Griffith Observatory

2023 California Vacation Part 2

posted in: Personal Essay, Photography, Travel | 0

Day Three (Saturday)

Our second full day in Los Angeles began with a return to Grand Central Market, this time for breakfast at Eggslut. Neither of us got the eponymous Slut (a cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette) but instead each got an egg sandwich along with sides of their Truffle Fries. Holly got the Fairfax (cage-free soft scrambled eggs and chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha mayo in a warm brioche bun), and I got the Sausage, Egg, and Cheese (house-made turkey sausage, cage-free over medium egg, cheddar cheese and honey mustard aioli in a warm brioche bun). Shortly after finishing my sandwich, I was hoping I would get another opportunity to eat there. Spoiler alert: I did.

Another item from Holly’s list from our previously cancel trip was going to Griffith Observatory. We took the subway to where we could catch a bus to the Observatory. It was an easy trip, although we had to share the bus with some high schoolers which made for a loud and crowded ride.

Holly had been there once during high school, but it was the first time for me. We were lucky we had a nice, clear day and had great views of the city and the Hollywood sign. We spent most of our time exploring outside, but we did take a quick look inside as well.

I had my Minolta X-700 with me with a roll of Kodak Portra 400. Having my MD 35-70mm lens with me was a good option for the variety of scenes I was shooting.

We caught the bus back to the subway and had a little time to rest in our room before meeting one of Holly’s friends from her Long Beach days. Since it was nice out, we went to the Broken Shaker which is a rooftop pool and restaurant. We had a nice lunch and a couple of beers. That was my first time meeting her friend, and it was entertaining listening to them catch up.

After another busy and exhausting day, we needed a simple dinner so we went back to Grand Central Market for a delicious meal at Ramen Hood.

Day Four (Sunday)

Our last morning in LA started well. Although we were enjoying our time there, we were eager to get to Carmel-by-the-Sea for the bulk of our vacation.

For breakfast, we went back to Grand Central Market and, yes, I returned to Eggslut for another egg sandwich (egg, bacon, and cheese). Meanwhile, Holly got a Hot Honey Salmon special from Wexler’s Deli.

We packed and then caught a Lyft to the airport. Since it was a Sunday morning, we didn’t experience the same kind of traffic we had on the way in. The airport wasn’t particularly crowded so checking in and getting through security was a breeze.

On the way to our gate, I glanced at the departures board to see if our flight was on time. Not only was it not on time, it was CANCELED! Shortly after that, we each got texts from the airline alerting us to the cancellation and letting us know they had booked us on the same flight the next day.

We went to customer service to confirm all this and see if there was any way of getting us to our destination sooner. There wasn’t.

We asked about our checked bags. They said the earlier flight to Monterey had been delayed and our bags made their way onto that. So our luggage was on its way, but we weren’t on ours.

Once before, we had a flight get canceled. We had gone to a wedding in Goleta, CA in March 2017. After the wedding and a short visit to Solvang, we drove to LA for our flight home. The weather in California was wonderful but there was a winter storm back in Philadelphia.

We made the best of the situation and spent a night in Holly’s hometown of Long Beach. Since we were on our way back to wintery Philadelphia, we didn’t mind that interruption to our plans.

We were not happy about this interruption, but we knew we’d manage since we this prior experience.

We had already planned, on our way home, to spend 1 night at an airport hotel, the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles, so, luckily, we had already researched hotels. Holly contacted the place we had reserved for our return trip and was able to book a room there. Meanwhile, I called the rental car place in Monterey and the Inn where we were staying in Carmel-by-the-Sea to let them know we’d be a day late.

We took the shuttle to the hotel. It was earlier than their check-in time but they were able to give us a room. We dropped off what little stuff we still had with us and then went down to the hotel restaurant, Costero Bistro and Bar, for lunch. The food was just OK but they had a nice selection of CA beers.

We hung out in our (rather nice) room for the afternoon before heading back down to have dinner at the hotel. Again, the food was just OK, but I’m glad we had already found a place with a restaurant and bar. Being at an airport hotel meant there wasn’t much around. We briefly contemplating taking a ride share for somewhere for dinner but didn’t have the energy.

Since we planned our trip around not having any connecting flights, we didn’t see any reason why we’d be separated from our luggage so we didn’t have much with us. Holly, at least, had some basic toiletries with her but I didn’t. Fortunately, the gift shop at the hotel sold some essentials. We also didn’t have a change of clothes. If nothing else, I thought I could get a clean t-shirt but they were crazy expensive. An LA Dodgers t-shirt was $62! Not having clothes wasn’t a big deal if we would be reunited with our luggage the next day. Needed to just hope that would be the case.

It certainly wasn’t the way we had hoped to spend the day, but I was thankful that we were able to make alternative plans relatively easily. As always, we made the best of a bad situation.

After our trip to Carmel last year, we decided we would have liked an extra day so we scheduled one this year. Never expected that would spend that extra day in a hotel by LAX!

Day Five (Monday)

After a perfunctory breakfast at the hotel, we were back on the shuttle to the airport. On the way, Holly got a notification that our bags were currently en route and then later got a notification they had arrived in Monterey. Apparently, they had not flown out the day before as we had originally been told but ended up on the earlier flight the day of our rescheduled flight. We could have had our stuff with us for our night at the airport hotel.

Again, the airport wasn’t particularly crowded. And no cancellation! Our flight was on time, and we arrived in Monterey 24 hours after we had planned, a little before 3 pm.
We weren’t sure where to go to get our luggage. We first waited by the baggage carousel (Monterey is a small airport so there is only 1 baggage carousel). We asked one of the baggage handlers who directed us to the ticketing area for our airline. We asked there and the staff member disappeared briefly before emerging with our bags!

Complimentary Wine from Svendsgaard's Inn
Complimentary Wine from Svendsgaard’s Inn

Then we picked up our rental car and headed straight for Svendsgaard’s Inn where we have stayed on each of our Carmel-by-the-Sea visits. When we got to our room, we found they had given us a bottle of wine! Not sure if that’s something new they started doing for everyone, but we suspect it may have been either because we are repeat customers or because we had our flight canceled. Regardless of the reason, it was much appreciated and a much welcomed gift.

We showered, put on fresh clothes, and relaxed before taking a short walk around town. Being back felt wonderful especially after the delay getting there.

We had dinner reservations at Cultura on Sunday night which, obviously, we had to cancel. They aren’t open on Mondays so we had to make other plans for dinner.

One place we hadn’t been to before and wanted to try was The Pocket. It’s a little off the beaten path (as much as anything can be in a 1 square mile town), and we weren’t even aware of it until we walked by it on our last day there last year. The menu intrigued so we decided to give it a try and were glad we did. We had a delightful dinner and sat outside on their patio which was a pleasant change from having our last 3 meals in an airport hotel.

To say we were relieved to be setting in Carmel-by-the-Sea would be an understatement. With LA behind us, we were eager to get to all the things we wanted to do in the area.

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