Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hiking in Santa Monica mountains with the Caltech group

Mimine and I are not great walkers, but we recently had the opportunity to do a walk with my working group and take the opportunity to share this experience with you!
A way that scares...

The tour was organized by a handy site This site allows you to find different rid depending on your location and your level. So it proves quite handy for those who, like us, want to walk without much knowledge of the area.
The appointment was scheduled at 9 a.m. close to the foot of the mountains. For the record, the highway exit that we had to take was closed, and as usual on California roads, you are warned ... at the exit .. , this plus some navigation errors ... (Why does the GPS always display the names of roads instead of directions? when it told us "Take 110 towards Pasadena (...)", we headed to Pasadena ... then find that, in fact, the entire instruction were "Take the 110 towards Pasadena/Santa Monica to Santa Monica" .... ) . Brief after half an hour of wandering, we were back in Pasadena! Time to turn back, knowing that it takes about half an hour to get there, I can tell you that we made ​​a grand entrance!

Well, except talking about our schedule problems, we will also give you some practical information:

- Plan to arrive early, even if there are some corners of shadows, it is very fast very hot!
- Even if it is cold in the morning, no need to take a sweater as Mimine, otherwise it quickly becomes cumbersome !
- If, as Mimine, you are a little blonde yomping in California, and the sun is not your best friend, remember to take with you water, a hat, plenty of sunscreen and a Jibouille to carry everything (especially if you add the sweater in the morning ...) .
- You can park in a parking lot (blue dot on the map). To pay, simply return to the entrance and put the money in an envelope with the plate number registered.

Now, place to pictures!

We not see the picture because the sea was very foggy, but the ride, there are lovely views over the sea.

During our trip, we saw some interesting houses having their own private pool of course, but also their tennis lessons or private basketball, which is less common (see photo below).

House with personal tennis course (and pool of course!)
Swimming pools and tennis courts is good, but it was mostly there to enjoy nature, and we were well served. We saw (almost) a large lizard, probably used to people, because to get the idea to be in the middle of the path, you must love to be observed. (Yes here, even lizards are a bit like Hollywood actors and attract attention of the paparazzi ...)

A Hollywood lizard (sorry for the blur)
After the ride, we went for a well deserved meal in the Santa Monica commercial center. This is a chic and modern shopping center (see photo below) which is 2 minutes from the beach and therefore offers stunning sea views.

Commercial center where is located the restaurant Zengo

Seats to rest. Design, isn't it?
When our whole group landed, sweating and dirty in the restaurant, so we did fit with the decor ... ;-) Fortunately, the restaurant (Zengo ( had anticipated (or our boss, I do not know!) and we had a room reserved for us.

The interior of the restaurant
The outside view
The waiters brought us a multitude of different fusion dishes Latin-Asian (very good by the way - You can find more information in the Guide des restaurant) and we have tested plenty of food. Moreover, all of this was offered by Caltech, so it was really cool! This is totally different comparing to France where I have to pay my meal, or bowling party "Porte de la Chapelle" during the afternoon for Mimine!!!

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