It was my first time in the US. I think there is no other country that I have heard so many things about before I actually visited it. Burger Burger Burger, big cars, fat people, beautiful landscape of California, good wine and a fantastic city called San Francisco to discover on the way. That’s what how my expectations looked like before arriving. For sure the real experience was quite different. Although you can find all these things there you will also find many other things to discover.
I flew into Los Angeles and for the first time since months a friend was picking me up at the airport. What a nice experience!!! While traveling alone definitely you learn to appreciate things like that. After 6 months of traveling in South America, I was also a bit exhausted and happy to not have to look for a place where I can get decent food and a safe transportation that brings me to my place cheap and fast. Everything was organized this time. I really can’t understand why McDonald and not In-N-Out made it around the globe. Their burgers are way better and actually not much more expensive.
In L.A. I stayed at an Airbnb-Place and they even produced home made videos at their place. I always thought that in Hollywood only movies with huge budgets are produced. But in this place, actually, parts of the living room were functioned into a scene. As I was busy with exploring the city there was no time for taking part in the movies despite my undisputable skills as an actor…;-)… But anyways, this detail shows how an imagination of a place you have never been to might be totally wrong. Now I started to understand that L.A. actually is not only the place where the big movies are made but also where people are fascinated by it and try to start a production even if they don’t have a budget to produce a blockbuster. The business is actually only a part of the whole thing. People just really love movies in L.A. and because the business is made just around the corner people are motivated to give their ideas a try and at least open up a youtube channel with their homemade stories.
Besides Hollywood, there are less glamorous but actually, not less interesting or even nicer places in L.A. As I stayed there only a few days I didn’t have enough time to see everything. In fact, the city is spread out and also nice places are in different areas. I enjoyed walking along Venice Beach and checking out all the stands that sell things out there.
Furthermore, you can enjoy a fantastic view from up where the Observatory is.
photo by www.lizetc.com
Two applications for traveling in America that you should have on your smartphone. First is “Yelp” to find the closest and best restaurant, bar or coffee place and “Uber” because especially in L.A. you won’t find taxis. A car is still very recommended. Since… when in Rome do as the Romans do… You don’t need a pickup truck unless you want to present your status, but a car. Because everything is so far and public transport is often far to reach. Uber is used only when you want to drink or you want to go somewhere, where it is expensive or difficult to park. And it makes sense to park your car close to a subway station and go to Hollywood by subway.
So I rented a car to not just drive around L.A. but I am on a road trip down to San Diego and then up until San Francisco. I enjoyed California’s coast at it’s best. Down in San Diego, the beaches are beautiful.
The pacific , compared to the Caribbean sea in Colombia where I last went, is cold and sometimes a bit rough but the sunsets are stunning.
In town, it’s nice to hang out around the area of Gaslamp where you can find a lot of decent restaurants and bars. Don’t miss out to taste Mexican food for sure.
Back in L.A., I visited a free concert in the downtown of rappers that was famous back in the 90s.
Also, I visited neighborhoods with more developed street arts in L.A.
Also, the beach was nice! A bit rough but very pleasant. Be careful not to get all your belongings wet when the high tide comes.
After a stopover at Lake Cachuma where it’s possible to get a 15 min. entry for the car park and take photos at full speed from every side…
…I ended up in Denmark.
Whaat? Let me explain… This place is called Solvang and it’s supposed to look like a Danish town and serve typical Danish food.
Further on the road up north a place called Shell Beach, it offered amazing scenery for nice photos although there were no shells.
photo by www.lizetc.com
Pismo beach was pretty windy and rough while the beach up north called Avila Beach was pleasant. I was teaching a three foot tall American some football (soccer). In hopes that I will contribute a bit to the US future success in this sport :-).
The next day I started to discover Big Sur. A region that took my breath away with its amazing beauty along the coast, although parts were foggy at that time.
These were my photos… the following were taken by Liz Cho (www.lizetc.com).
I really appreciate that somebody could actually really capture the beauty of that place! Thanks for these photos!
Actually, the prices in Big Sur are pretty high. Unless you want to stay on a camping lot, you should reserve your room a few weeks in advance. I stayed at an Airbnb place in Monterey which was quite cool. It was possibly the cheapest as no one accepted my couch requests on Couchsurfing. grrrr…
Finally arrived in San Francisco it was a bit cold. Well, it was around 15° C when the wind blew but for me, that is cold since I usually travel in warm regions and seasons.
But at least I could discover one of the most famous cities in the world. I had expectations but as always it is different once you actually go to a place. I liked the views, the people and also the food.
But I was actually shocked how many homeless people there were. In some places, I did not really feel safe and had to turn back onto a busy road. Capitalism shows his face in the banking district, where Lamborghinis drive around the homeless.
I liked to hang around Fisherman’s Wharf and walking along the bay. I enjoyed hanging at the parks and do silly things, reading, or talking to swiss people… I realized that I suddenly had problems speaking my native language as I did not really use it for months. Words did not come up in my mind in the speed that I wanted to talk. Furthermore, I visited a Jazz concert at SFJazz and also went to Berkeley and sneaked into a frat party. Unfortunately, all the beers were already gone and so people behave :p but still it was a fun experience.
I went for a day to Sonoma. It is a very nice place for good wine and it is definitely less expensive than Napa. It was really beautiful and I can totally recommend visiting it for wine tasting. They all close at 5pm by the way. So make sure you arrive there before they close.
These ladies made sure I got the right wine for my wine taste 🙂