On Friday last week I headed out of Mariposa and Yosemite to go back to San Francisco, to meet my parents at the airport. I dropped off my car and waited for them to arrive, which they did almost on the dot. All of a sudden it felt like no time had passed at all since June 2nd when I saw them last, except that we were now on the other side of the world. We took the very important selfie and then got in a taxi back to the same hotel I stayed in last weekend.
After having checked in (yes, I managed to get us upgraded into a slightly better room :)) I forced them to come eat at Cheesecake Factory with me. It wasn’t a very long night for either of us, I was tired from driving and they from flying from Chicago.
The next day we had exciting plans, as we had booked tickets to go out to Alcatraz. I have been there before but I thought it was great last time so I was looking forward to it. We got on the boat and headed out to the island.
Once you get there you can watch a short documentary about the history of Alcatraz, and once you get to the prison you’re issued an audioguide that let’s you go on a tour at your own pace. I think it’s such a fun experience and even my mom, who had no expectations, loved it. And we were in luck, because an actual former prisoner was there to sign a book he recently published about his time doing time at Alcatraz. So cool. His name is Robert Luke, prisoner AZ1118.
After getting back to San Francisco we just walked around Fisherman’s Wharf for a bit before taking a bicycle taxi up to Chinatown. We felt kind of sorry for the guy who had to pedal all three of us up the hills of SF, but he kept reassuring us that he likes his job, and he does this by choice and we should not feel sorry for him. Well, okay then…
Sea lions at Fisherman’s wharf.
Hej! Out of all the world’s greetings, the Swedish one was at the middle of the heart at Union Square.
Later that evening we enjoyed some drinks at the skybar at the 46th floor of our hotel. My parents couldn’t believe their eyes when I got asked for my ID (as per usual) and they thought it was hilarious when the waitress said “but you look so young!” when she looked at it. Well… thank you I guess. I’m not sure anymore.
The next day we were going on one of the typical hop on hop off busses, which we had a very bad start with. We had to switch buses three times and we couldn’t hear anything the guides said and I was preparing to write a very bad review on tripadvisor in my head. Luckily that all changed after we switched buses after we had been to the Golden Gate bridge, so let’s get back to that later.
This building was built and is owned by Francis Ford Coppola! He used to have an editing suite at the top floor, where apparently the Godfather movies were edited. Pretty neat. I love his daughters work more though, as Sofia Coppolas film Lost in Translation is one of my all-time favorites.
The traditional jump shot.
After Golden Gate we got back on another tour bus which completely changed the entire experience. The bus was different so we heard the guide much better, and he was so funny. I’m so happy it all turned around, and that we had a good experience in the end. We got off in Little Italy, to go to Lombard street, which is a very famous place as well.
Monday morning we picked up our new rental car, a white Ford that looks almost exactly like Stacey! I think that’s why I’ve had such a hard time picking a new name for her. I’m thinking that Betsy might be it though… let’s see. I drove us out of San Francisco and towards highway 1, before my dad got behind the wheel and I could just enjoy the scenery fully for the first time this entire road trip. It was nice.
When I was in Houston at Janet and Phil’s they told me about the 17 mile drive in Monterey south of San Francisco, so I told my parents that we needed to drive it. It’s a small road that goes through a really fancy neighborhood and it also took us to Pebble Beach golf club which my dad really liked since he’s a golfer. It’s a very famous golf club which even I knew from playing the Tiger Woods computer game when I was a kid. (it was the only game we had. I was such a deprived child haha.) It was so beautiful and we saw sea lions and all different kinds of birds and just enjoyed the scenery mostly.
How the picture was taken:
We finally got to Pebble Beach and I think we attracted a few weird stares when we took this.
It was fun to see and a very nice addition to Highway 1.
Our destination for the night was San Simeon halfway between SF and LA, which felt like the perfect stop. It would have been way too far to drive the entire way in one day, at least along the tiny and winding hwy 1.
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
When we had dinner with a view of the ocean my dad kept saying “it looks just like a whale out in the ocean, I keep seeing bursts of water!” and mom and I didn’t believe him. We would come to regret that. But first, on Tuesday morning we had tickets to Hearst Castle, which is located high up on a mountain in San Simeon. I had absolutely no expectations for that place, which just made me absolutely love it. We went on a tour of the grand rooms of this insane place, and I really recommend it. Hearst was a media tycoon and begun building the castle in 1919, so he wouldn’t have to sleep in a tent up in the mountains when he came there… well, it’s certainly a bit different from a tent. He used to have people there all the time, mostly famous people from Hollywood but also sports stars and politicians in the 30’s and 40’s. Had I been invited I would never had wanted to leave.
Look at that pool! I really, really wanted to take a dip.
After the castle we headed south on highway 1 again, towards Los Angeles. As we started driving my dad said “Pay attention here, it’s where I saw whales last night!” and to my big surprise I saw one just seconds later. We pulled over and were entertained by several huge whales swimming really close for a long time feeding and making everyone gathered go “OOOOH” over and over again. So cool, I have never seen whales in the wild before.
After that we headed south, but we had to drive through Solvang first though, which is a Danish city in California. It’s really cute, and surprisingly very Scandinavian. But after many hours on the road, and more than 10 000 km driven by me in this country this summer, I reached my final destination: Los Angeles. We have rented an apartment in Santa Monica through AirBnB here, and it’s so nice. It’s a penthouse actually, and I love it. So nice to have space to move around!
It’s very close to Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier which was my requirements, and I think my parents agreed once they saw the apartment and the location. Now we have five full days here, which I’m looking forward to a lot. I can’t believe that this is my last week in this country though, I don’t want to leave… stupid visa rules. But I’m sure I’ll enjoy Australia too, once I get there!
On Wednesday I’m seeing Taylor Swift again, so excited about that, but we have a fun week ahead of us, that’s for sure. So come on now America, give me all you got these last days in your country!