Archives for the month of: August, 2008

We left St. Moritz by way of an extremely steep and twisty mountain road. Driving down Alpine switchback roads in a giant tour bus gets the heart pumping at 8am.

We made a comfort stop in Chiavenno, Italy and had time to see the old city and bridges over the river. We stopped at Menaggio on the shores of Lake Como and sat by the water – it was so beautiful; no wonder George Clooney owns a home there!

By lunchtime we arrived in Lugano, which is in the Italian part of Switzerland. We had lunch at an outdoor restaurant in the main square. Aunt Pat, Amy and Laura ate at the restaurant the last time they were in Lugano and recommended it for the pizza and people-watching. After lunch we walked around the city streets and down the lakeshore to the Parco Civico. The gardens were breathtaking and the view was perfect.

Before dinner we rode the cog rail up Mount San Salvatore. The ride itself was fun, but the view once we got to the top was amazing. We could see almost all of Lake Lugano spread out below us. A small church said atop the mountain, just a short hike up from the main observation area. Then you could climb up on the church’s roof too. The view was worth it, but the Biblical-scale swarm of big black flies on the roof meant we couldn’t stay very long.

After dinner Amy, Mom and I walked from our hotel in Paradiso around the lake back to Lugano. We saw the bust of George (Giorgio!) Washington, a neat rhino sculpture and beautiful views of the lake and surrounding cities lit up at night.

i can’t decide which is my favorite – on mcsweeney’s, naturally.

came home after long day of shopping (bought awesome dress for arden’s end-of-year party), eating (korean place in the mall, yogurt from boba loca), laying out by the pool and driving (los feliz exit backed up, find a parking spot). after unpacking the day’s spoils i relax with tivo’d ‘burn notice’ and my favorite couscous salad from trader joe’s. then – an error in judgement regarding balance. and…couscous everywhere. EVERYWHERE. a rain of delicious couscous all over me, the floor, the ottoman, the couch. it’s in my hair. it’s stuck to my feet. i freeze in shock then stare at the floor where most of the couscous detritus has settled. it’s a pretty big pile. briefly consider eating a couple mouthfuls; you know, the part that has only touched couscous and hasn’t touched the floor. file idea away under ‘embarrassing things for roommate and possible guests to walk in on’ and ‘possibly unsanitary’. clean up couscous with paper towels and omop, hoping that the lime juice will at least condition the hardwood floor, so it isn’t a total loss. weep quietly.

I declare the great cinnamon roasted potato experiment a success!

This was by far my most memorable experience from the trip. In Pontresina we took an hour-long open-air horse carriage ride through the Roseg Valley up to a restaurant with views of the Roseg Glacier. I cannot emphasize how crisp and fresh was the air; a welcome change from the tour bus and completely exhilarating.

Our route followed the beautiful stream that originates at the glacier, and we saw a lot of alpine walkers and cows. Each cow wore a large bell and the sound of the herds carried throughout the valley. At the top we had a beautiful view of the Roseg Glacier and ate heartily at the restaurant/lodge.

After a relaxing ride down the mountain we drove on to St. Moritz and checked into our ritzy hotel. We took the afternoon to walk down to the lake and watch the sailboats. We looked in the expensive shops, saw a line of Rolls Royces, and I bought myself a birthday present – a Swatch with cherry blossoms on the strap. Then we had a few glasses of wine in the lounge before dinner, as was our custom on this trip!

Happy Birthday, Aunt Pat!

We drove through the Iselsberg pass at approximately 6000′ to the Italian border. We made a ‘comfort stop’ at the Iselsberg Cafe where we had a gorgeous view of the Dolomites. We lunched in Cortina, the Olympic skiing resort in the Dolomites, where we wandered through a clothing and produce market. Then we drove on to Innsbruck via Lake Misurina and the Tyrolean Alps. Lake Misurina was lovely – clear and a beautiful blue.

In Innsbruck we went to the Swarovski Crystal Gallery and saw the beautiful Tord Boontje installation – a winter wonderland of crystal, cut paper and light. We spent some more time sightseeing around Innsbruck and saw the famous Golden Roof.

did i really just suggest ellen could pay me by giving me “some one-on-one time” with her cat? did i actually say that out loud? yeah. yeah i did. help.

live dinosaurs (brought to you by the magic of robotics) at the LA natural history museum!!!!!!! is this still available to see? does anyone know?

best part of video: when a dad urges the t rex to eat a kid, “just one”.

yesterday in brief:

  • morning: go for a run around the neighborhood. discover the pretty houses north of franklin and accidentally stumble upon the barnsdall art park when i’m jogging down new hampshire and see a big staircase ahead and wonder where it goes
  • noon: walk to skylight books to check out their expanded store. buy a new release of jason’s early comics (YAAAAY), DMZ vol. 3 and the ‘walking LA’ book i’ve been wanting for awhile.
  • cool off at home (longer walk than i thought and hotter out then i thought) and flip through ‘walking LA’. discover that the los feliz walk includes…the barnsdall art park!
  • drive to arden’s place downtown and then head to LACMA
  • all streets to the north of LACMA are closed. wtf is going on? is there a dinosaur on the loose? finally, almost by accident we make it to the page museum parking lot where we discover a bunch of booths set up on the lawn. see signs for the underwear affair 10k run/5k walk and the lightbulb goes on re: street closures. we grab some free infused tea and clif bar samples.
  • ride the awesome huge elevator at BCAM, then head over to the photography exhibition. see santino rice. see the japanese pavilion and spend a lot of time in the netsuke gallery. conclusion? bring back the inro.
  • on the way to the car, realize that the race wasn’t over, it was being set up. now there are people in costume everywhere! tons of photo ops and great energy in the air.
  • drive to culver city and at arden’s friend’s recommendation, eat at beacon in the art district. it is amazing. peach infused sake, dessert bento box, green tea soba noodles with the most delicious shrimp i’ve ever had. definitely will be going back.
  • skip across national to the scion/giant robot gallery opening for insiders, outsiders and the middle. the art is fun, the dj is good and the giant paint-by-numbers is pretty fun.
  • drive back downtown and spend the next few hours helping arden plan her artwalk photography show. it’s going to be fantastic and i’ll post more info about where exactly she’s showing when i get the details from her.
  • collapse into bed and manage to read a few pages of goldfish before i pass out.

today: return items to crate & barrel, home depot, target. get groceries. see ‘barbarella’ at cinespia with arden and klaus. hopefully find out that ‘mad men’ disc 2 is on the way.

arden and i were at LACMA checking out the philip lorca-dicorcia photography exhibition when i heard a familiar voice behind me. hmm sounds like santino, i thought to myself. but surely it can’t be him. i turned around. holy crap it IS santin—good lord he’s tall!