There must be some joke in the fact that we spent part of our winter vacation in somewhere called "Santa" anything, but Santa Monica was a lovely surprise in its village-y charm. The weather was absolutely stunning, and we walked, biked, and bused through the streets in balmy 78 degrees.
California really lives up to your imagination, doesn't it? Whether you've pictured the skateboarders, the palm trees, the far-off mountains, the sunsets, the highways, the strip malls, or wide flat streets that go on for ages, it always lives up.
When living in New York or London, I've had hosted visitors that marvel that "it really looks like the movies". California is one of the few places where I have that feeling. And yet, it's a movie I like to visit more than inhabit permanently. It's like a dream you know is not part of real life.
Mr. Jones and I spent New Years with old friends, in a reunion with great food, and a midnight Austrian waltz to "The Blue Danube". We gazed at a few far-off fireworks over the beach.
We learned new traditions like this Feurzangenbowle. Of course there was none for me, but the site of it smoldering was certainly quite mesmerizing!
Also enchanting was the Bleigießen. I think everyone decided mine was a bird of some description, but there were also dragons, flowers, and lots of good fortune predicted.
New Years Day we put our feet in the sand and soaked up the cloudless sky.
Perhaps our last holiday before someone's arrival, it lovely to stare at the sea and wonder...
What's in store for us in 2012? Happy New Year, Everyone!