An Artful Journey, California, Marvelous meals

The first day of my next half-century!

Here I am at Great Bear Coffee in the lovely little town of Los Gatos, California, celebrating my 50th birthday all by my magnificent self! It has pretty much been raining since I got here, but I came armed with a good raincoat and an iffy umbrella that tends to blow out in the gusts. I forsook a purse for a small backpack to tote around my laptop and camera and the few other necessities for the day.

I flew through unusually warm weather over the United States, but Illinois was still covered in snow. Although the flight from Chicago to Denver was packed, I got lucky on the other two flights and had two and three seats to myself, allowing me to catch a little sleep. I looked out the window a lot this time, something I don’t usually do because of a tendency for motion sickness. The terrain fascinated me. I didn’t take photos of the farmland much, although I loved the patterns of squares and circles and textures. However, the farmland in central California was disturbing. It appeared so humanly constructed. There were hardly any trees and each stream seemed to be carved by human hand into the landscape. I may try to photograph it on the way back.

The Garden Inn in Los Gatos is very nice and I would definitely recommend it on the basis of my one night here. Reasonably priced and in walking distance of many shops and restaurants. Here’s the courtyard, and an idea of the weather I’m dealing with.

There are palm trees here – I didn’t expect that, because I thought I was farther north. I hear that there will be redwoods where I am going tonight in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I’d love to take a hike along the creek trail here but it looks really muddy.

Yesterday I stopped in a shop that had a lot of beautiful imports from Africa and Asia. I wanted a piecework blouse that looked beautiful on me but the shopkeeper only took cash or checks, and I didn’t bring much cash and no checks. I didn’t think that there were places left that weren’t set up for credit and debit cards! I did buy a nice light mudcloth scarf. Her prices were so low on those that I felt a little guilty. She took the cash and said that she would pay the sales tax so I guess that she’ll report it stolen! Oh well, that’s her business, I guess. We all have our little ways to rebel. If I can find an ATM I might have to go back for that blouse.

Then last night, I was so tired that I almost skipped dinner, but made myself go out to a little Italian place across the street named “i gatti.” So clever a name for an Italian restaurant in Los Gatos! I hoped that they might have a t-shirt for sale but they were much too nice a place for that – they were a locavore place. I sat at the bar and had organic roasted beets with a crispy Manchego cheese wafer, microgreens, and candied nuts. Best salad I’ve ever eaten. I was too beat to eat a heavy meal. Since that was so good I figured that they would do a good job with tiramisu. I’m spoiled with tiramisu because we learned to make it at Spannocchia in Italy and there has never been a tiramisu since that has come close to being so delicious. This one came pretty close. The bartender was friendly so I didn’t feel weird or lonely. Then I went to bed at 8:30, woke up at 4:30, but managed to go back to sleep until 6:30, so I hope to be on a Pacific time zone schedule today.

I have to go back to the hotel and check out at 11:00, but I’m leaving my luggage there since my ride is picking me up there at 3 p.m. Until then I’ll be roaming around in the rain and stopping to hang out in coffee shops. I find it funny that I have not found a book store, used or otherwise, yet. I usually make a beeline for those. My quest today will be to find a fibers shop and the Trader Joe’s.

Hopefully I will be able to blog the art retreat if I am able to get a connection. If not, you can assume that I am having too much fun to mess with the computer.

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