As we cancelled the night in Yosemite Lodge, we arrived in Vegas one day early. Because of our arrival on Labour Day weekend, there were no more affordable and luxury rooms available in Vegas itself. 20 minutes outside of Vegas is an artificial lake with an Italian village made of hotels and residential housing. One of the hotels is the Hilton Lake Las Vegas.
We got up early again and after a suprisingly good motel breakfast, we headed off to Yosemite Park. At 7 AM we barely saw another car for hours. Following some internet advice we followed Badwater Road. I must say, it was pretty pretty boring. Sand, rocks and the glarring heat were all we encountered during our 1 1/2 hour drive. We made a quick stop at Golden Canyon, but still exhausted from the Yosemite Hike, we just took a sneak peek.
Continue reading “Death Valley National Park”
After the bustling city of San Francisco we head east to Yosemite Park. We departed at 5:30 AM to avoid the heavy traffic and still found a lot of cars on the Freeway. In around 4 hours we arrived in Yosemite Village and after a quick snack at the Yosemite Lodge, we went for our first trail: Lower Yosemite Falls. Unfortunately as California endures a dry period, there was no water at all. The trail is estimated at 2-3 hours on the Yosemite Park website and we casually walked it in 30 minutes.
After our one hour commute through heavy traffic to Stanford University in Silicon Valley, we can understand that people ride the luxury hipster busses. Stanford University’s main campus stretches over an area of 3,3 ha and is beautiful. With a lot of green and history rich buildings everywhere, you could easily imagine yourself taking some courses here.
Besides the large Chinatown, San Francisco also has Japantown. It’s smaller, streching just over 6 blocks and it’s much more relaxed and clean. The action takes place inside of 3 malls between Filmore St and Laguna St. Japantown is much less tourist focused, than Chinatown. We browsed through shops selling practical household and travel accessories and had lunch at Suzu Noodle House, which was good but not great.
San Francisco has the oldest and largest chinese community outside of Asia: Chinatown San Francisco. Centrally located near the Financial District it stretches around 24 square blocks. At the beginning of Grant Avenue you are greeted by the Dragon’s Gate to enter a world of Chinese restaurants, shops, massage parlors and fortune tellers. Chinatown San Francisco is lively during the day, but the lights are great to look at when it’s dark.
We crossed the Bay Bridge to Berkeley University. Parking was convenient and free in a garage one block away from the campus. Check out Parkopedia for worldwide parking advice. Saved us hundreds of bucks already.
As it’s the beginning of the fall semester, there were dozens of booths for clubs and sorieties looking for new members. There were some really nerdy clubs, which barely had visitors at their booth and really popular ones. They could sense that we were no students, as we were at least 10 years too old. We were only approached by some desperate clubs… The Berkeley University campus is nice with monumental buildings carrying a lot of history.
Having scored tickets for the Alcatraz night tour a few weeks ago, we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf and the piers in the afternoon. We had a whole Dungeness Crab at Pier Market Restaurant on Pier 39. A messy, but delicious feast.
In San Francisco we had an Airbnb Apartment booked for one week. It’s an one bedroom just 15 minutes from Downtown. It has a huge patio, a great modern kitchen, a washer & dryer, a small but modern bathroom and parking right below the house. Everything was fresh and clean except for some pizza slices in the oven… A huge Target market and a Trader Joe’s are just 5 minutes walking distance and plenty of restaurants are withing 15 minutes walking. Uber is available in 2-3 minutes all day & night. There is an emergency room entrance across the street, but we didn’t hear any sirens yet.
Between Carmel and Monterey there are two of the world’s most prestigious golf courses. You can drive along the 17 Mile Drive for $10. You get fabulous views of the golf courses and the coast. But if you were driving up the Highway 1, it’s not really worth the extra 10 bucks. You can only really see the Spanish Bay Golf Course, but not the more famous Pebble Beach.
But first we walked through Monterey to get our daily omelette at First Awakenings. There are some historic buildings left from the days of the fishing boom.