Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mission Inn and the Festival of Lights. Riverside, CA. December 10, 2011

I had heard about the Mission Inn in Riverside and wanted to visit for some time. I found out they have this Festival of Lights each year during the holiday season, so my friends and I went on a road trip this weekend to check them out.

The Mission Inn is a National Historic Landmark. We went on a tour of the hotel first. Unfortunately, they didn't allow us to take pictures on the tour so I missed out on lots of great photo ops. However, we learned a lot about early settlements in Riverside in the late 1800's, about Frank Miller's plans for the Mission Inn, and the history of the hotel. Some of the venues we visited inside the hotel included the Music Room which houses a 100-year old Kimball Organ, the Spanish Gallery, and the Ho-O-Kan Room that houses Miller's art collections from China and Japan. Because we visited on a Saturday, we only got a quick glimpse of the hotel's stunning chapel as there was a wedding taking place. I'd like to return and visit the chapel in the future.

After the tour, we went back into the hotel. Here's the beautiful hallway from a side entrance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

(REPOST) Rome, Italy. July 2008

My good friend Rasheed and his wife Andrea (married in Vancouver, Canada this July) are going on their honeymoon to Paris and Rome. After talking to Rasheed with my own travel tips for both destinations, it brought back fond memories for me. I'm reposting pictures taken from my 2008 Europe trip, starting with Rome.

I worked in Rome for a week. It was my second visit to this magnificent city. Although I didn't have much time to tour around due to my work schedule, I did get a chance to explore a few more places. I met this beautiful Italian woman and her son on our trip from Los Angeles to Rome. It took us almost 24 hours to get to Rome. Our first leg was canceled due to aircraft issue from LAX to Chicago. We then barely made it to our Chicago - London transfer, before moving on to Rome from London. They lost my luggage for a day when I got to Rome...what a travel nightmare!

This woman owns a clothing boutique in Rome and was visiting friends with her son. Here's us at the British Airways lounge at London Heathrow Airport before moving on to Rome.

I stayed at the then Hilton Cavalieri (now a Waldorf Astoria hotel). This hotel is situated atop of one of the seven hills in Rome. This is the view from my room!

(REPOST) London, U.K. for 23 Hours. July 2008

After working in Rome, I had a 23-hour layover in London before going to Amsterdam. As much as I love Europe, this was my first time in London. Although it was a quick visit, I'm glad I was able to return to London in July 2010 and spent a little more time exploring.

Here I come!

I took the Tube to Victoria, where I was spending a night. After I came out of the station, I was greeted by this Wicked production at the Apollo. I was so excited because I had just watched Wicked here in Los Angeles a few months prior. You can't see it in the photo, but I was actually hauling my luggage!

(REPOST) Amsterdam, The Netherlands. July 2008

I met this wonderful woman Vicky living in Amsterdam on MySpace several years ago. She and I became "cyber" pen pals. When I learned that I was going to be working in Rome in 2008, I decided to visit her in Amsterdam afterward.

I got in at 10pm and the sky wasn't completely dark yet.

The next day, I went out to explore and noticed the beautiful Westerkerk church. Dutch style is something completely new to me, and it's equally intriguing.

(REPOST) Brussels, Belgium. July 2008

I decided to visit Brussels on this trip because it was fairly close to Amsterdam. I arrived by train which took about 3 hours. I got to check out beautiful European countryside along the way.

While on my way to the hotel, I passed by the stunning St. Michel Cathedral and had to come see it right away.

In contrast to churches in Rome, churches in Brussels are in Gothic style.