Every summer, my dad’s side of the family tries to have some type of family reunion, where members of the family all gather together and travel to a destination. Past trips have involved Canada (west and east), Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, and various parts of California, to name a few. This summer, the family decided to have a mini family reunion. “Mini” implies that it doesn’t involve a as large a group as our other reunions (this one only involved those relatives living in California, particularly my dad and his siblings and their immediate families), the destination is not very far, and the duration of the trip is relatively short. As my grandparents get older, it has become harder and harder to travel far distances for long periods of time with them in tow; thus, the family has been trying to accommodate for them, planning shorter trips that will be enjoyable for everyone.
This summer’s trip involved the central coast of California – Solvang, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach. The huge convenience is that this year’s destination is at about the halfway point between those who live in the Los Angeles area of Southern California (my parents and I) and those who live in the San Jose area of northern California (everyone else). This was not the first time visiting these places for anyone in our family, but it had definitely been a while since any of us had revisited these places.
Both parties decided to meet up initially for the trip at Ostrichland, which is minutes away from our first stop, Solvang. My mom and I made a couple small purchases at the gift shop at Ostrichland while we waited for the other party to arrive. Once the “Asian Caravan” (as my cousins and I call our fleet of four vehicles) arrived, we continued on our way to Solvang. Solvang is a cute area that resembles a Danish village. The unique architecture and numerous little independent shops make this place a delightful tourist attraction.
Pictured above is my older cousin, Clement. He’ll be leaving for New York next week to attend Columbia University. The purpose of this mini family reunion was also partly a farewell gathering for him to send him off. I’m extremely happy and proud that he got into his dream school, but I’ll definitely miss not having him be as close in distance. Granted he lives up in northern California, at least that’s still within the same state, and only either a six hour drive or one hour flight! I must admit I am also a bit excited for him to be relocating to New York – this gives me more of an excuse to plan a trip over to the east coast soon! By the way, pictured above was his usual pose for most of the trip – quite the busy man. ;]
Ryan was teasing clement since he was on the phone for quite a while (and always seems to be!).
We cousins decided to wander off on our own while the parental units and grandparents wandered off on their own. I was craving coffee (when am I not?) and dessert, so we went looking for some type of cafe place. We found The Solvang Bakery and decided to step inside.
I suppose we may have found one of the gems of Solvang. While we sat in that bakery eating our macaroons (Thanks, Clement!) and sipping our coffee, I used my handy dandy Yelp app on my phone and discovered this place had a four star rating!
Post baked-goods-and-coffee-time, we continued our stroll through the Danish village and ended up at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. This dainty little museum with free admission is located in the midst of a book store. It had pretty interesting articles and artifacts on Andersen. Also, the book store itself looked filled with varieties of books – both new and used. If I had more time, I would have definitely enjoyed perusing their collection.
Of particular interest to me was this Chinese translation of one of the Hans Christian Andersen books. Talk about world renowned writer!
And for those who do not know, Hans Christian Anderson is the original writer of The Little Mermaid, one of among many popular stories he had written.
Above is Clement and his parents. He was pretending to be upset that he was all alone on the other side of the bench in the first photo.
And in conclusion, we have my parents followed by a photo of them with Ryan, whom my dad called his son during this shot. ;]
Following Solvang, we went to dinner at Pea Soup Andersen’s then proceed to our hotel in the neighboring city of Lompoc. All in all, a long but good day.