It’s the last day of an action-packed and wonderful week off work, details below.
Thanks to Holly for being as snap-happy as me and letting me borrow some of her shots!
After chaos and project “restructuring” in the office, leaving everyone miserable, dejected and wondering if they will soon need to find another job, taking a week’s holiday was a wonderful escape. Steve’s sister Holly came out to visit us, landing on the Friday, so we had an excuse to be real tourists for seven days and we loved it. Also, Steve and I have now been together for a whole year – a year! Since it was a trip out to California in the first place that brought us together it seems kind of appropriate to be here again now.
Holly seemed surprisingly lively when she arrived, even though she had been awake for something like 30 hours… I am usually a zombie by the time the plane lands when travelling out to the US. On the Saturday we left Steve at home and went out to explore the shops, resulting in us spending about 4 hours trying on incredible dresses in one of the amazing dress shops they have out here. There is nothing like this back in England – they sell disney-style fairy-tale dresses by the dozen. Two of which happily went to us.
On the Sunday we took a trip to the Mystery Spot where the laws of gravity are slightly out (we weren’t overly convinced about this), and then headed down to the boardwalk at Santa Cruz. We tested out the rollercoaster (v good) and on the way home acquired a big pumpkin. We have plans for a large halloween lantern and pumpkin pie…
Yosemite National Park – we finally made it. This place is as incredible as every description of it you will hear. The valley itself is an impressive hideaway between enormous granite walls. It’s peaceful, beautiful, and at this time of year, cold. We shivered in our little wooden cabin for two nights and wore ourselves out on the trails in the day. I don’t think Steve and Holly will ever forgive me for making both of them climb to the top of Sentinel Dome (8117ft). I’m not sure I can forgive myself for deciding to climb to the top of Vernal Falls (644 steps).
We saw a wolf cross the road on the day we left – the first time I have ever seen a wolf in the wild, but despite bear warnings everywhere, the bears all remained hidden. For an excellent site on what to really expect from Yosemite and the real truth on the trails and accommodation on offer, visit www.yosemitefun.com, maintained by a chap called Phil Hawkins and supplemented by lots of photos and comments from Yosemite visitors.
We left Yosemite and drove even further east past Mono Lake, which is just about the most beautiful blue I have ever seen (the photos were shot from the car window and do not represent how amazing it was), and on to the ghost town of Bodie, which was a spooky, frozen-in-time, old American town in the middle of nowhere. After a whirlwind exploration of Bodie we endured a seven hour drive back to the west coast – covering almost the entire width of California (about 270 miles), in one go.
In complete contrast to the previous few days we headed up to San Franciso to see the Golden Gate Bridge, admire the barking sealions and explore Alcatraz.
I swear it’s true – we saw Pierce Brosnan on Alcatraz. He was taking the tour with his wife (I assume?) and a bodyguard dressed in black. A famous person being a tourist – amazing! We also drove up and down the steep and movie-famous streets (Bullitt, The Rock). A gradient of 31.5 in a car feels like you are driving down the side of a cliff, and the novelty for me still hasn’t worn off. San Francisco is really a beautiful city.
Holly flew back to the UK on Friday morning with ambitious plans to be awake enough to go to a party on Saturday night, so we’ve been lazing around at home for the last couple of days, waiting for our muscles to stop aching and catching up on laundry, food shopping and Half Life.
On Saturday night we went to see the San Jose Earthquakes play at the Spartan Stadium. Unlike football in England the game here is much more family oriented with lots of children and mums attending, as well as all the male supporters. They tied 2-2 with Real Salt Lake, ending the season with an undefeated home record (go Earthquakes go!). Now, I have to say it, but although the game was great fun to watch, the standard of football wasn’t as good as it is on English teams. It’s the third football match I’ve been to in my life and I couldn’t help thinking that one of our teams from home would wipe the floor with these guys. We oohed and aahed and cheered them on anyway, and even bought supporters’ shirts/jumpers, mainly because it was so cold in the open air, but it felt good to be wearing the team colour anyway.
Well, after all that, it’s now Sunday, running around having fun goes back on pause, and it’s off to the slave-house again tomorrow (boo).