40.000 Years Ago…

the area of and around Los Angeles did look a bit different than today and slightly different animals wandered around, eating each other on occasion. Like these two guys.

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A wonderful place for those interested in extinct Ice Age plants and animals is the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. These pits are a cornucopia of fossils for paleontologists and a fascinating place to visit for both adults and children. Nobody will be bored, because the whole place manages to give adults an interesting insight and overview of this period without leaving the kids bored to tears. Far from it. For kids this place is Heaven. Once there, one should not forget to visit one of the actual excavation sites and to spend some time in the atrium rainforest garden, which is a little hidden gem.

Union Station

Whenever I have the opportunity to show friends and visitors Los Angeles, I try to start at Union Station. This once was one of the major hubs for travels across the country, bustling with life, the destination for business travelers, tourists and many hopefuls who wanted to make it on the West Coast. Many, many fulfilled their dreams here, and to disembark at Union Station with its gorgeous architecture and beautiful decorations must have been a dreamlike experience in itself.

This all ended with the growing popularity of the car and air travel.

Today Union Station is alive again, against all odds. The buildings were not torn down (it was touch and go for a while), they have been restored to their former splendor. Just to sit for a while in one of the patios surrounding the main building is an experience in itself – peace and quiet reign, one can take a deep breath and relax before re-joining the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Or hop on a train. But that’s a different story.

The LA River

The story of the LA River is a long and varied one.

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The good news is – what once was a river and then became a sewer in a concrete bed is (at least in parts) being reclaimed by Nature.

On a stroll yesterday along a 2 mile stretch there was not only the usual lot of mallards, killdeers, moorhens, geese and cinnamon teals to be seen (the black necked stilts live in and at another stretch of the river), but also a white and a great blue heron.

The white heron was very happily engaged with fishing his late lunch out of the water (I assume his lunch was less happy being fished out of the river), the great blue one did what great blue herons are best at: he stood on a rock, not moving one little bit, letting life and the river float by.

A perfect afternoon was had by everyone (apart from lunch, I suppose.)

Space Adventures

You want to feel like Captain Kirk in “Arena”? Nothing easier than that – a few miles outside of LA you’ll find this:

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Vasquez Rocks.

This amazing rock formation has been used for the filming of many, many movies and TV series. To name just a few:

  • The Duel at Silver Creek (1952)
  • Radar Men from the Moon (1952)
  • Star Trek Original Series (Episodes 19 & 20) (1967) (plus other episodes)
  • Parasite (1981)
  • Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
  • Alien Nation (1988)
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
  • Army of Darkness (U.S. Theatrical Version) (1992)
  • The Flintstones (1994)
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
  • Hybrid (1997)
  • Free Enterprise (1998)
  • Roswell Season 1 (1999)
  • The Scorpion King (2002)