Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Been a lazy bum on Spring Break!

The World Famous (or infamous?) Madonna Inn
Well, I've been off on a fabulous Spring Break up
the coast of California...being somewhat lazy, but not totally! I did sew a nice doll dress while in the car for hours on end. We stayed at the Madonna Inn up in San Luis Obispo and I just have to say....WOW.
I've seen some tacky places, but this place takes tacky to a whole new level. On first glance, it looks a bit Disney-esque. Disney Swiss Chateau. On Acid.
But then you get inside. If you are in California, you have got to at least stop in and peek around. Our room was "Misty Rock". Four walls made of boulders and rocks. The one 'true' wall covered in bordello worthy wallpaper of metallic gold with rusty-red leaves. The extremely low slung ceiling, made of railroad ties stained green. Teal carpet. Dark green brocade drapes. Faux-alligator vinyl swivel chairs. Heavy 'victorian' furniture. The bedcovering was a huge floral print. No headboard to speak of, just lots of boulders jutting out where you would normally rest your back against. Ouch. But there was a very cool rock waterfall shower!

The Madonna Inn Dining Room
If you've ever wondered what a restaurant collaboration between cosmetics queen Mary Kay, Liberace, and Barbie would look like, stop in here for the ride of your life.
Oh, my word. Hot pink naugahyde booths snaking and undulating throughout the restaurant...though a bit faded in their glory now...and irreplaceable! Pink tablecloths. Pink China. Pink crytal stemware. Pink SUGAR. Pink carpet with huge roses and posies. A gargantuan chandelier looming over the entire room covered in paper roses the size of manhole covers. With twinkle lights woven in and out...with cupids, candlabras and goodness knows what else thrown in. Not to mention, the large mannequin little girl doll up above everyone's head, standing on a rose-vine covered swing...swinging back and forth. Quite unsettling.

Mission San Antonio de Padua
Our goal this little jaunt was not to see the tackiest hotel in Ameria...but to see some more of the chain of 21 missions established by Father Junipero Serra. This trip we saw San Antonio de Padua, which is way the heck out on a military base, but so out of the way from the rest of the world that it was almost like going back in time. A lovely, lovely calm place.
Then we saw the mission Soledad, of which there's nothing left but ruins. A reproduction chapel was built over the original site, and charming it was. After that it was Mission San Miguel, which was so damaged by the Paso Robles earthquake awhile back that we couldn't enter it. And this one is the only mission to retain it's original interior painting, so we were truly disappointed not to be able to see it. The museum and surrounding outbuildings were worth the trip.
Lastly, we saw Mission San Luis Opispo. Of all the missions I have seen, this was my least favorite. It looks brand spanking new, and the interior painting, so perfectly suited for a Mexican restaurant...didn't exactly exude the aged charm of the other missions. Too modern, to pristine, it just seemed a little phony to me. Now the painting was fabulous, as far as quality of that type of work goes. The tromp l'oei (spelling?) was incredible. But too european in style, not at all like the primitive style in the other missions.
We did find a lovely creek behind the Mission grounds, an idyllic setting with water rippling over stones and larger rocks and boulders to climb upon, filled with families with small children gleefully splashing about. We found a nice bench in the shade, and had a nice picnic.
We watched a fellow giving a group of elderly folks a 'go native' type of tour through the creek bed, locating and describing for them the different edible vegetation growing there out of the water...giving all of them a nice sample of each to chew upon. Isn't that sweet?
That night, on the local news, there was a report of a raw sewage spill that had contaminated this very same idyllic creek. They didn't put any signs out, but were initially in the early hours of the morning letting some people know not to play in the water there.
I guess whoever it was that was supposed to shoo away all the little children in their bare feet out of the water took a lunch break about the same time we did.
I feel so bad for those little elderly people who were blithely eating the dandelions and whatever else that lay in the path of the raw sewage spilling out over it only hours before.
Can you spell "l-a-w-s-u-i-t"?

Mission San Luis Obispo
Don't play in the creek near this one. You might grow a third arm.


  1. I just visited Soledad and Padua on this trip. I have to say, not much has probably changed since the 70's! They are still way out of the way. Of all the Missions, my favorites are San Juan Bautista and the one in Lompoc...having a brain freeze and can't remember the name just now!

  2. I think only a California 3rd grade teacher can tell them apart. We just had Mission model dropped off at our public library today, a "donation," a sad albatross that a mom got out of her house and on to our shelf.