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Solvang and the return south

The delightful Danish town of Solvang, brush fire smoke and the infamous 'four-oh-five' freeway

sunny 32 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

The following day we continued our return south towards Los Angeles diverting slightly to stop for a couple of hours to look around Solvang. Solvang (translates as 'sunny fields' in Danish) was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes who bought a 9,000 acre (3,600 hectare) ranch next to the historic Santa Ines Mission in the Santa Ynez Valley with the aim of creating a Danish colony away from the severe winters they suffered in the US Mid West.

Classic street view of Solvang

Classic street view of Solvang


Entrance to the Old Mission in Solvang

Entrance to the Old Mission in Solvang

The Old Mission in Solvang

The Old Mission in Solvang

Solvang with its unique half-timbered architecture, colourful potted plants and 'little Denmark' ambiance has become a major tourist attraction with over a million visitors every year. There are several restaurants and pastry shops serving Danish specialities, a Hans Christen Andersen Museum celebrating his fables together with a copy of Copenhagen's Mermaid's Fountain and 1:3 scale copy of the Rundetarn (Round Tower).

A colourful Danish restaurant in Solvang

A colourful Danish restaurant in Solvang


The Solvang Rundetarn (Round Tower)

The Solvang Rundetarn (Round Tower)


The Mermaid's Fountain in Solvang

The Mermaid's Fountain in Solvang


Tivoli Square in Solvang

Tivoli Square in Solvang


Solvang Bell Tower

Solvang Bell Tower

However probably the biggest attraction are the town's Danish windmills; although we didn't see all of them I counted at least half a dozen on the map dotted amongst the town's streets. All in all Solvang was a delightful little town well worth the visit.

Close up of the Windmill on Alisal Road in Solvang

Close up of the Windmill on Alisal Road in Solvang


The windmill in Hamlet Square

The windmill in Hamlet Square


The windmill on Mission Drive is now part of a brewery!

The windmill on Mission Drive is now part of a brewery!

We then descended from the mountains back on to the freeway only to be confronted by the smoke from a large bush fire that threatened to block our route south back to Los Angeles. Because of the way the wind direction changes near the coast one minute the sky was relatively clear while the next minute there was a very distinct layer of smoke above us.

Brush fire smoke begins to darken the skyline

Brush fire smoke begins to darken the skyline


Brush fire smoke above Port Hueneme

Brush fire smoke above Port Hueneme


Brush fire smoke billowing in the distance

Brush fire smoke billowing in the distance


The brush fire threatens to close the highway

The brush fire threatens to close the highway

Fortunately the brush fire didn't cross the Freeway to cut our route back like it threatened to do at one point but we still had to travel down the notorious interstate 'four-oh-five' freeway to get through Los Angeles, the busiest and most congested freeway in the USA. What we had hoped would be a two hour drive turned out to be four hours plus with bumper to bumper traffic. Although little consolation while we were stuck in heavy traffic we did see the Goodyear Blimp (Airship) take off from close by the freeway.

Traffic jam on Los Angeles' infamous Interstate 'four-oh-five' Freeway

Traffic jam on Los Angeles' infamous Interstate 'four-oh-five' Freeway


Wall to wall traffic on the I405 Freeway going through Los Angeles

Wall to wall traffic on the I405 Freeway going through Los Angeles


The Goodyear Blimp takes off near the I405 Freeway

The Goodyear Blimp takes off near the I405 Freeway


The Goodyear Blimp

The Goodyear Blimp

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged churches california windmills danish missions mexican natural_disasters airship

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