Saturday, 9 February 2013

Train Trip 2013 - Salinas to Los Angeles

From Salinas, our next stop was Santa Barbara. We really wanted to avoid the more crowded and hectic pace of Los Angeles and this was a good choice.

We stayed at Hotel Indigo which is right beside the train station and only a few blocks from the ocean. The "theme" of the hotel is contemporary art -- it has a small art library in one area, several artistic displays and prints used throughout the hotel as wall murals and room signs.

Anchor Woodfire Kitchen & Bar (within the hotel) opened only 6 weeks ago and we ended up eating there two nights in a row, partly due to convenience and partly because of how good it was!

Door number plaque to our room.
Mural on wall in our room.

In making some comparisons to Saskatoon, it was interesting to see an article in the local weekly newspaper about a homeless count that had just been done and the efforts being made to house the homeless. Homelessness and panhandling was VERY obvious -- much more so than in Saskatoon but some of the underlying issues are certainly the same. Santa Barbara is making progress with their Housing Placement Working Group. Although the final numbers of this count weren't in yet, a count in 2011 showed there were 932 homeless. Since then, 117 have been moved into housing; only 3 of those did not keep housing; 4 passed away after receiving housing; and 16 died while waiting for housing.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is known as "one the best small zoos in America".  It was great to see the zoo staff doing feedings and to be able to talk with them without big crowds of people around. Lucky the Penguin was my favourite -- he was born with a defect in his foot and the footwear company Teva worked with the zoo to develop a shoe that allows Lucky to walk & swim just like any other penguin. Teva has committed to providing Lucky with free shoes for his lifetime. It's a heartwarming story!

Seeing the young kids enjoy the animals really made me think of Karsten (my great nephew, 18 months old) and I really hope to get to the Saskatoon Forestry Farm with him this spring/summer. Andrew got some very humorous photos of the giraffes!

The Sea Center, the Old Mission and lovely photographic display of owls and woodpeckers by Paul Bannick at the Natural History Museum were also very worthwhile stops.
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Train Station

The Amtrak Station in Santa Barbara was built in 1902 in Spanish architectural style. Latest renovations took place in 2000 and it is a really nice looking building. A huge old fig tree sits about 50 meters away.

The train ride to Los Angeles was very scenic and had a bit of everything -- ocean, backyard views of magnificent houses along the ocean, agricultural land, and mountains off in the distance.

Huge fig tree near train station

No comments:

Post a Comment