Welcome to Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of travel stories, photos and personal opinions focusing on less known travel destinations. This is where you can also learn about culture, history, food and more, and hopefully get inspired, informed and engaged. I am an award-winning travel writer and passionate photographer living in Southern California. Growing up, Read More
This year’s unusually wet winter has been a curse in many parts of the United States, but not in California. After years of drought, California’s usually lifeless and arid-looking desert has been magically transformed into a stunning landscape of colorful wildflowers. This extraordinary desert ‘super bloom’ is something quite rare in this barren area. Most of the time, California doesn’t get enough rain, so desert blooms are usually small or inexistant. But this year the desert looks like it has been painted with with color. There is yellow, purple, red, blue and even green in the brown desert.
Living in Southern California means being part of one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cultural landscapes. From visual arts, home decor and fashion, to music festivals, opera and jazz, you get a wide variety of events that can keep you busy year round. Among these cultural events there is one that often passes unnoticed, despite its 85 years of continuity and absolute uniqueness: the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters at Laguna Beach. Most visitors of California come to Laguna Beach for the beautiful beaches, fancy boutiques, art galleries and great restaurants, but very few ever heard of the living pictures, a live performance that takes you can’t see anywhere else in the world but here.
It all began the early Depression years when the small art town on the shores of the Pacific was doing pretty poorly. 1932 the community began looking for ways to attract visitors to Laguna Beach and possibly interest them in buying art from the local artists. A festival of arts with a parade was proposed, all in support of creating a place where the local artists could sell their art. Read More
The Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, is an annual tradition in Pasadena, California, that takes place every year on New Year’s day (or on Monday, January 2 if New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday.) The event was started in 1890 by members of the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club who wanted to showcase California’s beautiful winter weather. “In New York, people are buried in the snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let’s hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise” they said and this is how it all began. The Rose Parade is one of the most awaited events of the year and is watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators from all over the United States, either in person or on multiple television networks. The parade includes flower-covered floats, marching bands, and equestrian units. The day before the parade, the streets and the neighborhoods on the route of the parade are sealed off and reserved for the marshaling floats and bands. Read More