Saturday, 6 August 2011
El Camino Real
We arrived at the Fiesta this morning just as the main parade started and saw all manner of costume as we watched horse riders move through the town to the great delight of the large crowds.
Then, into the Santa Ynez Valley to wine country, to a small and deceptively sleepy ex-cowboy looking town called Los Olivos. The town's timber fronted properties have been used in a wide range of movies.
Stretched limos and open topped Hummers give the game away that this is now a well-heeled centre for the local wine industry and there are dozens of wine-tasting locations in and around the town.
Naturally we imbibed, as well as picking up some strawberries (the other famous Santa Barbara crop). Then onwards to Denmark, or at least an American version of it in Solvang, a small town founded in the early 1900s as a base for a Danish-style and somewhat free-format folk school.
Nowadays theres an obvious Danish influence with flags everywhere, busts of Hans Christian Anderson and a statue of the little mermaid.
The architecture is also quite Scandinavian, although the Belgian coffee shop, the Heidelberg Inn and the town clock playing "Frère Jacques" add a more general 'European' flavour to the proceedings.
When in Santa Barbara we'd also visited the Mission and we soon found ourselves back on one of the famous Mission roads, the El Camino Real, with its distinctive bell markers along the route as we headed back to the coast in time for a fine sunset.