Happy 4th of July, everyone!
Today, exactly today, three years ago we landed in L.A. It was my first time in the US. We rented a car for three weeks and traveled along the coast, and stayed in San Diego (La Jolla), Santa Monica, Pismo Beach, Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco and, finally, Yosemite. We got to do tons of fun things, and visited every cliché location we could think of: Hollywood, Muholland Drive (because of David Lynch’s movie, of course), Beverly Hills, Malibú, the Warner Bross studios, Alcatraz, the Monterey Aquarium, etc.
We also indulged a lot, ate way too much Mexican food, burgers, and every greasy bite that had been recommended to us! [Spoiler: all fast food chains really are the same]
Also, contrary to what people in Europe and even in America say, I had awesome coffee. I liked that you could go to every little corner shop, or even to the gas station, and find local coffee on sale. And what could be better than to find TWIN PEAKS coffee?
Talking about coffee, here is my favorite coffee place of the whole trip: Dogtown Café, in Santa Monica. It kept me functioning through the day when I was awake from 5 am on due to jetlag!
During our holiday, we stayed at amazing homes. In La Jolla, we stayed at WindAndSea, which was steps away from the beach, and it felt like the coolest and most chill surfers’ home. In general, we did Airbnb, with a few exceptions. In Carmel (a gorgeous beach near Monterey), we stayed at the Sandpiper Inn, a beautiful little hotel I never wanted to leave.
In fact, I am pretty sure I will be spending my 31st birthday there this year. Wait a second, was that a spoiler?
At Yosemite, we stayed at Highland House, in the town of Mariposa –about a half hour drive from the entrance to the park. There, in Mariposa, we also ate at a typical American diner, like those in the movies. As a tourist, I was endlessly excited.
I was impressed by the coastline, by the nature, by the raging ocean. Actually, I was pretty scared of the ocean since I grew up at the Mediterranean which is as calm as a water basin. I was pretty scared about sharks too. However, when went for a swim in Santa Monica and San Diego there was so much algae that the chances of me getting into the water (and, hence, of being eaten by a shark) got automatically eradicated.
Another thing that impressed me was the determination of surfers. You really have to admire them, they spend HOURS there in the middle of the ocean, just waiting for the big wave. See all those little black points in the sea? They’re surfers!
Did I mention that we visited the WB Studios? My favorite part, walking the streets of Rosewood (Pretty Little Liars –although I didn’t dare to admit to the tour leader that I was a huge fan!) and visiting Lorelei and Rory Gilmore’s home! (see below). Little did I know by then that there would be a revival, 10 years after the show ended, and that it would be heartwarming and lovely and incredible.
I was shocked by two things in the US: the unlimited soda at fast food places (and, in general, about everything having added sugar) and the rather ridiculous alcohol laws. One day we were at a Mexican restaurant at Pismo beach (food was AMAZING!) which had a terrace that spanned a little into the sidewalk, and were informed that we could only had our meal with a beer if we sat inside, because outside (while still at the restaurant) it was forbidden, presumably because some kid could see you have a drink? Imagine my jaw dropping. We were in the middle of nowhere and it was night time. Who could have possibly walked by? Ridiculous. People drink incredible amounts on US TV shows, so everybody is exposed to alcohol. What double standards!
Oh, by the way, did you know what happened to me in San Francisco?
I read on my tourist guide that I should avoid a certain place called the Tenderloin (it’s taken me ages not to pronounce it the French way) because, I quote, “it is not for the faint of heart” and should be accessed by taxi if imperiously needed (they apparently have nice food places). Well, it turns out the Tenderloin is a neighborhood right in the middle of San Francisco with quite a high criminal rate and, apparently, it causes quite an impression. However, English-is-my-second-language me interpreted the description in the guide quite differently. Being totally ignorant of the fact that “faint of heart” is an idiom, I believed that people with heart conditions should not go there, perhaps because it was on top of a particularly steep hill 😀
Other than that, in San Francisco we had to park our car at the tiniest garage I have ever seen. It took us so long and we sweated so much. We also visited Stanford, Apple, etc. Little did I know back then that Flo’s desire to live in San Francisco and to work at Stanford was more than mere daydreaming.
Who would have said that this year, 2017, I would be moving there?
This is precisely the reason why I write this post today. Of course, to remember our trip but also to start a new section in the blog starting from the very beginning of our story, California Dreamin, where I will document, as of November, our big overseas adventure!
Until then, here are the remaining pictures from our big 2014 California road trip! I hope you enjoy them. Professional photos will follow next year!
Last, but not least, the Monterrey aquarium. The best one I have ever been to!
As of November, there will be loads more of pictures! 🙂
♥ Ingrid ♥