We kicked off spring break with two nights in Santa Barbara. My fiance had a job interview there on Friday morning, and it seemed ridiculous to go all the way there and not spend some time enjoying one of California’s favorite tourist spots. We had a good time, job interview aside, and I am about five minutes away from looking at apartments. If he gets this job we will be extremely pleased.

I elected not to bring my computer with me on the trip, so I was basically cut off from the internet (the exception being using yelp and googlemaps on my fiance’s phone). Is it a coincidence that I was also in a great mood for most of the trip? I’m going to go with “probably not.”

I did, however, forget to bring my camera, so despite my intentions of bringing back some vacation photos for everyone, you don’t get any. The camera on my cell phone is a joke, so I didn’t even bother taking any that way. But believe me when I tell you that there were many very beautiful sights seen.

The weather in SB reminded me much more of the Oregon coast than California. Our whole trip was cool and cloudy; I don’t think it got above sixty until late Saturday afternoon (when we were on our way home). It makes me a little skeptical of SB-native Katy Perry’s song about “California Girls” in “daisy dukes, bikinis on top.” I spent most of the trip shivering through my sweatshirt. Although I did see some girls at the beach in their bikinis, which sincerely confused me because I was freeeeeezing. I don’t know if seven months in the inland empire has just totally ruined me or what.

At any rate, we had a lovely time. Highlights of our trip:

Brunch Saturday morning at Cajun Kitchen Cafe, the walls of which are covered in well-deserved reader’s choice awards for Best Breakfast. They were pretty crowded (we got there about noon), but we were seated after only a short wait and the service was always fast. I love that they offer you coffee right away, and the coffee was delicious, too! The last few years I have been less and less enthusiastic about coffee, and nowadays I hardly drink it anymore, but I really liked this. They also brought out waters without being asked, which used to be standard everywhere, but isn’t anymore. I also had a mimosa (because Spring Break!) which was yummy. As a very thirsty person, I eyed my three beverages with hysteric glee. For breakfast I had the California Eggs Benedict (which is eggs benedict with avocado and tomato instead of ham) with home fries. I am not a big fan of avocado (too bad for me since it’s on basically everything in California), but I enjoyed my breakfast anyway. And the potatoes were awesome. Unfortunately it didn’t all sit perfectly well and my tummy was bothering me a little afterward. It occurred to me later that they may have fried the potatoes in bacon grease, which would definitely distress my stomach. But I don’t know if that was the case or if it was just the richness of the Hollandaise, since rich foods seem to be causing me problems lately. REGARDLESS: it was delicious and I would go back.

The old Mission Santa Barbara. As a newcomer to California, I’ve never visited a mission before – at least not a Catholic one. My hometown was founded by Methodist missionaries, and yes, I’ve been to the museum built on their old mill that has preserved some of their buildings (it was a serious contender for our wedding site, actually… which might have been amusingly confusing to our Californian guests, since it looks absolutely nothing like what they picture when they hear the word “mission”), but… well no disrespect to Jason Lee and the Methodists, but there’s no comparison, in terms of style and beauty. Mission Santa Barbara was just beautiful and well worth the five dollar admission. The highlight for me was the church, where Mass is still said weekly. It was gorgeous. The walls are washed with swirling colors and there are paintings lining the walls. Towards the back are two alcoves housing incredible sculptures. One one side are depictions of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare. On the other, a work that shows the risen Christ reaching his hand out to Mary of Magdala, who has fallen to the ground in wonder. I found this sculpture very powerful. Mary of Magdala is a meaningful figure for me personally, for a lot of reasons that I can go into in another post. That, combined with the excellence of the sculpture itself and how unnervingly lifelike the figures seemed, made the sculpture one of my favorite parts of the trip. After the fact googling reveals it to be the work of Bruce Wolf, but for some reason he doesn’t have a photo of the sculpture I’m talking about on his site (he has some different images of Jesus and Mary Magdalene up, but not the one from Santa Barbara – except as one of the random images that appear on the homepage).

Wildlife spotted while wandering the beach and lagoon trails around UCSB. Pelicans, ducks, snowy egrets (which, according to a sign I read, were hunted nearly to extinction by people who wanted to put their very beautiful tail feathers on hats. I don’t support the hunting of any species to extinction, but I bet those hats were very nice), and a wee little rabbit.

The one used bookstore I managed to make it to was a disappointment. Very small sci-fi section, and mass market paperbacks priced at $7. Sad day! There was a US third of The Handmaid’s Tale, which I considered but decided against.

I really enjoyed Santa Barbara. I wish we could have stayed longer, but by the time we made it back home we were both utterly exhausted and I have spent all day today sitting around doing nothing because I slept so hard last night I felt sick after. And we’ve had rain and wind all day, which made me literally howl “CALIFORRRRRRRNIA” at the sky. Because come on. Seriously?

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