Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Portugal - California 2004

Hi Arnie!

Once again, I had a wonderfully restful night's sleep, any jet lag long since forgotten. The only deadline was that breakfast stopped at 0930, but with my 'early to bed, early to rise' habits, that wasn't likely to be problem. Nevertheless, I enjoyed just lying there until about 0830, when the sun started to stream through a gap in the curtains. I got up, got myself organised and went for breakfast in the main building. (A light breakfast is part of the deal at Holiday Inn Express.)

It was about 1000 before I was finally ready to hit the road. With the temperature in Tahoe a chilly 44F and with 86F forecast for Sacramento, the question was : what to wear? I decided on shorts, bearing in mind that the car had excellent climate control. It was a very nice drive in the clear conditions and about two hours later I was heading towards downtown Sacramento, without a clue where I was going. I realised that I was doing just fine, thank you very much, when I found myself driving right past the State Capitol and simply pulled into the nearest parking garage.

I was delighted to find that full access was available to the Capitol building, subject to security procedures. I had feared that, in the prevailing security climate, they may have shut the whole thing down to tourists. I found out that there was a tour at 1300 and meantime had some lunch in the self-service restaurant in the basement. The tour was a very interesting overview of the historic part of the building, which has been magnificently restored to its original design after some early twentieth-century official vandalism. I hadn't appreciated the parallels with the British parliament : green in the lower chamber, red in the upper chamber. The Senate even has two impressive chairs which are never occupied, these being the equivalent of the King and Queen's thrones! Governor Schwarzenegger's office was closed due to recent water damage : apparently over two inches of rain fell in less than an hour the previous Sunday! "What is going on with the weather?", I asked myself. Part of the ground floor of the building also doubled as a museum, containing some very interesting preserved offices from the building's earliest years.

I then had a quick look around the city centre, making my way towards Old Sacramento and, in particular, the Railroad Museum. This proved to be another interesting and enjoyable visit, and I was struck by the excellent standard of presentation of the exhibits. I had a look around the rest of the historic district and then, once back on the 'modern' side of the freeway, found myself in Macy's   Uh-oh! Danger, danger ... credit card alert!   Yes, purchases were made. I then found my way back to the car and had a trouble-free journey to the hotel, where I found that I could access somebody's WiFi network. I have no idea whose, but it was both fast and free

California State Capitol

California Railroad Museum

Tuesday 21 Sep

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