At the end of October my partner and I got engaged in Hawaii and since then our lives changed. As a small treat to celebrate, we took a quick trip up north to a tiny town called, Solvang, in California. The Dutch village is home to many European attractions, and an ostrich farm which was mind blowing - more details to come. Him and I are fastened to our jobs; I have been working in hospitality since I moved back to Los Angeles when I graduated college back in 2014. And while I was studying for my graduate degree, it was cocktail serving that helped pay my rent, and work with my awkward schedule as a student, dog mom, and social butterfly.
I haven’t had time to travel much because of my anxiety and being in school my whole life. For him, traveling has been a passion since he had the means, and he’s been all over the world, and his passions in business have all been towards gearing up for a life of travel. When we met at the bar we both work at, we discovered we both shared a passion for exploring the world, even small cities which might not be on everyone's radar. The memories we share from our travel adventures will last our lifetime. We both feel that everything we do while traveling changes our perspectives of the world, giving us global knowledge, and more mindfulness. From food and drink, exploration, relaxation, weather, and sky, each city we’ve been to has been interesting in its own way.
I booked the room as a secret Christmas gift for my partner because he had mentioned the town to me once on a date; He wanted to go there but didn’t know when. The timing was perfect, and we could go for one Sunday night that we were both off work at the bar. Although Solvang is small, it had so much to do, and the nearby lakes and mountain roads make me nostalgic for a summer I never had and had only read about in classic literature.
We stayed behind the main road at the Wine Valley Inn and Cottages where each room has a small table to enjoy a glass of wine, and a nice garden outside. It had cottage options which ranged for many family sizes. Once we settled in, him and I went off to Ostrich Land USA which is one of my favorite animal associated places in the world - besides Alligator Alley in Alabama which we drove to once on a random road trip from South Beach Miami to New Orleans Louisiana. Ostrich Land reminded me of my human origins, staring into the eyes of these great beasts I felt small - as seems customary with me on my travels. You get to feed the birds, but watch out.
Hungry after our 2.5 hour drive and a small prehistoric adventure, we drove back into town and parked the car. We walked a block to Petros and ate some pasta and enjoyed some wine. I enjoyed more wine, and more wine, and more wine while my partner who doesn’t drink as much as I do, enjoyed sips off my glasses. What I did not realize or connect until that moment was that Santa Ynez, home to many delicious wines, was right outside Solvang, and that everyone here was a big drinker. Wine tastings began at 10 am, or earlier, and rosy checked danish women and men roamed around Copenhagen st. while tourists of all origins enjoyed a small vacation with a big glass of red or white.
Though slightly tipsy, we made our way around town, checking out all the small adorable shops, the street musicians, the danishes, the danishes, and the danishes. One of the wine tastings I did was so excellent I got a bottle of the Merlot to bring home to my mother, Sevtap. Arturo was this charming Turkish man, who told stories, gave educational lessons, and cool historical facts. He named his bottles poetically with his son and family in mind, and as they age, I hope his family ages well.
After being honest and good drunk, we walked over the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and Bookshop and explored the rare books collection. I am a bibliophile and my partner is Eastern European, so we had a great time scavenging through the museum. Even got ourselves a rare copy of some of Anderson’s short stories.
To soak up all the wine, we walked over to the Solvang Brewing Company to eat some burgers and sausages, where I had just one or two more glasses of wine. We may not have needed to hit to Copenhagen Liquor and get a bottle of Jägermeister but it's our party bottle of choice.
Nothing kills a hangover faster than a fresh danish and some hot tea, the next morning we had to head back early to get our dog from my moms, and beat traffic. Driving home was not so bad, and we got through the mountains with no problems. Lake Cachuma was a gorgeous piece of land which I regretfully could not enjoy as much, but it's not so far and I can always go back. We made a few stops in Ventura County at some of our favorite boutiques to check the seasons selection, then headed home to Los Angeles.