One of the best outlooks in Los Angeles has got to be Griffith Observatory. You can clearly see the Hollywood sign from here! Not only is it a great spot for a first date, but it also has a giant telescope, space exhibits, and a planetarium. It’s also a popular place for fashion bloggers and their Instagram husbands. Moreover, admission is free (except for the planetarium).
As a New Yorker, I am perpetually envious of southern Californians who get to enjoy beautiful weather all year round. Yes, I enjoy the feeling of moving into another season a few times each year, but sometimes I wish we had the luxury to visit the beach on a whim without worrying about freezing temperatures. Santa Monica Pier, to me, is the image of California I’ve been fed by television shows and movies all my life. An expansive beach with crashing waves, surfers, carnival rides, skateboarders, and immaculately tan and fit residents everywhere.
The Broad is one of Los Angeles’ hottest new contemporary art museums, financed by Eli Broad. I initially thought it was pronounced “Broad” as in “ya dumb broad!” but it actually rhymes with “road.” The building itself is a work of art by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Its special design comprises of a veil and a vault. The vault is the concrete “base” that floats above ground level. The veil is the honeycomb skeleton that wraps around the building, made of fiberglass-reinforced concrete. Beside the museum is a small grove of 100-year-old olive trees that look like a mini enchanted forest when it’s lit up at night. There are mini tree stumps for seating. The Broad is also located across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. Truly an architectural paradise 🙂
Prior to visiting Taiwan, I was doing some research and discovered that Spirited Away, one of my favorite Miyazaki films, is based on the coastal town of Jiufen 九份. And being a Studio Ghibli fan, of course I had to go see it in person. It’s a popular tourist spot amongst people all across Asia (there were a lot of Korean and Japanese fans). We went closer to night time to see the lanterns, but do note that the shops close pretty early (around 7pm)! During the day, you can get some awesome coastal views if it’s not too foggy. Wish we had more time to explore while it was still light out.
Our primary reason for visiting SoCal this time was actually to check out our future wedding venue, Franciscan Gardens. It’s located in San Juan Capistrano, about an hour from Los Angeles and San Diego. Like I mentioned in a previous post, Tie and I started dating in LA and I’ve fantasized about living there more than once. That last part might not become a reality, but at least we can get married here. Of course, the weather is unpredictable this far in advance and my dreams of having an outdoor garden wedding can still be shattered if we must retreat indoors. In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Anywhos, I thought it’d be fun to take y’all along on our tour of the place.
I was always more of a cat person growing up and so was intrigued upon hearing about Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan (猴硐貓村). A town overrun with cats? Count me in. Unfortunately we went on a rainy day so the cats were more damp than furry. Didn’t end up petting too many of them. Some of them were quite friendly and will snuggle up to your legs. We also saw a dog that was mostly ignored. It seems tourism is big business for this village as everything is cat-themed. The signs, the store displays, the souvenirs. Me-ow.
Before Tie and I embark on any adventure, I usually do some thorough planning to ensure we make maximum use of our time there. Of course, sometimes we might come across a snafu or are simply too tired to wake up super early, but it’s still better to be prepared 🙂 Two of my favorite tools for trip planning are Google Sheets and Google Maps, and they’re both free!
I’ve already covered the Tower Bridge in a previous post, but here is a photo gallery of some other London classic spots!
I’ll admit, prior to planning our trip to London I was under the impression that it’s all fish and chips. Probably because Ireland wasn’t exactly foodie heaven and I kinda assumed they might have similar cuisines. On the contrary, London has much variety to offer. We’re eager to return and eat more to our heart’s content, but in the meantime, this is our dining summary.