If you ever find yourself in LA, you absolutely must make the trip to Malibu to visit the Getty Villa. Admission is free; all you have to pay for is parking ($10). You do have to book tickets in advance for the time you wish to visit, as admission times are staggered so the grounds never feel crowded (genius!).
I’ve never been to Rome, so I can’t exactly make a fair comparison, but stepping into The Getty Villa feels like stepping into a time warp, bringing you back to an ancient Roman country house. There are sprawling lawns and perfectly manicured gardens, a long, slender pool surrounded by neatly clipped shrubs and plenty of seating, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Inside the main house is an extensive museum filled with collections of ancient Roman and Grecian art, coins, military gear, and other artifacts. We arrived at the villa only one hour before closing time, so we barely scratched the surface of all there is to admire.
I could have lingered in those gardens — walking and daydreaming, sipping coffee in the sunshine, breathing in the faint smell of saltwater — all day long.
Dan and I finished the day by sitting on a Malibu beach, sharing a tiny blanket, and huddling together for warmth. The temperature was dropping sharply as the sun was going down, but we weren’t willing to miss our chance to witness a famous Malibu sunset. Just off to our right was one of the sharp bends in the coastline, marked by gently sloping hills and jagged treelines. As the sun dipped lower, coming closer and closer to the inky, watery horizon, the sky deepened its tone from sherbert to tangerine.
My “real” camera was dead, so I had to attempt a photo with my iPhone. Sadly, I didn’t manage to capture any pictures that do justice to the beauty of the scene. It’s one of those moments that has to live on in my memory, a moment I’m drawn back to whenever I see a vibrant sunset and feel the chill of a breeze on my skin, even at home, even in Chicago.