Thursday, May 28, 2009

Catalina Island

We only made one stop during the cruise and it was Catalina Island, just off the coast of California. It's got one main coastal city, Avalon, where all of the shops, hotels, and restaurants can be found.

It's very much a walkable city with golf carts being the preferred mode of transportation for getting around to see the sites. We opted to bypass that and just wander aimlessly about for a couple of hours and sample the various tourist stops and souvenir shops that lined the streets.

The island is known for its resident herd of buffalo that have been raised there since they were brought to the island for a 1924 silent film. Although Avalon is littered with buffalo statues and art, we didn't actually see a live one...

I suppose they are easier to take care of in a city if you just keep parts of them encased in metal or mounted on a wall.

We strolled on over to see the infamous island Casino stucture (which doesn't actually have a gambling casino inside, btw). Here is a bit about it:

The gorgeous Catalina Island Casino is a two million dollar "Palace of Pleasure" located midway between Hotel St. Catherine and the town of Avalon. It is the only building of its size in the world erected on a full circular plan. A mammoth motion picture theater is on the ground floor and, above, the world's largest circular ballroom.

I think "Palace of Pleasure" might be stretching it a bit, but it had amazing architecture, a cool wrap-around balcony and was playing "Star Trek" in the downstairs theater. So, it won me over pretty quickly, as you can imagine.

As we headed back into town along the winding coastal pathway, I saw this locked up along the beach...

I hope that whoever secured their crutch before taking a swim wasn't in any kind of a cast. If so, that crutch is gonna be there for a very long time.

Since we didn't notice anyone in a hospital gown floating ass-up in the water, we figured it was time to head to the shuttle boat back to the ship. Catalina was a relaxing place to visit and would probably make for a nice weekend away from the stresses and chaos of a big city.

However, if you're in a leg cast....I'd say avoid the snorkeling and opt for a hammock on the shore instead.

Safety first, kids.

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