When we were thinking about what we wanted to do on this little L.A. vacation, a lot came to mind of what we didn't want to do:  theme parks, tightly regimented schedules, and mudslides. Something that was definitely top of the list of what we HAD to do was a visit to The Getty Center, not only for the important works of pre-20th Century art that live there, but for the gorgeous architecture of the building itself and what surely must be the most impressive 360-degree views of Greater Los Angeles there are to be had. We spent almost five hours there today, still didn't see everything there was to see, and I am left really almost speechless by how incredible it all was. This place is a real Billion Dollar Baby, and feels like it is worth every penny of it and more. Oh, it is so beautiful. Did I mention that it's also FREE admission? Oh, my. Anyway, here's a few representative photos of the day.

On the way to the Getty, I snapped a quick grammar fail.

We made a quick stop at a Starbucks to grab a coffee, where I dodged a crazy dude digging in the dumpster behind. He was wearing a lime green wig and a fedora and was chatting up a storm. I doubt he would have been interested in my excitement over going to the Getty. We made it there after a leisurely saunter on the busy L.A. roads, and waited for the tram to take us up the hill to the museum.

Wow. I can't say enough about how jaw-dropping the buildings and grounds were; every bit of the design flowed perfectly, inside and out. It was grand without being ostentatious, cool without being cold, with a deep respect for natural materials and the incredible beauty of the surrounding land. You felt like you were somewhere important. And you were.

Off to the Impressionists first. Now, I am no art critic. You can tell because all I could think of when I saw these were, "mmmmm...Muffin Huts," and "Manet? Monet?" and "that dude is missing a leg" and "whoa, I think we had that print with the boats above our sage-green couch in the '60s, I should ask Mom." Maybe it was the coffee kicking in.

We went from room to room, oohing and aahing. This is Cupid trying to mess up a nice young girl, but she is fighting him off. I think she will prevail.

We took a break for an elegant lunch at the Getty's restaurant, then walked outside for the view. GAWWWWW. Here are the shots of the wrap-around view of what I could see from this one vantage point. I had never had the opportunity to see Los Angeles like this from the hills to the ocean. It isn't the same from a plane because your feeling of the landscape is so flattened and you have some baby squalling in the seat behind you. Here, all was 3-D and utterly peaceful.

The Pope was up there, too. I didn't want to get to close to the statue, lest I start on fire or something.

Back inside. A real blue-haired elderly lady and a weird drawing of a lion!
There were quite a few pieces by Rembrandt, including this little drawing. Lucky I got these pics off, because as I found out later, no photos were allowed of the Rembrandts or any of the photography works, because of copyright. Oooops. The photograph is of a view of Reykjavik, Iceland at midnight in summer, using a die-cut overlay of the image.

Two more small stops inside: a sculpture tutorial and the kids' play space.

Amazingly, we run into Mr11's 6th grade classmate from his small school and his dad! We all laugh and stare for awhile, chat about how the vacations have gone, then part ways again. Then outside again, and down to the beautiful Getty Gardens.


The kids had lots of questions about the plants and flowers and sculptures and fountains, and ran around all happy. MissSeven announced to me that she thought she might grow up to be both an artist and photographer, and I told her that would be just fine. Mr11 thought that the Getty Center would make a very very nice house, and that he would like to live there someday and enjoy getting lost.




As it was getting near closing time, we made our way back to the tram, first making a stop at the museum store so MissSeven could buy a set of markers, a pad of white paper, and a little picture book about the Getty Gardens. We detoured through Bel Air and Beverly Hills so Mr11 could see the mansions (he really likes mansions), got a extra-good sushi meal at a little strip mall joint in Hollywood, then I came back to the hotel and logged in and saw these as my wireless options.
From the gorgeous Getty to the grimy greasy goofy Internet. Another California day is done.