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Yesterday I decided it was time to cross a major event off our bucket list. I surprised the kids with a trip on the Metrolink train to Los Angeles. I’d only been on the Metrolink once and that was when Fernando and I dated many many years ago and it was only to Pasadena, not L.A. So this trip was kind of like “the blind leading the blind” meaning I had no idea what the heck I was doing or where I was going, but we were going on this little adventure anyway. It was the kids first trip on a train as well so when I told them what our plans were for the day, they were thrilled!
I actually drove to a station that was fifteen minutes away because the fare was much cheaper. When I got there, I discovered that the boys were free to ride the train, no charge! Hooray for cheaper adventures! Buying the passes was a little confusing and a very nice gentleman helped me out with it. They have these cards that you tap the machine with to validate your fare. As newbies, we didn’t know that and I assumed that the tickets would be asked for on the train. Since the train was arriving, we missed the validation machine and hurried to catch the train. Oops. We did validate them later on though. I didn’t want to be a thief.
We started off at the station in Azusa. There were fourteen stations between our start and destination. The kids were pretty thrilled during the first four or five stops. But we were sitting in chairs that faced backwards and they started to feel sick.
The train was quite warm and every stop brought more people aboard. Josh enjoyed going through dark tunnels. The girls identified every fast food stop they could see. Levi just sat and took it all in.
I showed him the poster on the wall with all the stops and we counted them each time we arrived to another station.
When we arrived, we were standing on a platform and had no idea where to go. Because we had the stroller, we had to wait for the elevator and we couldn’t follow the crowd. At least we noticed they were going down the stairs.
The elevator let us out into a long tunnel and we just followed that into the grand room. It is absolutely beautiful!
The architecture is amazing. I know this part of Union Station has been used in some movies and shows, like Bladerunner, Pearl Harbor, and Alias. So that was pretty exciting to see.
I took the kids to Olvera Street. Olvera Street is a historic district in downtown Los Angeles and is made into and old Los Angeles Mexican marketplace. It has street carts of hand crafted products and art for sale, little outdoor cafe’s, and museums .
It’s free to the public and has a very friendly and charming atmosphere. The vendors are super nice and very friendly. The kids got a bad case of the “I want that, I want that” bug. They wanted everything!
In the background was city hall where Fernando used to work when we first got married. They were surprised to learn he took the train for years when they were babies.
It was lunch time and I knew that they wouldn’t eat the food there so I had packed lunch in my backpack for the. They are so picky. It drives me crazy because they are missing out on so many good foods. I just wanted my taquitos, but the lines were long so I opted not to get them. But if you ever get a chance to eat them, do it.
Next to Olvera Street is a courtyard with a giant gazebo. It had benches in the shade so we sat and ate there. There are a few homeless people milling around, but they don’t bother anyone. They just wait for people to throw food away to get it out and eat it. One guy even dug out food we threw away right after I tossed it so he could eat it. It just about broke my heart. It was definitely an eye opener for the girls. I always tell them to be grateful for the food they have because there are so many people who are so hungry they will eat trash. I don’t think they ever believed me, but now they do. They even suggested that next time we go, we should bring food to pass out to them.
After lunch we finished looking through the vendor carts and then headed back to Union Station. It was 90 degrees and very muggy out and the kids were tired of walking. As we walked back, we stopped to see our friends Ben and Jerry for a cold treat.
Union Station doesn’t have seats to sit in, so we sat next to a wall out of the way to eat our treats. We backtracked our steps down the hall, to the elevator and back onto the platform. The train was crowded on the way back so I stood up and the kids squished into three little seats, sitting sideways. That’s a set up from sitting backwards, but still not as great as sitting frontwards and since I was standing I had to use a lot of balance to not fall over every time the train sped up or slowed down.
There was a man sitting next to the kids that would look over at them and notice they were sitting very nicely and still and would smile at them. When he left, I sat down and we quietly enjoyed the rest of the ride. Two of the kids took a nap. We finally arrived back to the station and walked back to the car. It was even more hot and more muggy than LA! When we got home, it rained. That explained the disgusting humidity.
According to Sunshine, the best part was eating lunch and having the pigeons fly all around us and Josh freaking out about them getting close to him.
According to Blue, her favorite part was getting a toy cat. She is obsessed with cats and couldn’t resist getting one.
My favorite part was spending time with the kids and seeing all the handcrafted items. I think the next time I go, I’ll leave the kids home and go with just my camera. There were so many opportunities for pictures, but watching the kids keeps my eye busy. Taking the train was not as complicated as I thought and if you want to avoid traffic, I’d definitely recommend the metrolink!