It started when my family very kindly offered to have the boys again in NZ for a couple of weeks in January ... and my husband and I were just going to work like we did last year ... but then we thought that's stupid! Seize the chance! Where can we go? So we did a process of elimination - rejecting anywhere with snow or anywhere that would take more than 24 hours travel door to door - then figuring out where we most wanted to go, and decided on the West Coast of the USA. We flew into LA (via Melbourne) and back out from San Francisco (via Sydney) and hired a car for the whole two weeks to drive up the coast, a bit inland, north as far as Eureka, then back to San Francisco for the last few days. And it was awesome. We had such a wonderful time, and could have happily done double, or triple, the time ... So I've tried just to pick a few photos that sort of represented what we did.
The food! The wine! I don't think we had a bad meal in two weeks. This is wine-tasting, with snacks, in Paso Robles.
The wonderful scenery. We went for an afternoon's hike in Pinnacles National Park - I have never seen rocks like it! And for almost all the time we had glorious weather, crisp and clear.
The redwoods. I haven't really got any photos that can properly give the scale of the trees, and what it is like to be alone in a redwood grove, with the raindrops still dripping down. I have seen a lot of trees in my life, and been in a fair few forests, so I was just kind of expecting the same, but bigger. It wasn't though, it was special.
The history. This is on the tour we took of City Hall in San Francisco - not a particularly old building (1916) but quite beautiful and very interesting because of another word I didn't know before I went - docent. Enthusiastic volunteers who take you on tours for free and tell you amazing things. We must be firmly middle-aged because we loved it! Gentle two-hour walks being told things by people who have all this astonishing knowledge.
And of course we loved San Francisco. We had a little one-bedroom Airbnb apartment a couple of miles from town and we walked and walked ... 15 km one day according to my phone and the equivalent of a 57 storey climb! Hah!
I will no doubt blog more on this because it was just so awesome. It was my first time in the US (I don't count Guam) so there was all the culture differences too, although not as much as I thought. My husband says I shouldn't judge the country by the places we went to but it all looked pretty good to me!