Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Weekend Jaunt

This weekend I'm in another beautiful place: The Santa Ynez Valley. Here, the rolling hills that surround me seem to stretch into infinity, and as I scan the landscape, with its abundant oak trees, every frame appears like a plein air painting. This valley, where the movie Sideways was filmed, spawns a multitude of vineyards. It's also horse country and home to cattle ranches and even an ostrich farm or two.

In the valley, you'll find a number of charming little towns. The most colorful is Solvang. Solvang was founded by Danes, and its architecture is true to the Danish style. Seeing Solvang for the first time since my trip to Denmark in 2003, I'm taken by how much this town, with a commercial area of just one-mile square, captures the flavor of Denmark. Being half Danish myself (on my mother's side,) I enjoy claiming Solvang as my own.

On this holiday weekend, Solvang is crawling with tourists, and I find the traffic and numbers of people a bit unnerving. But it is a tourist town, and one thing I notice are the many couples, young and old, walking hand in hand; and something else: all of them are smiling.


  1. Jonathan ChesterMay 30, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Hi Aneet,

    Beautiful pictures as always,especially the one of yourself!

    Glad you're having a nice Memorial Day weekend. Here in New York, it finally warmed up. It's been so chilly here that the politicians had their hands in their OWN pockets.

    Didn't know you're half Danish! How about your Dad's side? Danish bakeries are incredible. Do you like the pastries? My favorite is anything made with Marzipan.

    It's amazing how California is like it's own Country. From top to bottom,it's so diverse. Looks like you're having really great weather too!

    Continue your weekend with fun, and safe home!

    Jon :)

  2. Jonathan, hello!

    Love that joke about politicians having their hands in their own pockets. That's a good one. I think Letterman would be interested.

    Pastries, oh my. Yes, I like them. The one pictured, the custard strip, was perhaps the best I ever tasted. It contained a wee bit of marzipan, the almond paste, which is a Danish specialty. And as for my Dad, he was from the Ukraine.

    I guess you could say that every state is its own country in a way. I've been here so long in the California sunshine, that I feel like a human version of an orange. And yes, the weather (today) is finally perfect. We shall see how long that lasts. The whole southern part of the state has been having windstorms for over a week. Sure hope your weather is dandy and that your having a great weekend too.

    My best wishes to you Jonathan, ~ Aneet

  3. Jonathan ChesterMay 30, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Aneet,that custard strip looks like it's about 9744 calories! How on earth do you keep that great figure?

    PS-Can you save me a slice?

  4. Jonathan,

    You're very close. The actual caloric count is 9743. I just had one slice (per day :)) If I lived in Solvang, I'm sure I would become slenderly challenged.

    I'm able to keep fairly slim due to the esoteric practice of "model magic." Actually, it's a small dash of will power and a high metablolism.

    On the custard strip: wish I could put a stamp on it and send it in the mail. Meanwhile, your rich imagination will have to suffice.

    Enjoyed your charming message Jonathan. Thank you, ~ Aneet

  5. Hi Aneet-

    Another great set of photos. The one of the fog rolling in below the hills is something out of a painting. I have a huge sweet tooth, and would probably gain 20 pounds if I spent a day in Solvang enjoying all those pastries. Of course the shot of you, well again I am reminded of those radiant shots from TPIR that would make anybody say "what refrigerator?". =)



  6. Joseph,

    Enjoyed your message. Glad you like the photos. The small photo of S.Y., beside the cascading roses, doesn't show well, but is worth a click or two. And yes, the sweets are irresitible in Solvang. While there, my belt buckle grew mighty tight. Your comment about the refrigerator was delightful and made me think you should do more writing. It also made me beam a wide smile.

    Sending my good wishes your way, ~ Aneet

  7. Hi Aneet!

    Thanks for sharing the photos. Safe travels home. Have a good week.


  8. Aneet-

    Those cascading roses are gorgeous. What popped in my mind when I saw them was the scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice comes upon the rose garden of the Queen of Hearts. It has a rather fanciful look to it. Also, great shot of that bull. I'm a Taurus, so I'm rather partial to bulls, even though I'm a sucker for a good steak. ;-)



  9. Hi Bitsey!

    It's always lovely to hear from You. Thought of you when I made this post, as you enjoy the local scenery. Hope your life is treating you well.

    My Fond Regards, ~ Aneet

  10. Hi Joseph,

    Yes, I see what you mean about the roses. And you are an earth sign. Perhaps that is why you enjoy nature so much.

    I ran into about 20 longhorns while walking in the S.Y. hills. They looked a bit menacing, but turned out to be quite docile and sweet. Once again, Joseph, your comment made me smile.

    Take Care, ~ Aneet

  11. Jonathan ChesterJune 2, 2011 at 9:40 AM


    Check this out! It's a thing on YouTube that has over 18 million hits already! I know you will love it the same way I did since we feel the same way about animals.

    Just go to YouTube and enter "Cat Mom Hugs Baby Kitten". It's only 1 min long but shows a baby kitten having a nightmare and it's mother hugging it for comfort. It's like nothing else I've ever seen. Enjoy!

    Jonathan :)

  12. Very precious! Thank you for sharing Jonathan.
    My Regards, ~ Aneet

  13. Hi Anitra,
    I will have to put Solvang on my to do list
    it reminds me so much of Europe.California is such a
    fantastic state.I must say YOU are stunning! so nice to know
    about your background.My Mother is a Spanish Beauty,and my Father
    is from Panama.My Sons are half Polish,and are quite handsome,my
    wife was born,and raised in Poland.I visited Kiev in the Ukraine not
    to long ago,and I loved it! I will be spending the Summer with my Family in New York City ,and its been so unseasonably In Rio de janiero,Brazil right now where its a cool 70 Degress.take care Roger

  14. Hi Roger,

    Santa Ynez Valley is beautiful, and Solvang is charming, but it IS a tourist town. I'm glad you like the photo of me. I take care to find diffused light :) I also enjoyed hearing of your background. Your family is a marvelous and beautiful mosaic of qualities and cultures.

    You're fortunate to have travelled and seen so much of the world. This experience creates perspective and wisdom. Glad you're avoiding the heat in Rio.

    Wishing you an enriching and fulfilling summer with your family in New York, Roger. And as I was told on the one summer I spent in New York City, and it helped a lot: "Be cool!"

    My sincere good wishes, ~ Anitra