Treasures of Sierra Madre - Part 6 of 10

Returning to Los Angeles from Las Vegas, I felt a little unwell and soon realised that I was becoming a lot unwell. A flu bug had got me and there was no option but for me to take to my bed and miss Christmas. Gill managed to enjoy the wonderful Christmas feast our hosts had provided, but she too succumbed on Boxing day. We thus quarantined ourselves in our room until the worst was over.
Palms at Sierra Madre park.
A week later we emerged and began to recuperate with walks around our immediate surroundings - the charming suburb of Los Angeles known as Sierra Madre. Properly Sierra Madre is a suburb of Pasadena, which is a district of Los Angeles, and not so long ago it was all farmland and orange groves.
A rare sight in Los Angeles - a pavement (or sidewalk). Many of the streets do without as most people drive everywhere.
Today it has all the appeal of smalltown America, and by any reckoning is a great place to live. My only reservation - and it is not even as strong as that - is the preponderance of telegraph and electricity wires everywhere. Maybe it is the Spanish influence in the area, because the only place I have seen so many wires badly attached to buildings or draped across streets is in Mallorca. I'm sure many other places have this also, including at home in Scotland... just less aggressively perhaps.
All dressed up and no wire to go. No it doesn't make sense, it is just an excuse for a lame pun.
Lane leading from our accommodation to West Sierra Madre Boulevard.
A few colourful touches to provide atmosphere at 'Lucky Baldwin's' genuine English pub.

The Old North Church is a fine piece of Americana, but sadly, appears to be all locked up. It has the status (in American terms) of a listed building, but all the worshipping is done in a stone-built church across the road.
We managed to go to this church on the first Sunday after Christmas. It is a bit Tardis-like inside, with the inside seemingly much bigger that the exterior would suggest, but the fellowship there were very welcoming of their Scottish visitors.
Some of the Christmas trappings - references to snow; the North Pole; reindeer, etc. - seem oddly out of place in such a sunny environment.

By Christmas, the cold and rain that was troubling Los Angeles was working hard at moving on. Even so, the Los Angelinos considered this a cool day even for December...

...but I know of nowhere in the UK where we can grow oranges at Christmas!

A big event at New Year is the Annual Rose Parade. This is where Sierra Madres float was being made ready.

Understated, tasteful and in what passes for pastel colours in LA, the Sierra Madre float would have a tough time competing with all its brash competitors.

The birds are a nice touch - natural-looking and in no way over the top.


A cat's cradle of wires.
Most streets follow a grid pattern.
Novel Christmas decorations. (Still cannot get used to the idea of Christmas and all this heat).
Fascinating trees
The Old North Church again.
The whole area was orange groves not that long ago
Palm trees
I think we blundered into an episode of 'M*A*S*H'.

And just to prove that LA is not continual sunshine...


I may have given the impression that there was nothing substantially of the festive season about our trip to L.A. Yes, it was disturbingly sunny when seen against our usual experience, but we did get the occasional glimpse of something more familiar, as when we took a trip for an evening with friends of our hosts. We had a splendid time, an evening to remember because of such lovely and welcoming people.
We couldn't leave without taking a few photographs of their beautiful 'decorated for Christmas' home. These photographs are not of the best quality but will hopefully give you an idea.

We had many great experiences during our 'Big L.A. Adventure', but as is always the case with something truly special, it is the people who make it, who seal everything in memory.

We recovered from our bout of flu, even if only fully so when we got home to Scotland, but we still had a few treasures in store to enjoy in L.A., such as our trips to The Getty Museum, Huntingdon Gardens and Santa Barbara, as well as meeting a lady who had not only lived near our home in Kilmartin for a season, but knew several U.S. Presidents and had met Margaret Thatcher...

More to follow...


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