Danish Town, Santa Barbara, Malibu Hindu Temple and Artesia Indian Community

Day Five - Feb 18th
We left our hotel in Buellton at about 10:15 am, and thought about taking a quick stroll into the Danish town of Solvang where we had seen cute neighborhoods last night when we dined. Although we had many places to see ahead of us, I wanted to have a few photos for the memory. What ended up happening was that we actually spent almost an hour and half in Solvang’s beautiful shopping district. We were both amazed by its atmosphere. Cute little shops looking like little Denmark with lots of cheese and Wine tasting outlets. We actually learnt a few things about Danish cheeses and also go some Solvang history lessons. Bought some souvenirs and left town at about 11:45 am.

We saw some ostriches along the way to the Gaviota pass at an Osrich farm, but due to lack of time, we passed up the opportunity to feed them or buy any souveniers.

Gaviota pass offered us spectacular views as we approached the Pacific Ocean on 101 south.

We were now in the vicinity of Santa Barbara. The road was again hugging the ocean and mountains on each side of us. We did not stop in SB, but continued all the way to Malibu. Along the way we saw many places where land slides had left their mark. The houses looked cute.

Then we took an exit on 101 to go to the Malibu Hindu temple located on Las Virgenes canyon Rd in the Malibu Canyon. This Venkateswara temple has perfect location and because it was Saturday, it was open all day. Lots of people had come in, mostly Indian, but I overheard a French family sitting next to me at the shoe rack outside the temple as well. Must be a tourist attraction and the local people also seem to know about the temples location. I say that because I had stopped earlier to ask for directions at a local Coldwell Banker’s office in Thousand Oaks and they knew about the exact way to find the temple!!

We also ate some Prasad at the temple and left at about 2:30 pm. We then approached LA’s metropolis. Highway 101 turned into a huge freeway now and we followed it aroung the downtown buildings, changing to I-10 in Santa Monica. Then changing to 110 and finally onto I-5 and then I-710 and ending on I-605. As we passed through many towns and cities of LA, it gave us an idea of what its like to dive in LA. Amazing. We saw the HOLLYWOOD sign in the distance. We then took highway 22 exist on 605 and went back onto PCH to approach the beaches. Sunset was incumbent upon us, we now started looking for a nice place along the highway to sit down and enjoy the vista. Finally that appeared in the town of Huntington Beach. Nice beautiful beaches, and the sunset marked with many clouds. It was a little bit chilly to comfortably sit down, but, the we enjoyed it while we could.

We then drove back into the LA freeway system, on 91 freeway to Artesia, which has the Indian community shops. On Pioneer blvd, we felt like we were in Little India. We enjoyed shopping there and also ate wonderful Punjabi food at Ambala Dhaba. I had phugwara goat curry while Manjiri had chhole bhature, both of which were spicy and tasteful.

We left that area around 8:30 pm and reached San Diego neighborhoods around 10:30 pm. We had booked our hotel already this time, and it was outside the main city neighborhoods, in the town of El Cajon. In an effort to find it, we accidentally reached the US-Mexico border!! We didn’t venture to actually reach the border crossing because we didn’t bring our passports with us. But the excitement of actually seeing it was there. We may go there again on Sunday, just to see it in daylight.

We finally reached our hotel (Quality Inn again) at 10:30 pm an retired very quickly. Unlike all the other hotels, this one didn’t have fast internet. So I am writing this blog offline and then I will upload it when I have the chance to connect to the internet.

Today’s plan is to enjoy San Diego sights and then catch a flight late at night and reach Chattanooga early AM. We have been watching the weather channel and looks like CHA is experiencing some chilly weather, mix of rain and snow in TN. That weather may actually interfere with our weather plans. We will see.