Friday, July 11th, we boarded the Metrolink train to Los Angeles Union Station. Once we arrived, we headed to Olvera Street. Olvera Street is the oldest area of Los Angeles and is a part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. The street is lined with shops, restaurants and museums which were converted from old historic buildings. The oldest house is the Avila Adobe which was built in 1818. Olvera Street is technically a named alley which has been converted to represent Old Mexico. It’s a tourist attraction which attracts more than 2 million visitors each year.
The focal point of the historical site is the Plaza, a large gazebo in a center of a circular plaza that represents and honors the founding of the Pueblo de Los Angeles. Three large statutes honor the three men who made the founding possible. First, King Carlos III of Spain who ordered the founding pf the Pueblo de Los Angeles in 1780. Felipe Neve, the Spanish Governor who selected the site and laid out the town. Father Junipero Serra, founder and first head of the Alta California missions. There is also a plaque which honors the original forty-four settlers, known as Los Pobladores. There is a Lara family represented. It would be interesting to see if my husband’s family were related to these settlers. It seems unlikely but it would be cool to investigate a possible connection. On that day, the Plaza was filled with the music of Peru as a Peruvian flute player played various flute instruments from the region and later a group of Inca dancers entertained us with their traditional dances.
We meet up with a good friend of ours and we make our way into Chinatown, filled with shops and authentic restaurants. We pass under the Golden Pagoda near the West Gate to see the Seven Star Cavern Wishing Well. The well was created by artist Lim Hong Kay in 1939 and modeled after the sacred Seven Star Caverns in Canton, China. Visitors come to throw coins in various areas hoping to be granted their wish. Areas are labeled as love, health, wealth, fertility, well-being and happiness. It is a beautiful site.
After an afternoon of site seeing and shopping, we ended our day at La Golondrina Café which was built in 1930 from the converted Pelancoli House (1857) and is the oldest restaurant on Olvera Street. It had great food and a great atmosphere. My husband even had a Mexican singer serenade me at dinner in honor of our fifth wedding anniversary. I would recommend going to Olvera Street and other historic areas of Los Angeles, if you’ve never been. There are so many sites that we didn’t get to visit that I would like to go back.