What I Did on my Winter Vacation

solvangMostly I hacked up a lung. THe flu that I had returned with a vengeance so Christmas weekend was spent in bed with various teas, take-out and Netflix. To be honest it was kind of great- I wasn’t asked to do much work-wise (my job is pretty much 24/7 on demand) and in any case it was rainy and rather dreary out so I enjoyed my enforced solitude. New Years was a repeat, but at least I didn’t have a fever- just a hacking, wet cough that was and is less than fun. Saturday and Sunday was more time ordering in, snuggling up in bed and drinking enough tea to keep China in he black for the next hundred years or so. Oh, and slathered in Vicks Vapo Rub. Is anyone else a fan of this stuff/ I can’t vouch for the efficacy of it, but there’s something so comforting about the smell of it and the icy-hotness as it sits on my chest (and a little dab under my nose, making perfume wearing a waste of fumes; nothing can stand up to Vapo Rub.

Monday, being in the USA the legal holiday to make up for the first being on a Sunday meant that I had nothing to do and by this time I was bored rigid with my four walls, had watched everything that I could conceivably watch (I’m sorry, I would rise from my grave to switch channels away from “Family Feud”) and figured I could wharf up my hairballs as easily in the car as I could at the apartment. So I grabbed a big bottle of water spiked with Emergen-C and headed north.

Usually I tend to default to gong to Santa Barbara, which for those of you who do not know is a lovely small city on the coast about 90 miles north of Los Angeles. It has great museums, restaurants and other attractions that I have spent many happy hours in, and that would likely be closed because of the holiday. So I got a bee in my bonnet and decided I would go to Solvang.

Solvang is a danish-themed tourist town inland from Buellton, about 40 miles or so north of Santa Barbara- a fact that I had totally forgotten about. I kept thinking “it has to coming up” only to find, er no it ain’t. But I did manage to get there and walk around, cruising through the many bakeries with their delicious treats, stores selling everything from plastic drinking glasses with “Solvang” on the side ($24 on sale; thanks I will pass) to fine antiques. I settled for a few cookies and a nice strong coffee. I didn’t find a perfumer, but I did find a really nice independent bookstore, which made me absurdly happy. Sometime soon when it’s not grey skies dribbling rain and I’m not dribbling from my nose I will go back, and enjoy the drive with the top down. If you’re in SoCal, I suggest you do the same.

So, how did you spend your new years? What did you wear? What did you eat? Imbibe? Any suggestions for something that will finally clear the gunk out of my lungs? Leave a comment.

Photo of Solvang stolen from the internets: mine didn’t come out.

  • Nemo says:

    Solvang sounds great, and I’d never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing! I do understand how nice it can be to be sick and do what you need to do for yourself for a while (I am enjoying the tail end of a cold currently), but I hope you are feeling better now!

  • HeidiC says:

    I’m cracking up that the pop-up ads to the right of the comment thread now include Fragrance.com, Beauty Encounter, and Amazon ads for Vicks’ VapoRub! Feel better soon, Tom!

  • Musette says:

    Vicks is the go-to for every law-enforcement person (at least on TV) who has to go into a crime scene. I do the nose and the soles of the feet. LOVE it! I have never been to Solvang, tending to hug the coast. Friends who have visited love it – it’s a bit like Holland MI, without the sub-zero December temps.

    Hope you’re all better! xoxxoA

  • Viks Vapo-rub, love that stuff! Do you remember the inhalers they used to make (or maybe still do?) so strong they used to bring on a coughing fit, but damn, the passageways were clear! Have you been in for a chest x-ray yet, Tom? That shit can go south STAT. PLEASE be careful!
    -Robert H.

  • Merry Rower says:

    Passed through both on my way to and fro between LA and SF. When I have the time, I prefer the 101 to the 5, because of the beauty of my native State. Picked up a nephew from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and had to force myself from continuing up Hwy 1. I crave Cambria and Big Sur and Carmel and Monterey and Santa Cruz, but that just makes for too long a trip in one day, with a dog and a young teen and a college kid in the car.

    I feel like Solvang is the last place one can find a decent bear claw. And I’m still mourning the fact that Pea Soup Anderson’s is no longer a delicious must-stop. Still, the whole Middle Kingdom is some of the best of California.

    A Vick’s Vapo-Rub tip: No matter what ails you, before you go to sleep, rub a generous amount on the soles of your feet and then put on thick, comfortable socks. This application method seems to address symptoms very well, providing a better night’s rest and a brighter morning.

  • sunnlitt says:

    I love Solvang.
    They have a Christmas Shop that carries ornaments all year round. I bought a little wooden train the last time I passed through. And, I have a golden glass hummingbird from years past.
    Glad that you are feeling better. In my childhood home we used Mentholatum. Clears your sinus right up!!

  • Taxi says:

    Great area! Besides the bakeries, books & a terrific needlepoint shop, I crave the Danish cabbage rolls – veal-stuffed, in a cream sauce with dill.
    My grandmother would have used her home cure of turpentine & bacon drippings, mixed & generously applied to your chest, then covered with a rag. Vicks is perfume compared to that concoction.
    Be better soon.

  • Julie says:

    Los Olivos is nice, too. Great area overall!

  • Katherine says:

    I’m glad you were able to rest. Lots of fluids (I love water with EmergenC) and Muncinex DM if you can handle it. I know it can bother some with an upset stomach but it’s the best at thinning the secretions (I hope I didn’t just gross everyone out) apologies if I did.

  • Portia says:

    I bloody LOVE Vick’s Vapo Rub. Great memory smell.
    You better yet?
    Portia xx

  • Claudia Strandstra says:

    Rideau winery is worth a 10 min drive (Alamo Pintada?). Feel better!