Emma Elinor Lundin

Historian & journalist

Filtering by Tag: California

LA Sunrise

November 2011

It's early morning in LA. A very early morning in LA, and I don't think I should be awake yet. In fact, I know I shouldn't be.

We got here late last night, and it was past 2am before we arrived at the hotel. 2am GMT; the lobby clock was just after 8pm, though the girl who checked us in took enough pity on our tired faces that it is the one thing I clearly remember about the hotel that first night. I suppose we had some food. I suppose it was – as tradition dictates – room service. I suppose I had learned my lesson from New York so vow not to drink any alcohol at all so that I wouldn't add another day's worth of jetlag with each glass of wine. I'm pretty sure that I decided that it was a good idea to stay up as late as we possibly could – till 11pm even – before falling asleep to the sound of the TV at 10.30 sharp. I'm pretty sure that I would have mentioned – at least once – how comfortable the beds are at Thompson Hotels.

None of the above stopped me from waking up way too early. It's just past 5am when I wake up the first time, and it's still dark outside. After spending the next hour pretending to be asleep (a trick I learned from my mother, who claims that it's almost as good as actually being asleep), I spot some rays of sunshine falling through the uncovered window in the living area or the room. We are on the 13th floor, and the view from that window is one of the prettiest I have seen: pale pastels, a dewy fog lifting from the low-storey houses towards Downtown's silvery skyline on the horizon.

It's too early and I shouldn't be awake, but this sunrise is one I don't mind getting up for.  

A cable car from Mexico to Canada

November 2011

Our expectations when we left downtown Palm Springs for a trip up the aerial tramway on the outskirts of the city were low. It wasn’t just that I had spent the before day unable to keep food down (cursing an oyster in Santa Barbara the previous night), but surely a cable car that promise to whisk passengers up from Mexican climate on the desert floor to a Canadian-style pine forest on top of a mountain in a matter of minutes is the sort of trap of a place that feeds on tourism naffness? How wrong we were.

Winding slowly up San Jacinto towards the station at the top, we marvelled at how close to the mountain we were travelling and the mesmerising views across the desert – from the wind farm that greets all visitors to Palm Springs all the way towards Joshua Tree in the distance.

Sure, once we arrived there was an obligatory photo shoot with a very uncool backdrop to take care of before we could exit the station and enter the San Jacinto State Park, but the lady at the counter really didn’t mind that we didn’t want a copy to send to our parents (which was her suggestion – maybe we looked particularly young that day?): as an entry to the peaceful walking trails outside, it was most certainly worth it. The mountain range is criss-crossed with hiking trails – it even includes a section of the Pacific Crest Scenic Trail, which runs from the length of the west coast from the Mexican to the Canadian borders – and the fact that we didn’t get very far (the blame again falls on that oyster) is just another reason to return.

P.S. Here’s another recommendation: make sure you listen Gram Parsons  – the unbeatable soundtrack to a Californian desert adventure – in the car as you drive up steep road that connects Palm Springs with the cable car station

All content and imagery © Emma Elinor Lundin 2010-2017