Union Station - photo by Sharon, 1-4-12
The lazy days between Christmas and the new year were fading fast and I thought, "I need to do something out of the ordinary before I go back to work."
I've always wanted to ride the Gold-Line, because I love trains. Actually called a "light rail", the Gold Line runs from Pasadena through downtown East Los Angeles.
Why not go to lunch in Los Angeles? I found two good friends, Terry and Sunny, who were up for the adventure.
The train, hanging by wires, floated along in gentle fashion stopping and going to let passengers on and off. We wound our way through Old Town Pasadena, then turned and headed toward Los Angeles. It wasn't long before we stepped off at Union Station.
The station opened in May 1939. It was built on a grand scale and became known as "Last of the Great Railway Stations" built in the USA. Although the neighborhood around the station is a bit shaggy, the station has aged gracefully, and one easily notices its beautiful architecture.
I particularly liked these windows.
The station has served as a backdrop for many films including The Italian Job, Silverstreak, The Island, NCIS: Los Angeles, to name a few.
The Christmas tree was still up.
We emerged from the station and into the streets.
It was a quiet day...not too many people around except the locals.
We stopped in the square to survey the area.
Terry hams it up for the picture.
"Okay...we've had enough pictures."
Terry and Sunny crossed the street. I got stuck in the middle trying to get a photo of Los Angeles City Hall and the old buildings. City Hall was designed by some of the same architects who built Union Station.
Where'd Terry and Sunny go? I found myself on Olvera street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. The city was actually founded on a site southeast of this street in 1781 by a group of Spanish pobladores (settlers), consisting of 11 families. The street, a tourist attraction has many historic buildings and looks like a romantic vision of old Mexico. Small vendor stands with assorted trinkets line the street, colorful pinatas sway, and over-sized sombreros rest next to colorful Mexican pottery.
I trotted past some hanging puppets and spotted Terry and Sunny beyond the stuffed donkeys heading towards a restaurant.
Sunny was saying, "Oh it smells wonderful! Let's go in here!"
After having our fill of toastadas and enchiladas we lingered and talked until the sun drifted low, casting it's golden light across the sidewalk reminding us that we better head back to Union Station before dark.
The train approaches (left side of picture) We climb on and wind our way back toward Sierra Madre.
Near the end of the ride, the train drifted to a stop, and we quickly gathered our things and stepped off. The train took off again, and we dreamily watched it head off into the distance.
Then someone said, "Oh no! This wasn't our stop!"
Sure enough, we had gotten off the train too early. We were now stuck on raised island in the middle of the freeway. Traffic rumbled on both sides of us. Sigh.
At least the sunset was entertaining.
Fifteen minutes later, another train came by and picked us up.
Back at our home station, we climbed the steps to our car which was parked on the roof of the building. I spotted my son's workplace, "Bed Bath and Beyond".
And here is another shot looking east.
We climbed in the car and peered through the Eucalyputus trees at the orange sky. And we knew it had been a great day!