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Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland, California

There's Mickey Mouse there. And Minnie and Donald and Daisy and Goofy. Then there's Winnie the Pooh and friends and of course Sleeping Beauty, Ariel and the curious creatures of Wonderland. There's music and food and rides and parades. It's marvelous and magical; it's fantastic and fun. I now get why Disneyland is known as the 'happiest place on earth.' 

It awakens the kid in you and lets that kid go play, literally. It makes you loosen up and get silly and just have a good time. That's definitely what it did to me and the people who were visiting Disneyland when I was there. 

Walt Disney and Mickey, Disneyland, California.
Walt Disney -- the man whose dream Disneyland was -- and his partner Mickey Mouse.

Just as most of USA was packing for summer holidays at the fag end of May, we made a quick trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. The holiday rush had started but the peak was not there yet. It felt like not so bad a time to be there. Or was it because we'd gone there prepared for the worst, I don't know. But we had a great family holiday spending two days at Disneyland Park and one day at Disney's California Adventure Park. 

I'm sure you've heard about Disneyland and what a delightful place it is. So I won't go into the details. But what I will do is give you a quick tour of 'the original Disneyland'; the only one that Walt Disney himself oversaw and even let himself be amused by.

Toon Town, Disneyland, California

Disneyland is where you put on mouse ears and rub shoulders with the Disney's classic characters and the newer additions to the Disney family. It's where you let yourself feel like you are a living a fantasy. For the adventurous, there are enough rides to get that adrenaline rushing, whatever level of adventure is your kind of thing.

What makes this place one of a kind is that there are a whole lot of attractions that are just right for you whether you are two or ninety two. Without further ado, let me give you a sneak peek at the 'very first Disneyland' with pictures from the TipsyFromTheTRIP travel album.

Come, see if this place really does look like the Happiest Place On Earth:

Main Street USA. Disneyland, California
Main Street at night. 
Does that look like it could be the 'happiest place?' Is Disneyland on your travel wishlist? Or have you been to any of Disney's parks as yet? What was your favourite attraction? I'd love to know.
Coming soon on Tipsy From the TRIP--

  • What to do in Disneyland with your toddler
  • Glimpses of Disney's California Adventure Park

Views from Mt. Diablo

Several Springs ago, we had driven to the top of Mt. Hamilton and seen Santa Clara Valley from a height of 4,200 odd feet. Then last fall, in what was like a follow-up trip, we drove up the same range, this time to the top of Hamilton's little brother Mt. Diablo, which lies further north of it.

Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Diablo are among the popular peaks of the Diablo Range that lies stretched east of the San Francisco Bay in California. The chain of hills that make up this range are not too high, so a trip to one of the taller summits means wide-angle views of the characteristic rolling hills of the range and the great plains that lie beyond it.

This drive to the top of Mt. Diablo was not  unlike that trip to the top of Hamilton: the highway snaking up the Diablo range through a series of twists and turns and serving us with panoramic vistas of the low rolling hills around it. On a lucky day,  I hear you can even see the more famous Sierra Nevada range, which lies to the east.

As we went further up, we were shown rooftops and treetops and eventually hill-tops and telescopic views of ups and downs and converging rivers. Here is a photo-tour of that scenic drive:

Views from Mt. Diablo
Taken somewhere on the way to the top of Mt. Diablo.

Views from Mt. Diablo
From a higher elevation.
Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo
A dell and some rolling hills yonder.

At one point we stopped to lay our eyes on Livermore Valley. I'll say nothing more about it; these pictures speak for themselves:

Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo
Livermore Valley.

Views from Mt. Diablo
Do you see Downtown Livermore?
The summit:

Views from Mt. Diablo
Our destination - the top of Mt. Diablo and the Summit Visitor Center.
Summit Building, Mt. Diablo
The Summit Visitor Centre, a structure built of stone is by itself one of the attractions at the top of Mt. Diablo.

Summit Building, Mt. Diablo

Mt. Diablo's Beacon

Undeniably, the biggest attraction here is the view. Here are the views from the top of Mt. Diablo, which is over 3, 800 ft in elevation.

Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo

Read about the 'linguistic accident' that might have won Mt. Diablo its name, here --

How Mt. Diablo got its name

Views from the top of the observation deck above the visitor center:

Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo
Look carefully and you will see the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. 

Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo

Views from Mt. Diablo
What do you think about the views from the top of California's Devil Mountain? Diabolic? 


Must do while you are  here-- 

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the almost- private picnic tables you find at by the side of the road that takes you to the top of Mt. Diablo. 

(From where we sat, we could see the stone building at the summit on one side and on the other, the Sacramento River just before it joined the San Joaquin River and some windmills near there. )


You might also like:
-- The views from Mt. Hamilton
-- The Patterson Pass drive (also on the same mountain range)

For more visual treats from 'viewpoints' click HERE.

Linking to
Our World

Mural, Pismo Beach

Mural, Pismo Beach

Mural, Pismo Beach

Happy Summer!!
 Linking to -- Monday Mural

See more Murals HERE

Road rules for the pregnant

Whether you are pregnant and 'have to' travel, or are pregnant but can't help hitting the road, let me tell you, you can do it; almost always. Just do it right.

Being in-the-family-way doesn't have to mean 'no travel.' It's just that you have to keep in mind the situation, take a little extra care and not do anything that will jeopardize the pregnancy.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was a apprehensive of travel. Barring a drive to Sacramento (from San Jose) I believe we did only a few short drives and day trips. The second time around, we were felt much braver and found ourselves doing some long distance travel, even driving through 3 states in a day. That meant over 900 miles and it all fared pretty well.

How to stay safe while travelling when pregnant

Here are some rules for the road:

1. Get your OB-GYN's 'Ok' 

Your health is important. So is that of the little human being inside you. If you are doing pretty well as the days go by, chances are you can do some travelling, provided you take good care of yourself, pay attention to what your body is telling you and don't do anything that will drain your system. You might want to talk to your Obstetrician-Gynaecologist and she/he will tell you how far you can go and what needs to be taken care of depending on how you've been doing along the way.

2. Be trimester-conscious

First trimester

If you are travelling when you are in your first trimester, you might want to take extra care. Check out the conditions of the road you will be taking. You might want to avoid bumpy rides around this time. Now first trimester might also mean morning sickness and aversion to food and all that.

Now if you have morning sickness, or your nausea plans to stick with you even though the first trimester is behind you, you might want to consider starting your day with Saltine Crackers or try using acupressure wrist bands* that arrest the nausea.

I waited to do long distances only after my first three months were done. But while those unpleasant days were still around, I did decide to ignore it all and go exploring local places. That way I had other things to think about than just about those funny sensations in the pit of my stomach. And believe me, I was a happier spending my days outside, with scenic roadsides, beaches and architectural marvels keeping me distracted from the unpleasant parts of the first trimester.

Second Trimester

These three months are supposed to be the best time for travel. That's what most people who've been there will tell you. You'll be more at ease with your status and most probably the morning sickness will be in your past. My doc called this the 'honeymoon phase' of pregnancy. So just have fun without forgetting to take care of your pregnant self.

Third Trimester

This is when you have to be prepared for the aches and pains and the false contractions. Drink lots of water (more in point- 4). Try not to travel far as you approach D-Day and make sure to listen to your body, very carefully. Look for all the signs that your doctor asked you to watch out for.  Be aware of the hospitals in the area you are travelling to.

You could even carry your hospital bag.

When I was in the 3rd trimester of my 2nd pregnancy, I tried not to venture too far especially because it was a high -risk pregnancy. And that meant I could not check into just about any hospital when labour pains called on me as there was a team ready with a list of things to do as soon as the baby arrived.  Since each one's pregnancy is different you might want to draw up a travel plan and an emergency plan that's right for you.

How to put on your seat belt when pregnant
3. Buckle up right

When you are on the road, remember your seat belt is still very important. In fact more important than ever. Have no doubts -- it IS safe for you to use those seat belts.

My (CA) driver's handbook -- I remember -- says that the shoulder belt should go across your chest and the lap part pf the belt, below that baby bump [Note: not above the belly or on the bump].

4. Drink lots of water: 

Don't ever forget to carry water. You have to keep yourself hydrated. And if you are in the last trimester, remember dehydration could trigger cramps and premature contractions. You don't want that ruining the trip/ drive.

5. Take some breaks along the way

If you are going on a long road trip, you could throw in a break every now and then. There's nothing like stretching yourself from time to time.

I remember, just as I was about to go on a long drive, I had a friend's family over for dinner. And her mother who is a doctor told hubby, "This time it is not about you even if you are the one who is going to be doing all the driving. This time it is about her. Stop every couple of hours and take a half hour break."

And that we did. We made stops at rest areas along the highway and I did some walking around. And that did me a world of good.

The first time we had to do over 900 miles, we broke the journey into two. We decided to stop at a 'place of interest' midway. We did some exploring at a (Volcanic) National Park, spent the night close by and then embarked on the remaining journey the next day.

Road trip rules for the pregnant

6. Restroom reminders

If you are in the latter half of the pregnancy, nobody will have to remind you about the breaks. With the baby's weight on your urinary bladder, the little one will be prodding you to go take a leak every now and then.

Now if you are on a long drive, you might want to keep an eye on the boards that tell you where the next rest area is.  We kept an eye on that and if we saw that we had to go through a whole mountain pass before we got to the next one, I'd make sure to hit the loo and only then settle in for the next long leg of the drive.

Carrying some just-in-case sanitary pads is not bad idea at all. Wearing one would be even better, just to be on the safe side.

7. Beware of germs

It is "okay" to let a little germaphobia get the better of you at this point. Use those disposable seat covers in public toilets. You could even carry your own.

Don't forget to sanitize hands after the bathroom breaks. The restrooms you trip to may or many not have hand soap. So make sure you've refilled your pocket-hand sanitizer.

8. One step-stool for the road

If your fingers and toes are prone to swelling, you might want to carry a step stool so as to keep those feet elevated. I did not have that problem but I carried one, just in case it happened on a long trip. After a good part of one long drive, I did try resting my feet on it and I must say, it felt more relaxed than it was when my feet were all the way down.

Travelling while pregnant?

9. Watch that 'back'

Carrying some toss pillows is a great idea. It just might turn out handy if you get one of those lower back pains that love visiting you while you have a bun (or two) in-the-oven. If your back aches are bad, you could try the massage pillows/lumbar pillows (for this again, you might want to check with your doctor if it is okay to use them.)

Much later along in the pregnancy, I was beginning to get sore from a long drive and trust me the seat warmer took care of the pain. If you have that option in your car, you might want to use it, or else you could buy a hot water bag for some relief from the pains.

10. Prepare for the worst

Don't forget to make sure you have your doctor's phone number saved on your cell phone, as well as that of your partner or the friend who will be travelling with you. Double-check your wallet to make sure you are carrying your cards and insurance information.

And it won't hurt to carry your hospital bag.

+ [Bonus Point] Indulge in massages
A pregnancy massages / Prenatal massage after a long road trip (or a short one) might be something you might want to consider. Your body is sure to thank you for it.

Once again, let me tell you -- if all is well and your doctor hasn't barred you from travel, you don't have to stop yourself from tripping. Go on a babymoon or just go hang out and enjoy your carefree time before baby comes. Those first few weeks are going to be about sleepless nights and messed up schedules and trips to the doctor and all of that. Go pamper yourself before that.

Hey and don't forget to carry your multivitamins. :)

Happy tripping!

[Once baby is home and you have settled into a new routine, you can hit the road again. I did just that. It turned out that we did a lot of moving around when our baby no. 2 was very little. It's not too difficult, honest. I have a few tricks and tips up my sleeve. I'm going to spill it all in a post, soon.]

*For accupressure wrist bands you might want to check out this post--
Seaband to the Rescue
We've used it for motion sickness. You can use it for 'morning sickness' too.

Danish pastries, Solvang

Just as popular as the Danish architecture and windmills, are the Danish pastries you find in Solvang. My visit to this small town in Central California turned out to also be a window into Danish food, too.

The Danish pastries are one of the attractions of this destination. While we were in Solvang we stepped into Mortensen's Bakery and Olsen's Bakery and Coffee Shop for some Danish deliciousness. 

Danish Waffle, Solvang
Danish Waffle
Danish pastries, Solvang
Apple Turnover

Danish pastries, Mortensen's Solvang
Pastries at Mortensen's Bakery.

Danish pastries at Olsen's Bakery, Solvang
Olsen's Bakery's baked goods

Danish cookies, Olsen's, Solvang
Meringue kisses and Danish cookies, also from Olsen's.

Danish cake -- Kransekage, Solvang.
Kransekage ( a traditional Danish cake) we got to taste at the Hans Christian Andersen museum.
I later saw them at Olsen's Bakery too. 
While we were there, we also made sure to get a taste some other culinary specialties of the Danes. When we lunched at 'Solvang Restaurant' we picked out these things from their menu:

Danish food at Solvang
Danish Hot Dog with fried onions, cucumber salad.

Danish food at Solvang
Danish sausage and Danish Meatball with Rødkål (red cabbage, Danish style).

Paula's Pancake House in Solvang is another attraction in the town. It's among the top of the top places to eat in this Danish Village. We couldn't leave there without checking it out and so just before we said farvel to Solvang, we had breakfast at Paula's. And weren't they the most delectable pancakes!

Pancakes at Paula's Pancake House in Solvang.

Pancakes at Paula's Pancake House in Solvang.

Pancakes at Paula's Pancake House in Solvang.

Linking to the meme:

If you missed the post on Solvang--

Solvang| A Danish Fairytale

For pictures from the road, Like/Follow Tipsy From The TRIP on  Facebook.
Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

These are some murals I found at the visitor center at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park in Big Island, Hawaii. 

These ceramic murals take us back to ancient Hawaii, bits and parts of Polynesian architecture and showcase the flora you see on the archipelago. 

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau is a place where ancient Hawaiians who had done the forbidden and those warriors who had fared badly in battles went to, to seek refuge. As such this place is also known as the Place of Refuge. It is located on the on the west coast of Big Island.

More about Pu'uhonua O Honaunau here -- Lessons in Hawaiian Culture 

Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau
Those could be the volcanoes of that Hawaii is known for. Could this part of the display be taking about the discovery of the island(s)? And the conditions that had to be faced during the discoveries?
Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

Other than those ceramic tiles, the center had these sculptural exhibits on the walls:

Mural at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

Architectural exhibits at  Pu'uhonua O Honaunau

Big Island exhibit at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau
Big Island and it's major volcanoes: Hualalai, Mauna Kea, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.

Linking to Monday Mural

Come, see more murals featured in this blog here -- MURALS


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