After my somewhat late night, it was a bit of a struggle to get up this morning, but with a timed ticket to the Getty Villa for 10am, I did not really have a choice. Leaving Lizzie asleep in bed, I set off into the morning for an adventure with the LA morning traffic. It was pretty busy, and the 40 minute journey took me about an hour and a quarter, but I arrived at the Getty with no problems and drove up the steep cobbled driveway towards the entrance.

The main garden at the Getty Villa

After paying the parking fee of $15 and having my ticket checked (tickets are free, but are timed and availability is limited) I headed towards the main entrance and was given a map and a schedule of events for the day. I had lucked out and it was a gloriously sunny day, but it was still a little early and most of the gardens were in shadow, so I decided to start with the Villa itself, visiting all the exhibits inside before exploring the grounds.

A pretty shrine

The villa is built to the specifications of an actual Roman Villa, the remains of which have been excavated inHerculaneum, where they were buried following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The exhibits were divided by theme, which was easier to follow than if they had been sorted by age or origin. It is not just the antiquities that make the Getty so unique, but the authentic setting for them, with attention paid even to the types of plants that are grown in the gardens.

Being artistic.

After looking at all of the exhibits and doing a bit of reading in the reading room, I had a quick lunch before joining the queue for the Garden Tour. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and the 40 minute tour was fascinating; telling us all about how the gardens had been designed and planted with the same plants that would have been found in the Roman villa that the Getty is modelled on. She spoke about the need for symmetry in the gardens that is so difficult to reproduce in a courtyard, with some corners getting more sun than others.

On the garden tour.

As well as the ornamental gardens, the tour also included the kitchen garden and most of the herbs grown are those which we still use in many dishes today. The tour was all too brief, and I concluded my visit with a final wander around the gardens, in order to get pictures without others in them.

Looking back at the villa from the far end of the garden.

I could have stayed for hours, just sitting in the sun, but did not want to get caught in rush hour traffic for the second time in one day, so headed back to the car. The drive back was uneventful, but as soon as I walked through the door Lizzie and I were whisked out by Maria to go shopping. She took us to a shop that was good for cheap makeup, where we each bought a few things, and then on to a couple of thrift stores, neither of which were particularly inspiring. The highlight of the afternoon out was our stop at “Noodles and Beer” to try “pho”, a Vietnamese noodle soup that Maria and Galina had both been talking about since we had arrived inLong Beach. We each had the lunch special, with a small bowl of pho and half a sandwich, both of which were delicious. I will definitely be having pho again if the opportunity presents itself. Maria insisted on paying for our meal, despite our protests, and Galina came to meet us at the restaurant. Maria had been called into work while we were eating, so while she headed home to get ready, Galina took us to the final clothes store on Maria’s list, where both Galina and Lizzie found some good bargains. I, on the other hand, was having one of those frustrating days where nothing fits right, the bright side being that I didn’t spend any money! Galina then drove us over to San Pedro to see a beautiful view that she had been telling us about, once there we didn’t quite have the heart to tell her that we had been there the day before when scouting out Buffy locations. Back at the house we chilled out for a while before heading out to Duelling Pianos with Galina. This was great fun, and the three musicians that were performing were all very talented. We put in a few requests and were soon singing along with some of the songs. After a while we moved on to Mai Tai, a local dance club for about an hour of dancing before heading back.