Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays as it’s the start of Christmas season but without the stress of getting presents. It’s all about good food and spending quality time together with your loved ones. This Thanksgiving day we had a super early start at 4:30am as we signed up for the 10k Turkey Trot run in Dana Point. It was a crisp morning in the 50s with over 16,000 runners. I usually run part of this route on my own as it’s so scenic, but it was fun going out together as a group. Also, there were a lot of unique costumes and people (and dogs) cheering the runners on. I was happy to finish in 59minutes which was 10min faster than two weeks ago in Las Vegas. I guess a 15k has to be the next challenge…
The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year – with “Black Friday” deals. When we first moved to the US we got trapped into this craze….We used to live next to an Outlet Mall and people would start shopping at midnight. In my experience you get the better deals the week after Black Friday and the shopping experience is so much more pleasant. The last years we’ve been avoiding Black Friday shopping altogether. Therefore, we planned a trip to the mountains to avoid all crowds. One reason why I LOVE California (in case you didn’t know by now) is the diversity of nature you can experience. I live at the beach, but within a short 2 hour drive I’m in the mountains and in the winter can go snowboarding. So for the start of the “winter season” we decided for a weekend getaway to Big Bear Lake. We packed our snowboards and hiking boots and were excited to inhale fresh mountain air. On our first day we did a 12mile hike (Ulli ran the entire route) up to the top of the mountain on Pine Knot Trail, over Skyline Trail down with the ski lift and walked back to the car. I was thrilled to see the first snow of the season during the hike. The scenery is just perfect up there! In the evening we checked in our mountain cabin which was very cozy. We also enjoyed a walk in Big Bear Village and admired all the Christmas decoration and lighting of the (real) trees. My icing on the cake was meeting the three cutest Golden Retriever doggies dressed in Christmas outfits. I couldn’t resist of giving them lots of cuddles 🙂 The next day we wanted to go snowboarding and we were all ready to go, but the snow conditions were not right yet. So we decided to switch to our hiking boots and explore Castle Rock Trail. It starts out with a steep climb and on top you’re rewarded with 360° panoramic views. There’s also lots of rock climbing which was awesome!
On Sunday we were back home as we had plans to attend our first Christmas event in Los Angeles. We had a fun day doing some Christmas Shopping (mainly for me) on Main Street Santa Monica which has many boutique shops. For lunch we went to Kula Revolving Sushi Bar in Little Tokyo. This place is so unique and you feel like you’re truly in Japan. You’re seated around the revolving belt and can take any plates right from the belt. In addition you can order your food on a touch screen – which will be delivered on a second belt right on top of the other belt. You have to put all your plates in a small slot and once you reach your first 15 plates the screen becomes like a video game and you win a toy. Now I really can’t wait to go to Japan (on my #1 travel bucket list!). In the evening we had tickets for the Hollywood Christmas Parade. They shut off Hollywood Boulevard (like they do for the Oscars) and there’s a concert stage as well as bleachers to view the parade. There are several artists / bands that perform Christmas songs on stage (Cindy Lauper, American idol stars and my favorite the Band of Merry Makers – which are different artists from bands that come together only for Christmas) and afterwards is a big Christmas parade with celebrities (Olivia Newton John was the Grand Marshal this year). They will broadcast it on December 16th – so let me know if you can see us :-).
It was such a joyful long holiday weekend and I’m truly in the Christmas spirit now. What Christmas activities have you planned?