When you think of Los Angeles, the first thing you think of is Hollywood. But there are many other things to do there that are not related to tinsel town. Recently, I spent a whirlwind weekend in Los Angeles. I hurried off my delayed Southwest flight, found the shuttle bus to the Westin Hotel at Los Angeles Airport. Fifteen minutes later, a quick ride by LA standards, I flew into the hotel room where my friend had already arrived. A quick change and we were on our way across the street to the rental car facility and were soon headed up the 405 freeway toward the California science center in record time.With entry tickets in hand we made it by 4 o’clock. With a little over an hour to explore the center, we headed to the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Our tickets were taken by David J, a well informed and personable employee, who then escorted us to the Endeavor exhibit. The exhibit begins with several small displays about the shuttle and its massive size. The Big Endeavor refers to the two day final trek the Endeavor made from LAX airport to its home at the California Science Center through the streets of Los Angeles. It was a daunting task and a short time lapse film documents the shuttles’ two day journey. David found us again and took us to the building where the Endeavor is on full display. The Endeavor sits about four feet above you as you walk beneath it and the heat tiles show the shuttles’ scars from its travels in space.
Numerous displays surround the Endeavor and one in particular shows the new pavilion that will begin construction in 2018 as the new home for the shuttle. The pavilion will feature the shuttle in upright position as it would be for liftoff with all its external tanks attached. It promises to be an impressive site.
Closing time quickly approached as well hurried through flight and space displays of the Wright flyer, Gemini capsule, Mercury capsule, Voyager mock up and the Mars rover. They had the Apollo spacesuit of Ken Mattingly, the astronaut, who did not fly on Apollo 13, due to the possibly he had the measles. We left knowing we had seen a true piece of history in the Endeavor. https://californiasciencecenter.org/
We made our way through five o’clock traffic toward Glendale to meet friends at Le Petit Chateau, a small French restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. The food was delicious, the wine flavorful and the service, exceptional. Admittedly, it was a bit pricey but well worth sharing a fine meal and good conversation with good friends. It had been a long travel day and the hour was late as we returned to the hotel. http://www.lepetitchateau.org/
Saturday was leisurely for me as my friend attended an autograph show at the Westin. While I searched flights for my next adventure, he met and got the autographs of both Helen Reddy and Sally Kellerman. By noon we were off to Malibu and the Getty Villa for ‘Tea above the Sea.” It began as a bit of a dreary day on the coast but the temperature was perfect for the villa. We enjoyed our finger sandwiches and cakes as we appreciated the charms of hills of Malibu.
Getty Villa is a replica of the Villa dei Papiri, the largest and most luxuriously furnished seaside that was found during the excavations in Italy at Herculaneum in the 1700s. We joined a walking, docent led, architecture tour of the villa where we learned about the history of site, the architecture and antiquities housed there. The tour was made more enjoyable due to the use of headsets with headphones so you could easily hear the docent.
Paul Getty purchased 64 acres of seaside property in 1945 and built a house on the site which is still in use. In 1954, his homes gallery was opened on a limited basis to the public. Although Getty did not see the completion of the Villa, it opened in 1974 to the public. The short film provides the visitors with the history of the Villa and antiquities that are part of the Getty’s collection. Since its renovation in 2006, it now hosts upwards of half a million visitors each year.The Greek and Roman antiquities that are displayed are magnificent and the villa grounds and buildings are beautiful and meticulously maintained. The Villa is the number one attraction in Malibu and is free to visit, but you do pay for parking and booking your tickets in advance is encouraged. http://www.getty.edu/visit/
After our visit, we headed a bit further north in Malibu to Paradise Cove. We walked the beach and pier enjoying the sights and sounds of the California coast. The sunset was lovely and soon we were headed back down PCH highway toward the bustle of the freeways. Dinner was had at In and Out Burger, a California staple. http://www.in-n-out.com/
We had gone from the cuisine de jour to burger and fries on Saturday night. You can’t go wrong with space travel, roman ruins and sunsets in 48 hours in LA which is fast, furious and FUN!!