Travel: California Road Trip


All the way back in December 2014, I embarked on a road trip around California (and Vegas – more on that in a separate post) with my friend Rob. Funnily enough, I’d told him to book his stay in California while we were away on a trip in Milan earlier in the year…. I can admit now that I had my own selfish reasons for encouraging him of course.

America is obviously the country that looms large in all of our lives, whether or not we’ve actually been there or not. This was my first trip to the U.S., and, despite seeing it almost every day in television and films, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there – would it really be as big, bold and brash as you’d come to expect?

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is not so much. Yes, the portions are big, just like the personalities, but it would be unfair to generalise this country in any way… even just the state of California sees vast differences. This trip encompassed San Francisco, San Jose, L.A. and San Diego (lots of Sans).

San Francisco

This is where it all started. I know it’s one of Rob’s favourite places – I don’t know how many times he’d been here by the time I visited, but he knew the place well enough to act as my guide. We stayed in an AirBnB (he’d been there for a month already) and explored the city. This was where we stayed the longest, but I still feel like I barely even scratched the surface of this beautiful city – I’d love to go back again one day.

San JOse

We went on a day trip to San Jose … mainly because we wanted to finally be able to say we really did know the way to San Jose. We took the CalTrain from San Francisco – and when we got back our house-mates asked us why we’d bothered. I have to admit, I knew what he meant – still, every time we hear that song we’ll be able to say “yes,” so that’s something.

L.A.

Poor old Rob had to drive the full twelve (was it twelve, something like that?) hours it took to reach L.A. from San Francisco – but we managed to stop off at some cute beaches along the way. City of stars, we barely scratched the surface of L.A. While I’ll probably always be an East Coast kind of girl, I do quite like Los Angeles – and I’d like to go back again and explore some more. Especially now I can drive – nobody walks in L.A. We did all the clichéd tourist things of visiting the Hollywood sign and walking along the boulevard – well, it’s got to be done. But we also managed to make it to the Getty museum. One particularly memorable night we were supposed to be going out but ended up falling asleep instead due to jetlag – you just don’t make precious memories like that every day. This was also where I visited my first real American diner – I think I had chicken and biscuits (which aren’t biscuits).

Cardiff-by-the-Sea

A special mention has to go out to this little town we stopped in on the way to San Diego. I think Rob had found out about this place when he was at school and was excited to finally get to visit. Safe to say, it’s almost exactly the same as the Cardiff we all know and love… just with more palm trees.

San Diego

It felt quite strange to be walking around in high temperatures in the middle of December, and also to think that we were practically in Mexico while standing in the middle of this city. The gorgeous blue skies and palm trees made for a very appealing city, while the architecture was damn impressive. We came to San Diego to see a gig (I’m not sure why we were so bothered by it at the time, but there we go), so we didn’t spend all that long exploring, but I’d love to go again and have a proper look around one day.

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