August 17, 2012

Western Wonder- California

Week # 1
*San Francisco *Yosemite National Park *Las Vegas *Grand Canyon *Colorado River *Los Angeles
7- day camping and hiking tour: It started on a monday in San Francisco, but we've landed there the Saturday before and met with a friend of ours. So we've had some time ahead to do some sightseeing stuff: the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Baker Beach and the Fisherman's Wharf. 
On Monday we've got to know the group which consisted of the American tourguide, five Koreans, one Australian, one Norwegian, one Japanese, one English, two Germans and of course us :-) 
In one week we've spent so many hours of sitting in a van, but we drove through three states (Arizona, Nevada, California) and to different places which were just AMAZING! We've also had a group name: GRANOLA because we were eating many granola bars while hiking and driving :) 
I couldn't believe that the U.S. is that huge, the vast lands and beautiful sights! Camping and hiking in the national parks were a lot of fun (Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Colorado River) although it was pouring the night we've stayed at the Canyon. I loved it the most and took pictures of every single corner we've been! Hiking there and just standing IN the living Canyon was stunning for me! The two days in Vegas were great, too. The first night we've had a limo ride with the whole group and spent partying :) The second day Tabea and I have spent walking up and down the strip, we saw some free shows and it was just like a big playground for adults. Oh and pretty dry and hot in Nevada: 110°F!!! The last night with the group was at the Colorado River, we went swimming and had a nice BBQ altogether and then had to say goodbye the next day in Los Angeles. 

There are no pictures of L.A. and San Diego above because downtown L.A. with the star walk and Universal Studios wasn't as interesting for me. 

Week # 2
*San Diego *Venice Beach *Santa Monica *San Jose

The second week Tabea and I tried out couchsurfing. So it was our first time but everything worked out perfectly! We've spent two nights in San Diego and three nights in Venice. 
San Diego was nice and very spanish influenced but not so thrilling. We took buses to travel around so it wasn't too expensive. 
Venice was just AWESOME! I loved it there! When we first arrived on a tuesday, I've noticed a lot of good looking people, some yoga places and nice shops. At the beach and on the famous Ocean boardwalk were a lot of surfers, skaters, beach bikers and artists. We checked out the famous canals with beautiful homes and boats. And we've discovered so many painted walls while strolling through Venice!!! I love the beautiful buddha above! We've got sunburned from the pacific ocean and did a little bit of shopping as well. We walked to Santa Monica with its Pier and went to a concert series on our last night there. And that was just like a huge picnic or festival with lots of people and good music. Did I mention that you can get a license in California to smoke weed legally? :-D 
I just fell in love with that place, I was thinking: either lovely New York or Venice, people there are very health conscious, eco-friendly and everyone just smiles and looks fit! It's definitely the sun, the palms and hey! living at the ocean!!! :)
Tabea and I left friday and took a bus for 7hours to get back to northern california. Our friend picked us up in San Jose because we were planning to take our return flight on saturday morning but it got cancelled. Instead we've spent the day together with our friend, which was also great! We went out for lunch saturday. The last picture shows some hummus and falafel at an Israeli restaurant. We also hit a fruit market in San Jose and then finally took the plane back home that night. 

I arrived back home on sunday. 

To sum it all up: I have had a wonderful time!!! The westcoast is totally different from the east but I loved it out there. My highlights were the Grand Canyon and Venice! I still have to admit that I did miss the city a little bit, maybe because I'm more familiar with it and I just don't like to be a tourist :-D 

Thank you to my friends and to the people 
I've got to meet and share stories,
will never forget it! 

Take care and much love,


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