gets inundated with the so-called "Snowbirds." These are people from states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and others (mainly retirees) who want to escape the brutal cold and spend the winter in sunny and warm Arizona. At this time of the year, not much is going but during winter, this is supposed to be quite an active place. By the way, it is alleged that Billy the Kid spent time in jail here. Yuma also has some excellent restaurants and funky bars.

The next few photos show the inside of the restaurant we had lunch at. You'll see quite a few celebrities of the entertainment business and the famous civil rights leader!

One of the highlights of our journey into the desert were the sand dunes with their otherworldly ambience. They are simply breathtaking.

Thank you, Rae Lynn, Billy and Harry Polkinhorn, for your kind hospitality!

And a heartfelt thank you to my dear friends, Jeanie and Bernie Lauer Van Dam, and my Ladies Club (Martha, Relly, and Yasue) for making my family feel so welcome!

Unfortunately, everything has to come to an end. The two intense and wonderful weeks are over and soon it was time to say goodbye.

At the airport once again, this time to fly back.Bye and see you soon!

Back in Switzerland, where it was definitely a little colder. But home sweet home nevertheless.

Friday, June 2, 2017

California, here we come, Part Four

After our trip north, we drove back to Los Angeles, relaxed a few days in Santa Monica, and then went onward to San Diego and the surrounding areas.

We stayed in Pacific Beach in a motel right next to the beach. I used to live in San Diego many years ago, so this trip was kind of a "down memory lane" experience for me.

One thing that surprised us was the somewhat unpredictable climate during our trip. The hottest days we spent in ... believe it or not ... San Francisco, where it's usually fresh and windy. This time people who live there actually complained about the heat! San Diego, the most southern area, on the other hand, was fairly cool, even cold at times, and it rained one day.

We explored the interesting downtown area of San Diego with its harbor and the fascinating navy ships.

Had to think of Moby Dick when I saw this beauty!

The Midway, an impressive airplane carrier, was built during World War II. It launched right after the war. Standing next to one of those amazing ships is almost scary. Can't imagine what it must have felt to actually live and work on one of those monsters!


My nephew, Captain Rico Spiegel, getting outfitted for his next cruise!

After a drive over the Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island, we explored the famous Hotel Colorado, definitely a place for the rich and those who don't mind to splurge! The architecture though was fascinating.

More to come. Stay tuned!