Kensington and a couple of Botanical Gardens

Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Berkeley, CA

I knew that on of my clients was looking for photos of Contra Costa Parks so I opted to make a visit to Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Since there’s lots of color elsewhere in the Bay Area at the moment, I assumed there would be there too. Alas, as so often is the case, I was wrong. The Regional Parks Botanic Garden is a native plants garden, and I’m guessing those are on another schedule.

Not far away was the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. I remembered that my reciprocal NARM membership should get me in for free, and so it did. Visually, this garden offered much more. The stock photographer in me kept photographing the signs.

University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

I remembered a visit I made to the Medicinal Herb Garden in Seattle a couple years ago- this seems even more medicinal. There was a Chinese section that claimed to have herbs for cancer to pretty much everything else. But ironically, there were signs all over the place stating “Many Plants Here are Toxic, DO NOT EAT THEM!” Well so much for Chinese medicine!

University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

I’ve also been seeking out fountains recently that seem to work particularly well with my slightly aerial view setup. And I managed to check one fountain off my list: Berkeley’s “The Fountain at The Circle”.

The Fountain at The Circle

My next stop was Kensington. I stopped and got a coffee and almond halva at Country Cheese Co. Coffee Market. I have a knack for inserting my foot in my mouth, and while paying the pretty young woman at the cash register noted that she had a shirt just like mine (a dark green plaid) – I said I can’t picture that. What I meant was that she seemed far to chic to wear anything that resembled what I wear, but I’m sure she was left with the impression of what’s wrong with that guy! Not that this has anything to do with my stock photo blog, just getting this off my chest. Sorry miss!

Kensington

I’ve been a fan of Semifreddy’s croutons for some time. And I think they got their start in Kensington, though they now have a big bakery in my town of Alameda. Semifreddy’s has a retail location in Kensington and I stopped in and puzzled what to order. The young lady at the counter asked if I liked olives, (of course I do!) because they accidentally just made a vegetarian Muffaletta – so they made the decision for me (and it was good!)

Kensington

Bizerkely

University of California Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) (Michael Halberstadt)
The Pterodactyl like thing looks about ready to eat my wife! University of California Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) (Michael Halberstadt)

For those not familiar with Berkeley, it’s a college town with a reputation for one of the best public Universities in the world, left leaning politics, counter-culture (though many of the hippies are approaching Social Security age.) Depending on your perspective, the place is often lauded or disparaged as “the People’s Republic of Berkeley”, Berzerkeley. And researching this entry there’s another nickname I’ve never heard: The Athens of the West. I’ve been to Athens recently and will concede the city does bare some similarities albeit not just the positives. The campus is beautifully situated at the base of the eastern foothills. Off campus is hit or miss with some pretty gritty areas and homeless activities along with the usual bars, foreign food outlets, book and music stores etc. Pretty much as you might expect from a big college town.

South Hall Building, Berkeley, California (Michael Halberstadt)
South Hall Building, Berkeley, California (Michael Halberstadt)

My teenage daughter Ella (whom I often refer to as “baby genius”) is so interested in college, that she wanted to go out shopping for Cal Berkeley apparel. So the other day we made a trip out to Berkeley. We found a parking spot and moved on to the “colorful” Telegraph Avenue buying a hoodie and moving on.

T-Rex Cast, Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) (Michael Halberstadt)
T-Rex Cast, Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) (Michael Halberstadt)

My wife and I thought it would be good to take a look at the campus with our baby. So we strolled past the Sather Gate and made our way to the Life Sciences Building. Not sure what was open to the public, and being uncharacteristicly bold as I had my peeps with me, we opened the door only to find a fun exhibit full of  Dinosaurs. Cool.

University of California Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) (Michael Halberstadt)
University of California Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB) (Michael Halberstadt)

We mosied through the library. There were bands of  what should have been dusty books given their age from Europe and Australia as well as modern. It was nice to just be able to pick up and look at a hundred year old foreign science volume and thumb through the pages.

Berkeley, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Buddhas for Sale, Berkeley, California (Michael Halberstadt)

What does one eat while in Berkeley? Indian of course! We made our way to House of Curries for a surprisingly bland Chicken Tikka Masala. Our last stop was some hippie-dippy shop with all sorts of knick-knacks like Buddhas, insects preserved in plastic, and pot smoking paraphernalia.