Monday, July 5, 2010

California Road Trip

While Clare counts down the days to her exciting trip to Vegas, I thought I'd reminisce and share my trip to California in April/May 2008. We started from LA and made our way over a couple of days up to San Jose, where we stayed with friends.

My favourite part of our stay in LA (having only spent 2 days there) was the Getty Center. It's a huge complex visitors reach via a train from the bottom of a hill, just near Bel Air. The center has an amazing collection of western art from the middle ages to present. The architecture is amazing and so is the view of LA.

From LA we drove north along the coast and stopped overnight at a charming seaside town called Pismo. The Pismo Lighthouse Suites were just as charming, with their nautical themed rooms and giant chess board.
From Pismo, we followed the stunning coastal route and stopped at San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle, built by extremely wealthy newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. The castle is a celebration of the excesses in Western culture (particularly America) to the point of vulgarity, in my opinion. But breathtaking and fascinating nonetheless!

'Casa Grande', the main house, inspired by a Spanish cathedral.

A couple more hours up the coast, we stopped to meet our San Jose friends at Big Sur, in a beautiful restaurant called Nepenthe. The oceans views from the outdoor bar are spectacular.

We went on to San Jose, which is a charming city. We'd never seen so many gorgeous roses. Everyone's gardens were bursting with colour and fragrance.
Then, to our bemusement, we walked by this shop on a main road.

We also visited the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. I've always had an interest in Ancient Egypt, so I was fascinated to see such an extensive collection of artifacts. Such a grand entrance!

A major highlight of the trip was our overnight stay at Yosemite National Park. Its mountains, falls and magnificent granite peaks are breathtaking. 
This is El Capitan. The photo just does not do it justice!

We stayed at Yosemite Gateway Inn. Check out the reception room!

To end our trip, we spent a couple of days in San Fransisco. This was definitely my favourite part. I just love the feel of the city. It feels alive, vibrant, quirky, historic, and is stunning to look at. Kind of like Sydney!

This is actually a street, too steep to be a straight line! (Lombard St.)

This is hilarious! A man sits on the main drag behind a tree branch and scares unsuspecting tourists for everyone's entertainment. People pay him for it! I guess you could call it busking.

Boudin's bakery served a delicious clam chowder in a bowl made of bread. I've never seen bread quite like this...

To end a great trip, this artwork is on the wall at San Francisco airport as you descend on the escalator. It's called 'Salty Peanuts' by African American artist Mildred Howard. It features dozens of real saxophones (to the dismay of many local musicians). It's a tribute to the history of jazz in San Francisco and it truly captures the essence of San Fran for me.

I hope you enjoyed my California road trip photos! I look forward to hearing of anyone else's travels to this part of the world.


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Thanks for sharing on Soulful Mama ~ Clare x