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K is for Korean Friendship Bell: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A pagoda houses a huge bell in Angel's Gate Park in San Pedro, California I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the eleventh post in the series. The Korean Friendship Bell sits atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Whether you are looking out to the ocean from the pagoda, or at the pagoda with your back to the ocean, the view is spectacular! The ball and pagoda were gifts from the Republic of Korea to the United States of American on the bicentennial of the USA. A sign at the Korean Friendship Bell explains the history of the bell There are some totems beside the path leading up to the pagoda and bell. I didn't know their significance, but a Korean co-worker of my husband's was able to help. He translated the writing and explained the cultural tradition as follows:
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J is for Japanese Garden: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A fountain at the Japanese Garden with the water reclamation plant behind it I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the tenth post in the series. SuihoEn (The Japanese Garden) in Van Nuys is a peaceful gem--and peace is what I needed after trying to follow my phone's navigation to find the place. If you exit the 405 freeway at Victory Blvd, turn south on Woodley Ave and keep driving until you see a big white sign in the median. Then turn left into the parking lot. You will need to stop at the guard gate, as the parking lot is shared with the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. Parking and admission is free.  The day I visited, some of the garden was under renovation, so not all of the paths were open. Even at that, I enjoyed strolling through the grounds. Though there wer

I is for Indian Canyon Trail: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A sign reads: Indian Canyon Trailhead Angeles National Forest I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the ninth post in the series. Springtime is a wonderful time to hike in southern California. After winter rains, the vegetation is green and the wildflowers are blooming. I recently joined my husband for a hike on the Indian Canyon Trail. Parking in the lot at the trailhead does require a pass. (National Parks pass is valid, for example.) The sign at the parking lot gives specifics, including the nearest place to purchase a pass. The hike itself is free.  Another sign near the parking lot informed us that this trail was also part of the Pacific Crest Trail. We went about a mile before turning around and heading back, as we started the hike late in the day and wanted to return to the

H is for Hollywood Bowl Museum: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  "Hollywood Bowl Music for Everyone" is written on the wall at the entrance to the museum I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the eighth post in the series.  The Hollywood Bowl is a cultural icon, and there is something almost magical about gathering in that open-air venue to hear world-class musicians. Did you realize, though, that you can visit the Hollywood Bowl--and the Hollywood Bowl Museum--for free when performances are not going on? The museum offers a look back at the history of the Hollywood Bowl, which is over 100 years old. I learned that the shell over the stage is not the original shell, but has had several different designs over the years.  A display in the museum shows the different shells the Hollywood Bowl has had in its history Other displays feature t

G is for Getty Villa: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  The inner peristyle at the Getty Villa surrounds a formal garden I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the seventh post in the series.  I was happy to have an excuse to visit the Getty Villa; a place I had wanted to see for years, but just had never made it to. I visited on the same day I hiked to Escondido Falls. While the Getty Villa was free to visit, reservations were required, and parking was a hefty $25. However, it's more affordable than a trip to Italy, and the Getty Villa Museum describes itself as "Greek and Roman antiquities housed in a recreated Roman country home."  On the path between the parking garage and the museum's entrance, I passed a sign that explained that the villa was a recreation of Herculaneum. The sign had a quote by J. Paul Getty: &quo

F is for Fort Tejon: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  Some of the buildings at Fort Tejon sit under huge oak trees I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the sixth post in the series. Right off the I-5 Freeway north of Los Angeles in the area called the Grapevine, you will find Fort Tejon, an Army outpost that was utilized between 1854 and 1864. There is a small fee to park, but the fort itself is free to visit. A small visitor's center has displays and printed information regarding the history of Fort Tejon, as well as a QR code to access a free cell phone audio tour. Did you know that the Army experimented with using camels for transportation needs? Yes, folks, had you been in Fort Tejon during some of the years it was being used for military purposes, you would have seen camels!  A sign in the visitor's center describes the

Ten Things of Thankful: Acting Like a Tourist

  Me smiling at the camera for a selfie with the Pacific Ocean behind me If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I've joined with other bloggers for the #AtoZChallenge this year. I decided on a whim and kind of last-minute to join. I decided on the theme, Free to See, and have been driving all over southern California visiting places with free admission. (I have allowed myself to go to places with parking fees, however.) I've been hoping to get posts written ahead of time, because I've learned that life sometimes throws curve balls, and I didn't want to stress over blogging if a curve ball comes. (I'm not anticipating any, but I think that is what makes a curve ball a curve ball, right?) Anyway, it's been an adventurous week and I've had a lot of fun. I've hiked, visited museums, and gone to the beach. I've taken a lot of photos and written a lot of blog posts--some that published this week, and some that will publish later.  This w