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Solvang: Wow

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Solvang, California, is a small town founded by Danish educators, turned into a tourist destination filled with replicas of Danish buildings and landmarks, and made even more famous through the movie Sideways.

Personally, I thought it was the cheesiest cheese ball of a place I have ever visited. If you read this article from the NY Times, it seems pretty cool. But to me it seemed way over the top and as a Scandinavian, there were many things that were either plain wrong or just very annoying. For instance, smorgasbord is a Swedish expression, not Danish, and wooden shoes is mainly a Dutch thing. Anyway, at least I can say "been there, done that." And it was a lovely day nonetheless!

Click on Continue reading for photos of the cheesiness!

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Comments (9)

Ha ha! I have to agree about the cheese factor! Though the windmill does look pretty cool.

I have to laugh! I have been to Solvang twice. The first time for a daytrip visit. The second time I stayed with a friend who lived there at the time. My sister lives there now. I keep my mouth shut about my thoughts of the town. You said it quite well!! :)

Girasoli, that is great! What is it like to live there, outside of the town center? Because the area seems great, the whole Santa Ynez area, so I am sure it is lovely as soon as you get outside the Danish streets...

My sister lives right in the middle of town somewhere. She loves it. She likes the fact that she can walk everywhere in town. My friend (where I stayed for a few days) lived on the outskirts of town. We did not spend much time in the town but the area around Solvang is beautiful. My sister lived in Los Olivos at the time so I got to see much of the beautiful countryside. That was when I saw my first and only big tarantula (in the middle of the dirt road!).

Girasoli, I think now that I have been too hard on this town! Walkability is one of my top favorite things so maybe I need to reconsider Solvang. An easily walkable town with good bakeries is not a bad thing!!

The first time I was there, I only saw it as a tourism trap. The second time I tried to ignore that part of it. Personally though, I would choose Santa Barbara over Solvang as a place to visit and live. Solvang is just a little too touristy for me. The walkability factor is a definite plus though. I think one of the other reasons my sister likes it there is because it is a pretty small town.

sandrac:

Chiocciola, I love your line: "The cheesiest cheese ball of a place....."
And, as a Scandinavian, you would be particularly sensitive to what's over the top in its depiction of your home region.

It does look pretty touristy, but I suppose the people who live there get used to it (and walkability is a big factor!)

I grew up not too far from Banff in the Rocky Mountains, I love it there but yikes -- sometimes the kitsch factor, including bizarre Alpine references -- can seem a bit jarring.

Girasoli, it did indeed seem like a small town. I am excited to know someone who has a relative there!

Sandra, growing up in the Rocky Mountains must have been beautiful!!

I wish I knew you were going there before you got there. I would have had my sister give you some tips.

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