The 350 miles, which separates San Francisco and the Bay Area from Los Angeles and the beaches of southern California, stretches like a flattened snake skin, slithering its way silently down the valley. The accompanying ribbon of traffic twists and turns unceasingly through these fertile plains. Vast acres of tilled fields which provide the replenishment for many of the fruit and vegetable baskets of North America and beyond, spreading out to the foothills of the Grapevine. At which point, these great folded wedges of land, scattered with trees, reach up several thousand feet, ascending the canyon to the Tejon Pass through the Tehachapi Mountains along Interstate 5, separating the San Joaquin Valley, before they disperse down into the massive conurbation which is southern California. The same land mass, the same state, but so different from the Bay Area in its dress, its style and its culture, one feels almost as if you have journeyed to a far off place.
The hills of the Angeles National Forest
and the inevitable traffic!!
The interstate traverses its way through almost 70 miles of cities and towns which seem to melt into each other like one gigantic man-made sprawl. Leaving the freeway to join the Pacific Coast Highway, which hugs the Orange County shoreline like a beaded necklace, tranquility awaits in the bay at Dana Point.
Small boats and sailing vessels make their way from the Pacific Ocean into the waterways of Newport Beach and Balboa Island
A small sailing boat, disappears into the late afternoon sunshine.
On the cliff side above Dana Point, rests the glitz of the Ritz! A place to see and be seen, to indulge and splurge, to melt into the world of Hollywood glamour, if ones so chooses!
It’s Easter time,
and nothing here is understated!!
A poolside retreat to be waited on and spoiled whilst soaking up the sun!
Below the cliffs, at the feet of the grandeur of the Ritz, rests a glorious, golden, sandy beach which so typifies southern California. Southern California, a world of surf boards, bikinis, the Beach Boys, open top VW bugs and palm trees, the smell of salty water, coconut suntan oil and tequila pervading the air……..
Million dollar homes dominate every spare inch of buildable space.
Pelicans hover in the thermals above the hotel’s giant market umbrellas.
The headland of Laguna peeps over the abundance of shrubs and flowers.
Dazzling displays of color splash their brilliance against an azure blue ocean.
Californian lupins bow their heads to the surfers far below in the curling waves.
This is southern California, full of beautiful, sun-drenched beaches and ‘beautiful’ sun-tanned people. Far from San Francisco, far from anywhere, a land where it is sometimes said ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’, a place you either love or love to hate, crazy, stunning but surely fun to visit if just for a few short days to share in that “California dreaming'”!!!