Tag Archives: Napa Valley

Coastline journey

One week ago the boyfriend and I flew out to Las Vegas to celebrate his big three O. Las Vegas was cool, exactly how you’d imagine it. Casinos, rich men smoking cigars, drunk people, sun (freaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit!!), many many tourists and more. It’s quite the experience. Needless to say, we had a good time and spent way too much money on indulging ourselves. Three days and a tedious flight later we landed in the lovely LA again.

We spent a night in downtown LA and the next day we drove to Pasadena to see one of my friends play at a festival called Make Music Pasadena. It’s a cute festival spread over thee city centre. The crowd was young and it felt kind of like a little music community. Way different from what I’m used to in the Netherlands and even more different from the New York music scene.

After my friend’s gig we got invited to an after party in Los Angeles, but I’ll write more on that in a later post.

Sunday we had a long trip (7 hours!) ahead of us, driving all the way from Pasadena to Sacramento. I don’t know what was going on in my head when I decided I wanted to see the California capital. Everyone whom I spoke to about it said no Elja, don’t do it, it’s ridiculously boring over there. Stubborn as I am we went there and man, were those people right. Every shop was closed, as well as 50% of the restaurants and bars. Sacramento though, is a beautiful town with a lot of trees (it’s called the city of trees) and well maintained parks. But don’t go there, it’s not worth the long drive.

In college I took a wine tasting course and as a hospitality student, there’s no way around going to Napa. We stayed at the Silverado Resort which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. They have tennis courts (we even played there too!), pools, golf courts, a fitness centre, a spa and I’m sure there are more activities we didn’t know about. Their service was outstanding, from check in to check out. Nothing, absolutely nothing to complain about. It was simply perfect.

We also visited a vineyard called Mumm and tried six of their sparkling wines while sitting in the sun and enjoying the scenery. If you like wine and need a little rest from the city life, Napa is the place to be.

And finally, after two weeks we drove to San Francisco. I heard many good stories about this city and of course, seen it in movies. But it was slightly different from what I expected it to be. There are so many homeless people in SF, it’s unbelievable. Would these people be stuck in the seventies and eighties when they smoked weed all day long and do hippie stuff? Also, stylish people were nowhere to be found even though it’s so artistic.

I did have a great time in this part of California. It was super cold because of the fog, but the city itself is charming, musical and there’s lots of stuff to do. The Golden Gate Park is gigantic. It has a science museum, Japanese tea garden, botanical garden and more. I bet summers in San Francisco parks are awesome. I read 4/20 on Hippie Hill (Golden Gate Park) is one of the biggest 4/20 gatherings in the States. So definitely go there if you like your (medicinal) weed.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have to chance to visit Alcatraz as the tickets were sold out until Sunday (we stayed in SF from Tuesday to Thursday). Visit Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill for a view over the city as well as Twin Peaks.

On Wednesday we went to this bar on Van Ness and Hemlock to check out some bands. The first band had potential, but needs a new lead singer. He hurt my ears. The next band was surprisingly good. They’re called Girls in Suede. They had a good energy going on and knew what they were doing. The girl who played the bass also played two songs on a saxophone. When they finished their show, they handed out CDs. Can’t wait to listen to it!

For the next couple of days we didn’t plan anything so we just drove and stopped the car whenever and wherever we wanted to. And so we ended up in Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz, a.k.a. Surf City, is in central California and known for their amusement park (voted the best of the world) and excellent surf spots for every level. The beginner surf spot near the pier was overly crowded so we decided not to rent boards.

Instead, we’re now driving on route 1 by the coast heading south, to our next – still unknown – destination..

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