On Thursday we went to the Huntington Library and the Getty Villa with another couple we had met twice before in Pawleys Island prior to the cruise. The day involved three Uber rides of more than an hour each. Both drivers were very friendly and we chatted with them the entire trip. One driver was particularly interesting since he had moved here from our favorite city in Mexico (if not the world), San Miguel. We had a great time talking about life there. His father still works there in the fruit export business. His primary job is handling the importing of his father’s fruit into the US. One tip he gave us is that you should only purchase frozen mangoes in the US. By law, fresh mangoes have to be sterilized in hot water until the seed is hot. This ruins the consistency of the mango. Fortunately, mango is the only fruit whose consistency is not changed by freezing. The only thing we know for sure is that fresh mangoes purchased in Mexico are much better than those purchased in the US. We had such a good time with this driver that he decided to wait around until we finished our second museum visit and then take us back to the ship.
Our first stop was the Getty Villa. Getty had a home on the site, but built a museum to house his art collection when it outgrew his home. The museum is a replica of a villa excavated at Herculaneum, a town buried by Mount Vesuvius the day after it buried Pompei. This was particularly interesting as we visited Herculaneum several years ago. Today it houses Getty’s collection of antiquities. His art collection is housed in the Getty Museum at a different location which we didn’t visit.This is one of the courtyards in the Villa. Unfortunately, much of the Villa is being “reimagined”, as in reconstructed, so many of the galleries and gardens were closed.The pattern on this wall was achieved by using cut stone of different colors.My favorite part of the collection was the Roman mosaics. The lion is an enlargement of the bottom right hexagon in the top picture.
Our second museum was the Huntington Library which is a library, art gallery, and garden. We had about three hours here, but could have spent the entire day. As luck would have it, the first Thursday of each month is “free day”. You still must have tickets, and they must be reserved at 9 AM PST (noon EST) of the preceding month. I got on the site about two minutes before noon (using my atomic clock to ensure accuracy) and started clicking the link to the tickets. About two minutes later, I got on and was able to get four tickets. Our friends also tried to get the tickets and were unable to get on until 12:02 at which time the free tickets were all gone. Money can’t get you in on free days, so we felt very lucky.
And it was well worth the hassle of getting the free tickets as the library, museums, and gardens were all both beautiful and inspiring.We only had time to visit one room of the library, but it had such things as a Gutenberg Bible, a letter written by Lincoln, and the above Audubon book with life size paintings of the birds.The European collection is housed in their former home. Mr. Huntington was a collector of art, and Mrs. Huntington collected European furniture. The most famous painting in the collection is Blue Boy by Thomas Gainesborough.
The American collection was in a separate building and included paintings, quilts, furniture, and a temporary exhibit of Tiffany glass.
The gardens were the highlight for me.There were a number of different gardens. Above is the Chinese Garden.The Japanese Garden. This gum tree was in the Australian Garden. By this time we had been on our feet for nine hours except for the Uber rides, so we were riding in the garden shuttle. The driver said the bark on this tree is changing constantly so it has a different appearance each week she works.You all know how much I love unusual tree trees. This is a type of cedar tree.These pictures are from the desert garden.
We have left Los Angeles for seven days at sea. During that time I will post about our second day in Los Angeles and show you around our ship.