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Sunday, March 18, 2012


Following up on my last post, I'm here to tell you a little about Pasadena.  It's not only home to that little old lady, but also the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where my brother's been pursuing his PhD for the last several years.

As you can see, it's a tad northwest of L.A. itself, right at the foot of the mountains.

It seemed like a great place to live!  Clean, well kept, a nice downtown area with great shops and restaurants.  Of course, the warm and sunny weather didn't hurt the first impression.

A shot of city hall:

City Hall

Hanging out downtown:

Colorado Blvd.

Mike and my brother, the whole reason for the trip!


This was taken at Lucky Baldwins, a fabulous Pasadena pub where they know good beer.  Excellent beer in fact, so much so that I felt like I was back in Belgium (they had a Belgian beer festival on the go).  Mike and Tim were beside themselves when they found out there was a very special launch of a Californian triple IPA happening on Sunday afternoon.  West Coast IPA is their favorite type of beer, so this was going to be triple the fun.  We had to jump through several hoops to qualify for the tasting, but it was worth it!

Here we are with our coveted glasses of Pliny the Younger, Russian River Brewing Company's IIIPA:

Pliny the Younger

(I've been known to like a West Coast IPA myself).

Later that day...

We found ourselves poolside at the Westin Pasadena, soaking up some California rays!  The heated pool and great view didn't hurt either.

Pasadena pool view

Vacation gang

On Monday, Evan took us to school for a tour.

Astrophysics building at CalTech

This is his building - home to some great minds.  The building itself was impressive.  The architecture was interesting with few right angles to be found.  It was filled with creative thinking spaces, for instance, rooms with entire chalkboard walls and colourful, comfortable seats.  When you are a theoretical astrophysicist, a place to think is the main tool you need (oh, and a ridiculously large computer).

The campus is home to many olive trees.  At one point, the dean had a bet with some students that they couldn't produce a bottle of olive oil from these olives.  Well, they did, and you can now purchase Caltech olive oil!

Olive trees

The "Gene Pool" - check out the double-helix tiling at the bottom.

Gene pool

Loads of turtles in the turtle pond!


We did see more of Pasadena - mainly restaurants, which I'll try to cover in a "California - the food" post soon.  It was great to finally see Evan's home here.  As I said, it seemed like a beautiful place to live.  Particularly since there was no snow and it was 25-30 degrees in March!


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