Welcome to Solvang, the Danish capital of America! It's only one hour north of Santa Barbara.
I've visited here when I was in college and I loved the experience of stepping over the pond to a Danish town. The real reason for staying in Solvang during my motorcycle tour of California, was to visit the Motorcycle Museum, which you can read about here.
The houses are adorable and some even have thatch roofs.
As a kid, my dad was in the Air Force and we were stationed in England for five years. I spent my early years living off base, in a village, playing Robin Hood in the woods and learning to ride a bicycle. I remember visiting Denmark and seeing the windmills and giant rolls of cheese being carried by two people.
My brother and me were inseparable from our wooden clogs. They were really comfortable. (I'm curious if I'd still feel the same way. The store in Solvang wanted $40 for clogs, so I decided to pass.) When I out grew my clogs, I got to wear my brothers. There are perks to being the youngest.
I met up with Joe, the biker that I picked up in Carmel at a stop light. We're very Green and shared a parking spot. There was room for another bike too!
We were walking around and Joe's back was hurting. He asked if I wanted a massage. And five minutes later we were both getting chair massages. I'd never walked into a spa on a whim. It was such a treat. Joe said I better get used to it. Oh darn.
Above a bookstore is the free Hans Christian Andersen museum. I hadnt realized that he'd written some of my favorite childhood stories, like The Little Mermaid, Thumbellina, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor's New Clothes.
I also learned that Andersen was not only a Danish poet and a writer, but a talented paper cut artist. Paper cuts, are not only those pesky cuts that you get on your fingers, but also the name of the art form where you fold up a piece of paper and then cut it up to make silhouettes. As kids I'd make paper cuts of snowflakes.
Danish sausage, grilled potatoes and red cabbage! Yum!
On the way out of town, we stopped at the Ostrich farm to feed ostriches and emus. I'd seen it on the Atlas Obsura, the interactive map of obscure things to visit. I had forgotten that I'd seen it online until I saw a hundred ostriches grazing in a field right outside of downtown Solvang and I just had to meet the birds in person. Their heads are way bigger than I was expecting. Some of the ostriches also had blue feathers. No idea why. But it was interesting all the same.