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The J Paul Getty Center

A visit to the billion dollar art museum perched high up in the clouds above Los Angeles

sunny 22 °C
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The J Paul Getty Center is the larger of two locations of the Getty Museum, the wealthiest art institution in the world. It is a $1.3 billion no expense spared campus built perched on top of a hill overlooking Los Angeles. Having parked in the underground car park next to the Interstate 405 Freeway at the foot of the hill we boarded the computer operated tram up to the Getty Center Campus. At the top we arrived at the Arrival Plaza and climbed the steps up to the rotunda shaped Museum Entrance Hall past a couple of pieces of modern art.

The computer operated tram arrives at the Getty Center

The computer operated tram arrives at the Getty Center


Me at the bottom of the Arrival Plaza up to the Museum Entrance

Me at the bottom of the Arrival Plaza up to the Museum Entrance


Looking across the Arrival Plaza to the Upper Tram Station

Looking across the Arrival Plaza to the Upper Tram Station

The Getty Museum is funded by a trust (currently worth $6 billion) set up by the oil millionaire J. Paul Getty in 1953. The Getty Center specializes mainly in pre 20th Century European art and was opened in 1997 so the collection could be more accessible to Los Angeles. The views from its location on top of a 900 feet (270 metre) hill are stunning and on a clear day you can see both Downtown LA and the Ocean.

Bust of J Paul Getty in the Entrance Hall of the Getty Center

Bust of J Paul Getty in the Entrance Hall of the Getty Center


Looking back down to the Lower Tram Station and Interstate 405 from the Getty Center

Looking back down to the Lower Tram Station and Interstate 405 from the Getty Center


The view east past Century City towards Downtown LA on the distant horizon

The view east past Century City towards Downtown LA on the distant horizon


The view south from the South Pavilion of Century City and the Interstate 405

The view south from the South Pavilion of Century City and the Interstate 405

Entry to the Center is free and it is famed as much for its architecture and gardens as for the art collection it houses. We began our visit with an Architecture Tour where we were shown the finer points of architect Richard Meier's design.

Looking towards the North and East Buildings housing the Conservation Institute/Foundation from the Museum Entrance

Looking towards the North and East Buildings housing the Conservation Institute/Foundation from the Museum Entrance


Looking back to the Museum Entrance and across the Plaza to the Research Institute from the North and East Buildings

Looking back to the Museum Entrance and across the Plaza to the Research Institute from the North and East Buildings


The outdoor area between the South and East Pavilions

The outdoor area between the South and East Pavilions


Looking across the Museum Courtyard from the West Pavilion

Looking across the Museum Courtyard from the West Pavilion

The Getty Center is a campus and in addition to the museum includes buildings for administration, conservation and research. The museum itself consists of the North, East, South, West and Exhibition Pavilions located around the central Museum Courtyard. We started off by looking around a fascinating exhibition on LA Architectural Design 1940-1990 (which unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of) but then moved on to an exhibition of medieval manuscripts which reminded me of Trinity College in Dublin.

A couple of medieval manuscripts on display as part of an exhibition in the North Pavilion

A couple of medieval manuscripts on display as part of an exhibition in the North Pavilion


Paintings on display at the Getty Center

Paintings on display at the Getty Center

Included amongst the paintings on display were a number of iconic paintings. These included Rembrandt's The Abduction of Europa, Van Gogh's Irises, Degas' Dancer taking a bow and Reni's Christ with the Crown of Thorns. As you moved between the rooms you could appreciate how techniques have developed over the centuries.

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt (1632)

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt (1632)


Dancer Taking a Bow (The Prima Ballerina) by Edgar Degas (1878)

Dancer Taking a Bow (The Prima Ballerina) by Edgar Degas (1878)


Christ with the Crown of Thorns by Guido Reni (1637)

Christ with the Crown of Thorns by Guido Reni (1637)


Portrait of Louis XIV by Rigaud (1701)

Portrait of Louis XIV by Rigaud (1701)

There was an interesting collection of paintings of Venice that came from the period in the 17th/18th centuries when it was popular for wealthy British to visit classical Italy (known as the Grand Tour), buy statutes as souvenirs and adorn their houses in what became known as the neo-classical style. In addition to paintings the art collection at the Getty Center also included many rooms full of tapestries, French antique furniture and statues.

Entrance to the Grand Canal Venice by Bernando Bellotto

Entrance to the Grand Canal Venice by Bernando Bellotto


Tapesteries on display at the Getty Center

Tapesteries on display at the Getty Center


French French Antique Furniture on display at the Getty Center

French French Antique Furniture on display at the Getty Center


Statues on display at the Getty Museum

Statues on display at the Getty Museum


Model of a monument to Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers) by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1883)

Model of a monument to Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers) by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1883)

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged buildings trains museums california videos Comments (0)

LA Dodgers Baseball

Mexican themed party and then off to the ball game

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I enjoy watching baseball so I was excited to be invited to go and see the LA Dodgers play the Milwaukee Brewers at the Dodgers Stadium in Downtown Los Angeles. However beforehand there was the little matter of a 30th Birthday Party! Now I don't normally blog family get-to-togethers but this was a little different as it had a Mexican theme.

There were sombreros, lanterns and Mexican food of course (and the red plastic "Solo" beer cups that seem to be used at every American party) but what I had not seen before were pinatas. These are fancy papier-mache shapes normally filled with small toys or candy that a child normally hits blindfold with a bat until it breaks and then everyone dives in and grabs the contents spewed all over the ground. Being an adult birthday the toys and candy were replaced with tequila miniatures, party poppers and cigars!

Mexican themed party time and I'm asked to don a Sombrero!

Mexican themed party time and I'm asked to don a Sombrero!


Party Time - trying to break open the Pinata by hitting it with a bat

Party Time - trying to break open the Pinata by hitting it with a bat

A bit later on I was introduced to the quaint American drinking game of beer pong in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer on the other end with forfeits of drinking the beer until one side or the other clears all their opponents cups. We actually did quite well and finally lost in the final :-)

It's getting late - time for Beer Pong!

It's getting late - time for Beer Pong!


Me posing behind a cut-out at a Mexican Restaurant

Me posing behind a cut-out at a Mexican Restaurant

Partying done and after a good night's rest it was time to make our way downtown to the Dodgers Stadium for the game. On the way we drove past the Staples Centre home of the LA Lakers NBA Basketball Team and saw some of the skyscrapers of LA close up.

Making our way down the Freeway - Dodgers Stadium next exit

Making our way down the Freeway - Dodgers Stadium next exit


The Staples Center - home of the LA Lakers NBA Basketball Team

The Staples Center - home of the LA Lakers NBA Basketball Team


Skyscrapers in Downtown LA

Skyscrapers in Downtown LA

After a short wait at the barrier we had our first proper view of the stadium. We parked up in the enormous open air parking lot outside and then made our way to through security into the stadium to find our seats not far behind the Dodgers dugout.

In the queue for the Stadium Parking Lot

In the queue for the Stadium Parking Lot


Our first view of the Dodgers Stadium

Our first view of the Dodgers Stadium


View outside the Dodgers Stadium

View outside the Dodgers Stadium

Major League Baseball stadiums are always impressive and it was a bright sunny day in Southern California. Warning, now follows my attempt as a foreigner to explain Baseball! Baseball is a bat and ball game played between 2 teams of 9 players on a diamond of four bases. The pitcher throws the ball at a batter who has 3 attempts to hit the ball before running around the bases as far as he can while the other team tries to get him out by catching or tagging him or the base he is running to. Runs are scored when the batter gets all the way around or if he hits the ball out of the ground (a home run). Each innings lasts as long as it takes to get 3 batters out and the teams then switch sides with the game lasting 9 innings (or longer to get a result).

Our first view of the game

Our first view of the game


The Dodgers pitcher pitching at the Milwaukee Brewers

The Dodgers pitcher pitching at the Milwaukee Brewers


Close up of the LA Pitcher pitching the ball

Close up of the LA Pitcher pitching the ball

The Dodgers were pitching at the Brewers when we got to our seats with me wearing my newly purchased LA Dodgers T-shirt and carrying the traditional baseball match fare of beer, Dodger Dog and bag of unshelled peanuts. The Dodgers dominated the game with their pitcher Clayton Kershaw not allowing anyone to score against him while Carl Crawford batted 2 home runs. At the end of the 7th innings everyone stood up and had a stretch joining in the traditional corny song of Take me out to the ball game. The Dodgers went on to win the game 2-0 in just two hours, very quick for a baseball game!

The stadium scorerboard, the Dodgers are ahead :-)

The stadium scorerboard, the Dodgers are ahead :-)


It's the Milwaukee Brewers turn to pitch at the LA Dodgers

It's the Milwaukee Brewers turn to pitch at the LA Dodgers


Enjoying the game with my cousins wearing my new LA Dodgers T-Shirt

Enjoying the game with my cousins wearing my new LA Dodgers T-Shirt

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged beer california sport party videos mexican external_links Comments (0)

Road Trip north to Santa Barbara

Visit to Santa Barbara Pier, the Ronald Reagan Ranch Centre, the Old Mission and another winery.

sunny 22 °C
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I was then taken on a Road Trip north for a few days to see the sights of the Central Californian Coast. After overnighting in Port Hueneme we arrived at the popular tourist destination and resort of Santa Barbara with its main street (called State Street) bedecked in American and Mexican Flags.

Driving down State Street, the main street in Santa Barbara

Driving down State Street, the main street in Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara East Beach

Santa Barbara East Beach

At the entrance onto the Pier was the Statute of Three Dolphins erected in 1982; according to legend the dolphin is a cousin of Santa Barbara's early Chumash Indians and brings luck. Santa Barbara Pier and Stearns Wharf that it reaches out to were built by lumberman John P Stearns in 1872 and is the longest deep-water pier between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has been seriously damaged by fire and restored several times (most recently in 1998) but still has many shops and restaurants.

Santa Barbara Pier and Stearns Wharf

Santa Barbara Pier and Stearns Wharf


The Dolphin Statue at the entrance onto Santa Barbara Pier and Stearns Wharf

The Dolphin Statue at the entrance onto Santa Barbara Pier and Stearns Wharf


Driving onto Santa Barbara Pier

Driving onto Santa Barbara Pier


Looking back along Santa Barbara Pier from Stearns Wharf

Looking back along Santa Barbara Pier from Stearns Wharf


Looking back along Santa Barbara Pier

Looking back along Santa Barbara Pier

Ronald Reagan was The US President between 1981-1989 and his ranch (Rancho del Cielo aka "The Western White House") is located atop the Santa Ynez Mountain Range north west of the city. The ranch itself is closed to the public but there is a centre dedicated to his life on the ranch and love of horses just a short distance from the end of Santa Barbara Pier. Ronald Reagan had been o close to the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who had died shortly before our visit and there was a glass tribute case to her on the ground floor.

The Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara

The Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara


Photographic Portrait of President Reagan greeting visitors at the Reagan Ranch Center

Photographic Portrait of President Reagan greeting visitors at the Reagan Ranch Center


A piece of the Berlin Wall greeting visitors at the Reagan Ranch Center

A piece of the Berlin Wall greeting visitors at the Reagan Ranch Center


Tribute case to Margaret Thatcher in the Reagan Ranch Center

Tribute case to Margaret Thatcher in the Reagan Ranch Center

Upstairs there was an impressive multimedia desk illustrating episodes from Ronald Reagan's presidency surrounded by artifacts from his Ranch. The largest item on display was the Scrambler CJ-8 Jeep he used to get around the ranch but other things included his cowboy hat, saddle and boots along with the chainshaw he used to tidy up trees.

The large multimedia desk in the main gallery of the Reagan Ranch Center

The large multimedia desk in the main gallery of the Reagan Ranch Center


Ronald Reagan's 1983 CJ-8 Scrambler Jeep

Ronald Reagan's 1983 CJ-8 Scrambler Jeep


Ronald Reagan's Cowboy Hat and Saddle at the Reagan Ranch Center

Ronald Reagan's Cowboy Hat and Saddle at the Reagan Ranch Center


Ronald Reagan's riding boots

Ronald Reagan's riding boots

There was also the desk used for radio broadcasts to the nation during his presidency. It was from here during a 'mic' test that wasn't meant to be recorded Ronald Reagan made the humourous comment "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you that today I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in 5 minutes." Needless to say the Soviets were not amused!

Desk used for Presidential Radio Broadcasts from Ronald Reagan's Ranch

Desk used for Presidential Radio Broadcasts from Ronald Reagan's Ranch

The gem amongst the many sights to see in Santa Barbara however is the Old Mission (the first of five old missions I was to see in Southern California - for the record the others I went on to see were at San Luis Obispo, Santa Ines/Solvang, San Luis Rey de Francia/Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano). Established in 1786 with the church mostly rebuilt following an earthquake in 1812, it has over the years served at different times as the Cathedral Church for both the Los Angeles and Monterey Roman Catholic dioceses and as a result unusually for a mission church has a double bell tower.

My first view of the Mission at Santa Barbara

My first view of the Mission at Santa Barbara


The Sacred Garden inside Santa Barbara Mission

The Sacred Garden inside Santa Barbara Mission


An old ox cart on display inside the Santa Barbara Mission

An old ox cart on display inside the Santa Barbara Mission

Inside the Mission grounds there was an historic mausoleum used as the final resting places for many of the early Franciscan friar and founding family inhabitants of Santa Barbara with a further 4,000 Chumush Indians buried in the Cemetery Garden in the shadow of the old fig tree. The church has statutes to both Saint Francis and Saint Dominic behind the alter and is the only Californian Mission to have a crypt.

My first view of the Mission at Santa Barbara

My first view of the Mission at Santa Barbara


The Sacred Garden inside Santa Barbara Mission

The Sacred Garden inside Santa Barbara Mission


An old ox cart on display inside the Santa Barbara Mission

An old ox cart on display inside the Santa Barbara Mission


The historic Mausoleum within Santa Barbara Mission

The historic Mausoleum within Santa Barbara Mission

Attached to the Mission Church is also a small museum containing many paintings and a number of rooms recreating the life of the early Franciscan monks who lived at the mission.

Making our way through the old rooms of the museum at the Santa Barbara Mission

Making our way through the old rooms of the museum at the Santa Barbara Mission


Paintings on a Staircase at the Old Santa Barbara Mission

Paintings on a Staircase at the Old Santa Barbara Mission


Paintings of Franciscan Friars within the museum inside the Old Santa Barbara Mission

Paintings of Franciscan Friars within the museum inside the Old Santa Barbara Mission


Recreation of a typical Mission Kitchen from the time the Mission was founded

Recreation of a typical Mission Kitchen from the time the Mission was founded


Unique Chumash Indian altar constructed for the 1789 church

Unique Chumash Indian altar constructed for the 1789 church


The Old Mission at Santa Barbara

The Old Mission at Santa Barbara

We then continued north towards San Luis Obispo but not before stopping for some wine testing (known as a flight, see after going wine tasting in 3 countries I'm finally learning the jargon!) at the nearby Foley Winery.

The drive upto the Foley Winery near Santa Barbara

The drive upto the Foley Winery near Santa Barbara


Old tractor by the entrance to the Foley Winery

Old tractor by the entrance to the Foley Winery


Rows of vines at the Foley Winery near Santa Barbara

Rows of vines at the Foley Winery near Santa Barbara

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged beaches churches museums california wine piers missions mexican us_presidents Comments (0)

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