18th Oct 2016 at 3:40pm I entered California for the first time. It was a little warmer here than in Oregon, but the cold wind. After the city of Dorris there was an inspection station. When I saw it, I did not know, what they will inspect. I actually thought, they won’t let me in with my rusty car. I learned, that they did not care about the car. It was about agricultural products instead. Though I was asked were I have been and what I have with me – fruit, vegetables, plants? I told them, I have not and they did not check it. I was welcomed into California. Later on I understood, that I should have declared the cereals I had with me.
My host in Yakima had told me about Crater Lake and Mt. Shasta, but I did not know, that I would come close to the lake in Oregon. That time, I decided not to take the detour. Now in California I stopped at a view-point – featuring Mt. Shasta. I did not know either, that the snow-capped mountain was Mt. Shasta before I left the car at the view-point and saw the signs. It was very cloudy and it took a while to take a photo showing the top of the mountain. Later on I saw the mountain from another side – in all its beauty.
For more photos of Mt Shasta click here.
I have learned that there are National Forests, State Parks and National Parks in the States, but now I learned that there also are National Grasslands. By the way, one of the places I passed through was called Weed and the business was taking advantage of the name, even the city did not have that plant in their advertising. Around 8pm I came to the Bogard Rest Area, where I had a meal and stayed overnight. Trucks were staying there, too and a stay was restricted to 8 hours.
19th Oct was a sunny, but cold day. I awoke around 4am, because I was freezing. I tried to drive away and warm up by that, but it was a quite thick ice layer on the windscreen as well as the side windows. It took an hour with the engine running before these were clear and I could drive away. I arrived in Susanville half an hour later. I counted almost four gas stations and three of them were open 24/7. In one of them I bought a coffee and a biscuit as well as I used the restroom. This town also had a visitor centre and a museum, but there was no car park, though I drove further. After a while I came to the Gold Lake Rest Area, which was new opened and unfinished. I stayed there for a while and slept in the driver’s seat for 90 more minutes. When I awoke, the sun has risen and it started to become warmer. I dressed and drove further. In Bordertown (which border it may be) i filled my car and had breakfast. The restaurant and bar were pretty decorated for Halloween. I took another rest in Davis Creek Regional Park, where I slept half an hour.
My next destination was Carson City, but to get to know more about it, you have to follow me to Nevada.
National Grassland and Mountains
20th Oct around 11am I was back from my detour to Nevada. The first, which made me aware of it, was the inspection station I had to pass. I have got the same questions at last time: “Where do you come from/have been, do you have fruit, vegetables or plants with you?” I had not and it was enough to answer the questions. My car was not inspected. I continued to Mono Lake. To go there I had to drive on a really steep road. On one point I could stop and take photos of the lake, but it was not better as the photos taken nearby. This lake is actually interesting, not only one of thousands. It is a large, shallow saline soda lake with tufa stones in its surrounding. The sun was not only shining now, but also warming. – For me it seemed unusual that the restrooms were closed, because the area had still a lot of visitors.
Tufa Stones at Mono Lake
For more photos of the Mono Lake and surroundings click here.
The highlight of the day was my visit of the Yosemite National Park. Not far away from the Mono Lake I could already buy the entrance ticket. It was valid for three days and there are campgrounds in the NP. The pass costs $30 and was valid for a car with a whole family. I think there is no need to say anything more about the price.
Long before reaching the visitors centre and the shuttle bus, there were amazing views, e.g. of the Le Vining Canyon,
Le Vining Canyon
the Half Dome
First Sight of the Half Dome
and Cascade Creek Waterfall.
Cascade Creek Waterfall
At the view on the Half Dome I asked a young man with an expensive camera to take a photo of me with my camera. He took it very serious and tried with both my camera and my tablet to shot a good photo, but my devices could not really catch the darker foreground and the sunny background. He gave up after a while. As a fun fact: We met several times at the same points, e.g. close to the Capitan. I drove around and took pictures until it became dark. The Park was crowded and it was not always possible to park, where I wished to park. Finally I also was at the foot of the Half Dome, but unfortunately it was so dark now, that I could not take a photo. I drove to the visitors information, but it was already closed. Furthermore I tried to find out – for the upcoming day, where the shuttle bus departs from, but could not find it. Though I tried to find the campsite, but because of road works and the related detour I could not find it either in the dark.
For more photos of the Yosemite National Park click here.
I had understood that there was another campsite – close to “Le Portal” (one of the Entrances/Exits of the NP), but there was none, only motels and resorts. Disappointed I drove further, hopeful to find a place to stay for the night not far away. I first drove on US-140, but also had to fill my car with gasoline and drove of the highway in Mariposa. I took two trips throughout that town. The first one to find a gas station and the other one, to find the way out of town. On US-140 again a police car came behind with the sirens on, though I drove as much to the side as possible, but the police did not overtake, so I stopped, opened my door going in the direction of the police, which had stopped as well to ask, what’s up. The police officer told me to get back in my car, close the door and open the window instead. I did. He asked for my driver’s license and I handed my German driver’s license out as well as the translation from New Zealand. When he was sure that the translation was related to my driver’s license, he gave me my driver’s license back and studied the translation with the help of his flash light. After has read all the classes I am allowed to drive, he asked me, if I had drunk alcoholic beverages. I asked him: “Me, I don’t drink alcohol.” (I really never do, when I know, I will drive a car – not even the evening before.) He told me now, that I was driving 10mi/h less than the speed limit, that I should have driven zigzag and that my stop lights were not working. I answered him for the speed limit, that it is an old car and the engine does not work good anymore, though upwards the mountains it is not so fast (which was the truth). Anyway he let me continue telling me that the speed limit is 55mi/h and that I should try to hold the car straight on the road.
I really hoped to find a place to stay soon, but first there was a detour and a bus with trailer, which had driven against red light, though nobody could continue on the one lane road – until the driver managed to turn around and later on I had to use US-99. On this highway I suddenly had a truck with an oversize load in front of me. Usually they are accompanied of pilots, but not this one. In addition to that were the lights of his trailer not working. I tried to get him to understand that by using my “light horn”, but he only drove aside a little, so I could pass.
There was no place at all on US-99 either. Though I finally left that highway for Visalia and was happy to find a Walmart car park, even it was a Walmart Neighbourhood shop and only open until midnight – in the USA the Walmart Superstores are open 24/7. On this car park was a private patrol, but they did not bother me and I could get some sleep.
21st Oct I awoke relatively late (around 8am). It was cosy warm and I only had been dressed in one layer during the entire night. All WalMart shops have a McDonald’s in there building, though I had my coffee there. In addition to it, there is also always an ATM, which I used that day. Afterwards I was looking for a library, which I also found, but I had to wait until high noon, before they opened and I could look up a garage to get new stop lights. If you think, I could have done that at McDonald’s, I can tell you, I wished it would be so easy. Unfortunately most of McDonald’s has such an unsecure connection, that my browser does not accept it.
I found Pep’s Boys and got an appointment for 2pm. I was waiting for that small work, but I had to wait for three hours, because they checked not only the stop lights – and it was only one of them, which was burnt out, the other still worked, but found a lot of different things to repair, so also the bolt at one wheel – the one the other garage in Kamloops broke. They even told me, that some liquids were low and offered to check if there are leeks somewhere, but I told them, that I just will fill it up and do not care about more, because I anyway will sell the car soon. After they fixed the bolt – which took most of the time, the mechanic explained to me, that it took so long time, because the underside of the car is only hold together by rust and salt, but it is like welded. At that point I finally decided to scrap the car. I thought it would be unfair to sell it to a private person.
Very hungry and with a Burger King around the corner, I ordered chicken sticks there. I did not really know, what it was, but was open to find that out. I tell you, they were not what I like. It was like chicken nuggets, but as sticks and very spicy. As sticks they also were more fat! I bought it, though I had to eat it. Afterwards I drove downtown for taking a walk and see the city. There was no other option. It was already dark and museums and art galleries closed by the late hour. I was lucky and found a free parking space. I walked the main street in both directions. It was Friday night and people were visiting restaurants, bars and discos. I was somewhat surprised, that the nightlife starts so early here. In Europe people leave their home by the same reason much later in the evening. I found a shop in a trailer, still open, selling old records, but I did not find one of Freddy Quinn. – That night I spent at Walmart again, without any problems. There was also another camper close to me.
22nd Oct also started with a coffee at McDonald’s after I used the Walmart restroom. The most of the day I spent at the library in town, updating my blog and it was up-to-date when I left the library ☺. I still had an hour before darkness and decided to go further. My next stop was Bakersfield, where I stayed overnight at a Walmart Supercenter. I was not the only one that night – see photo above. It has been sunny and warm during the day (t-shirt-weather), but the night was chilly. Bakersfield is known for warm falls, the night temperature did not match that, but it was anyway warmer as in North California.
23rd Oct I drove to the centre of Bakersfield after the usual morning routine. I was looking for a tourist information, but only found a business centre, which was closed. I walked around in the area, which seemed to be the city centre and found funny art objects, but the other part of the area was boring.
Bakersfield – Downtown
For more photos of Bakersfield and surroundings click here.
I left the town for Las Vegas, Nevada, using most of the time US-58 (which melds with US-15 close to Barstow), but with a detour to Mojave and Peggy Sue’s 50′ Diner in Yermo at US-191. Fun-fact I saw a street called: zzyzx road.
Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner, Yermo
For more photos of Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner click here.
About my first time in Las Vegas continue to Nevada.
After my second visit in Las Vegas I came back again to California
I came by a Tuseca bus for only 20 USD on 16th Nov. I had help to find my way of an Italian guy. He had already explained things for me at the bus stop in Las Vegas. He also showed me the way from the bus stop at Maple Street, Los Angeles to the closest Metro station. He told me, the area was not the best for walking around, but we were straight going to the Metro station and had no problems at all. Furthermore he explained the ticket system for me. That was very useful information.
I reached the hostel in Santa Monica, a suburb to Los Angeles, just in time for the pub crawl. I usually do not attend those events, but I felt I need to be with people and that was a good opportunity. In addition to that, I had to know how it really works – not only how I think it works. The leader was Michael, a German guy, very interested in the event. There were different discounts like a Bloody Mary upon ones order or a real discount. I was following to the first pub, where just the Bloody Mary was served. I had a Guinness and ordered french fries. The fries were for 19 USD! Luckily it was a big portion. When the fries were served to me, people at the table thanked me to ordered them. I told them, I had not eaten anything since breakfast and I do not know if I can share with them. I have to get less hungry first. At the end I shared anyway. Even I had some problems to understand all the people at the table, because when it is noisy I cannot distinguish the voices from each other by my hearing aids. The next stop was at a pub with live music. That made the whole thing of conversation more difficult for me. I followed for interacting with people, though I decided to leave and told this Michael as well as the reason for it. He was understanding, which was great. Back at the hostel I tried the Internet, but it had bad performance. Therefore I was going to sleep quite early.
Santa Monica – Beach
Also 17th Nov I awoke already at 6am, but was up at 7am. I had a breakfast with coffee, corn flakes, milk, banana, orange juice and a toasted sandwich with butter – because there was only jam, jelly and peanut butter and I like neither of them. I made my notices before I was going to Hollywood by the underground. I did not inform me very well before leaving the hostel. though I first left the underground at North Hollywood. Actually that is mostly an industrial area, but also the home of the NoHo Arts District and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
I was going back the same way as I was coming and left the underground a second time at the University/Universal City. At Universal studios I spent many hours. The entrance fee was high – the cheapest one was for 115 USD and there were no tickets for seniors. There were other, more expensive tickets, which gave you the allowance to be in the first line to attractions. They were for 160 USD, if I remember right. I think it would be fair to let seniors be in the first line by paying 115 USD only, it would be a nice courtesy. By the way I would not have bought such an expensive ticket (the one for 115 USD) if they did not have had such an unfair policy. All visitors were security checked before coming to the cash points. Well there, I think many decided like me, to pay the entrance fee anyway even it is very expensive. Maybe the movies costs too much money or the Universal studios has to bad liquidity that they have to take such immoral high prices. The area was quite interesting, but not really worth such a high price if you are not a very Harry Potter fan.
The Castle of the Harry Potter Movies
It was already getting dark when I left the Universal studios looking for the Hollywood Boulevard in the hope to see the Hollywood sign for taking a photograph of it. I was too late for it, but was walking on the stars of the stars. I was surprised, that there were even stars for the first men on the moon. Finally back at the hostel I wrote my notices and was using the Internet.
Los Angeles, Stars for the Stars
For more photos of Los Angeles and Santa Monica click here.
18th Nov welcomed me with sunshine. The days before had been foggy and grey. Anyway it has not been cold even it was not t-shirt weather either in Los Angeles. This day I was already up around a quarter past six, dressed and packed my backpack. I had breakfast at 7:30 – they did not serve it earlier and checked out at 8pm. I was going by light rail (“underground”) to China town. I needed to change the route twice. Looking for the bus stop for the Hoang Express I found it easy, because there were already Asian looking people queuing. I was the only none Asian person onboard when we left in Los Angeles. The route was till San José and with a bus change to Sacramento. My destination for the day. Already when boarding every passenger got the “complementary meal”, a baguette and a bottle of water, which was included in the price. Before my bus arrived an employee of the bus company came with a big van, but he was only for managing that right people came onto the right bus, because the first bus was only to San José. The second was San Francisco bound, but people going there and to Sacramento had to change bus close to San José.
California Beside the Highway
It was possible to take some photos of the very beautiful nature we were coming through, even the quality is not the same as without shooting the pics throughout the windows of the bus. The bus was using hwy 5 for the most. I saw a place called Valencia and also Pyramid Lake. We were driving behind the IKEA distribution center, California and I have seen oilfields, grape cultures and apple farms as well as sheep ranches. They were mountain views as well, but mostly rolling hills. At 5pm the bus arrived at the Chinese Outlet in Sacramento. It was a well-organized trip without any problems. I really recommend that company. I reached the hostel by bus 51, finding it by asking a girl on one of the bus stops close by the Chinese Outlet, where I also had eaten a meal.
For more views (photos) from the bus on US-hwy 5, throughout California, click here.
Even the advertising promised me a nice hostel, I was overwhelmed when I well was there. The Sacramento HI-hostel houses in an old Victorian building. The whole building is well maintained and clean. The stuff is service-minded. Even I told them, that I can carry up my backpack on the second floor by my own, the assistant took it up for me by elevator (only the staff is allowed to use that elevator, there is no other in the building). It was a very good atmosphere in the hostel, people really talked with each other and I was meeting a Korean girl, I had met in Los Angeles already. We had not planned to meet again.
19th Nov I took a shower in the morning before I had breakfast. Unfortunately it was raining that day, but what means that – one has just to use the right clothes and all will went well. Even during the breakfast I had a chat with my roommate and another woman, that one in my age. Overall here were more people in my age than in the hostels before, but I also met lots of younger people here. It was a very good mix. I went downtown after breakfast and found a place where I bought a new SD-card for my camera. Unfortunately I did not ask for a micro card, though it was only working in my camera. Unluckily it also was only working for a short while, even I was very careful when I took photos in the rain.
State Indian Museum, Sacramento
My next stop was the State Indian Museum. I cannot learn enough of the live conditions of the Natives. I spent around 5 hours in the little museum. This day I learned a lot about their craft skills. Different tribes use different skills. Some of the tribes were wearing hand crafted hats looking like bowls. I had a meal at a restaurant called Mango and walked then all the way back to the hostel, were I spent the late afternoon, evening and night. It was still raining but cosy at the hostel.
20th Nov I hade again a chat at the breakfast table with two female travellers. Before I did more sightseeing I went to the Greyhound bus station for a ticket to San Francisco. There was no other company serving this route. The assistant gave me first the wrong ticket. Even I had told him, that I will travel the upcoming day, he gave me a ticket for the same day and for a bus, which already had left. He made all efforts to issue me a new ticket, but it took a while and he had to cancel two more tickets, the computer gave him with the wrong date. He got nervous and angry by that. I had a meal at a Subway restaurant, because there were no other close to where I was.
The Capitol of Sacramento
My next point of interest was the Capitol – the house of government of California. I had already visited the Capitol of Utah and even it looks great outside and has a lot of art and marble the Californian one was more beautiful in my opinion. I took lots of photographs and spent too many hours there, though it was already dark when I reached Old Sacramento, the part of the city with the old and original buildings from the time of the gold rush. Anyway I took some photos of this place.
Sacramento by Night
My feet did hurt, when I was back at the hostel. I cannot remember that they did hurt so much before. The rest of the evening I was sitting on my bed. I charged the batteries for my camera and was on the Internet as well.
21st Nov I had such a nice breakfast company again! This time it was an American woman as well as one from the UK. The last-named had already travelled by herself in the 1970s and been in China and Vietnam. She has sold her apartment and is living in hostels, too, when she is at home in the UK. We were also talking about liberalism. I checked out at 9:40am and was going to the Greyhound bus. It was not the closest place to go to, but by having done it once the day before already it was a little easier even I had my big backpack with me. I did not hurry and arrived at the bus station at 10:20am. The bus was for 11:30am and we had to line up inside the bus station.
For more photos of Sacramento click here. – I am sorry for duplicates and bad photos as well as that the photos are not sorted.
Welcome to San Francisco
The ride did not offer any special view and fortunately no problems either. Arrived in San Francisco I had to walk around with both my backpacks, because my couchsurfing host I have got for two nights will not be at home before late. It was not so easy to find out from which place the bus to his home will go. I had help of my GPS. When a bus arrived it was so crowded and many passengers had trolleys, suitcases or backpacks with them. A mother with her child in a buggy was also in the bus. Another one tried to enter, but was denied. However there was a will to get it work. All the people were very friendly. I left the bus at the right bus stop and had to walk up for a steep hill to come to the house, were my host rented an apartment. The stairs to his home were partly outside the building. The home was under the roof, but very nice. He was one of the gay guys, who also welcome women and I am very keen in these kind of hosts. They have always nice and clean homes and are very polite. He offered me a dinner and we had a chat about couchsurfing and also about refugees. We did not have the same opinion and he told me, that he has been in Afghanistan (I think it was – anyway in a country a lot of refugees are coming from) and had insider information, he told me. He also defended the war in Vietnam (1955 to 1975) while I told him, that I was demonstrating against it in the 1960s. Once again: The world and even the politic is not black and white. Later the evening I tried again to find a host in San José.
Dawn in San Francisco
22nd Nov I was up earlier than my host. We had breakfast after he had taken a shower. While he was going to work I was going downtown. My destination was the Muir woods, a recommendation from my host and a place off the beaten path. Before going further from downtown I had a second breakfast at the Market Plaza. Unfortunately there was no way to go to the Muir woods without a car, but in July and August every year, which I first saw, when I already was more than halfway. The good thing was, that the bus I took in the direction of the Muir woods was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and I have got a first impression of that masterpiece of engineering. I had to walk a while before I found a bus stop for the way back to town. This afternoon I had a meal at “Zippy’s” – a first class hamburger restaurant. I had not spent so much money on meals the day before, therefore I allowed it myself. While looking for a bus stop for the route 12 I had to use a restroom and got another example of the kindness of the Californian people. I saw a house with a welcome desk, still manned. It might have been a company’s complex or an apartment house for well situated people. I asked there for a restroom and I was allowed to use theirs!
The Other Side of San Francisco, Seen from the Golden Gate Bridge
I was finally back at my hosts home around 8pm and listened to my mp3 music while waiting for my host. He was to a dinner, which he was invited to since a long time ago. He came home around 10pm and we had a nice chat again. This time about American, especially Californian culture. He told me, that the people living here usually are relaxed and kind as well as they are helpful.
23rd Nov I had to move to a hostel, because my host could not have me stay for longer, but that we agreed already before I arrived. Before leaving I asked him for a post office and he explained for me, where one was not too far away from his home and the next bus stop. Well posted my postcards I was going by bus and tram to the Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel. That is also an interesting hostel, because it is in two of the buildings on the former United States Army post. There are different companies on the abandoned fort. The hostel has a bedroom with 24 beds as well as bedrooms with less beds. The prices at hostels in the USA are higher than in the other countries I was travelling so far, though I took always the cheapest beds I could get. It felt like being on a school trip, when I entered the 24-bedroom, but it was OK. I did not hear anyone snore and only a couple of guys had a discussion at 3am the first night and was disturbing us, but I was soon falling asleep again. At this hostel I met the woman from the UK again.
San Francisco HI-Hostel Fisherman’s Wharf
I took photos of the Golden Gate Bridge from the ground of the hostel and was then walking towards the bridge, but did not come so far. On the way back I was entering a supermarket buying some cheese and other food.
24th Nov the people in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving. The weather was sunny with some clouds from time to time, but it was chilly. Directly after breakfast I walked to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked the Bridge in both directions. By the public holiday a lot of people were doing that as well or part of it. Before I reached the bridge I had to choose one of two different path to the bridge and decided to take the one, which also had a sign for restrooms. On that one I had to pass through a kind of tube, made of bricks. It had two different sizes. The later part was lower. In front of this second part there was a dirty pool, which I tried not to go through. I did not, but I bumped my head in the lower part of the tube and so hard, that I nearly fell. People behind me, cared about, that I did not. It did hurt on the outside an inside of my head ;-).
Another View of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Even the Golden Gate Bridge is a sightseeing “must do” and everyone is going there, I found it special, too. That was another landmark I had seen so many times on TV. To be there was amazing and more amazing it was, when I read the sign about it with the description about the earthquake safety. Anyway I would not like to stand on the bridge during an earthquake even it might be the safest place in the area.
View from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
On my way back I met the woman from the UK on a bench close to the hostel. We were talking about the free Thanksgiving Meal at the City Center HI-Hostel (there is one more in town), but she told me, that she won’t attend because it has an Mexican Theme. I was disappointed as well, but I decided anyway to go. I already had signed up for it. I did not know how much I was able to eat of that meal, though I had a cheese snack before I left for the celebrating meal. I arrived 15 min early and asked the stuff, where the dinner will be and he was quite rude, when he answered. We were many people from the three HI-hostels in San Francisco and there was not a lot of space in the breakfast room. Though the staff told us, that we hade to spread in the whole hostel. I was happy, that I did get a place in the breakfast room. First I shared the table with another woman from the Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel, but she did leave early. She was travelling together with her grown up son and she told me, that one of them pay all the tickets and the other one the rest. She was one more of the people, who told me, that I am brave. When she had left two couples from the Downtown HI-hostel joined the table. One of the girls was from Norway (Stavanger). I think it was the first Norwegian I met during my year of travel. These travellers and me had the usual conversation like “Where do you come from”, but these travellers were mostly talking with the others in their group. – I also met the Korean girl again. She was staying at the City Center Hostel.
The Thanksgiving dinner was a soft tortilla filled with potato mash, small pieces of turkey, beans and more. The staff of the hostel did fill the tortillas, but we could choose if we want all of the fillings or not. That was overall the way people served food in North America – also my helpx hosts did that, but a few. It was so strange to me. The tortilla got so much food on it, though it was hard to roll and the filling was too wet for being comfortable with it. Fortunately I still had my teaspoon and had that with me. It was really the best way to eat the filling with the teaspoon and the bread after that. Before I left – already at 6:45 – the staff of the inviting hostel told us, that they had made the dinner as a gift for us and they would be happy if we would donate some money for the homeless in the area. Most people left just one USD, I left more. I was thinking about, what I had to pay for a dinner somewhere else.
Going back to my hostel by bus was more easy than when I came. I had not to change the bus and the last stop of it was “North Point”, where I had to leave to walk the rest to the hostel. Before I was going to the building with the big bedroom, I took a look into the lounge in the main building. I hoped to find the woman from the UK there, but I did not. The one I met at the Thanksgiving dinner introduced me to her son instead. After a short chat I was leaving for the other building. I used the Internet – mostly I was writing a little more on my blog, but first I tried again to find a host for San José and Tijuana. There were a couple of Americans living and hosting in Tijuana, but they had no bed for me.
25th Nov started with a cold and cloudy morning, but what does it matter. I was anyway on my way further. I left at 9:30 after having a breakfast. This breakfast was not so bad. There was coffee, tea, milk, cereals, bread, butter and jam as well as fruit. The surprise here was the way they made the dishes. There were “stations” for rinsing the dishes, washing the dishes and sterilize them. I had never seen that before. Maybe they have had problems with the hygiene at the hostel before. I walked with my backpacks to the Fisherman’s Wharf, bought a new note-book and took some photos. At the Pier 33 I took a streetcar to the stop “Market”, which is the last stop of the streetcar and close to the Market Plaza. The driver told me, that I had to walk the Main Street for two blocks for the Greyhound Station. I was lucky and happy, that he could give me the directions. Often the drivers do not know more than their own stops and places, not at their route, not at all.
Fisherman’s Wharf Souvenir Shop
For more photos of San Francisco (sorry about all the pictures of the bridge, I can not decide, which is the best) click here.
I arrived at 11:20am at the Greyhound station and checked in my baggage, but had to take it to the bus by myself, though I had to take it with me all the time. I wrote my notes, had a meal and wrote postcards as well. They are still relatives, who do not have Internet. One of them is my only aunty from my mother’s side. She was born in the late 1920s and is living at a nursing home. Because I did neither find a couch nor a hostel in San José I had booked a room at the Granada Inn. The hotel was not either in San José, but in Santa Clara – anyway in the Silicon Valley. From the Greyhound bus stop in San José I had to go by a public bus to Santa Clara. When I was asking for the price, the driver told me: “$2 and from 65 §1”, but I did understand that I had to pay 1.65 USD. He told me, it was $2 and I answered him, that I am 66 years old. He did not say anything more.
Granada Inn, Santa Clara
At the Granada Inn I was confused about the way they charge or do not charge for the room. I have got the confirmation email two days before and there was written about the prepaid amount. During the booking process I had to give my credit card no. Though I thought, the actual amount was already charged. I ask them for wi-fi to check my account. It was the way she told me, that it was not and I had to puy at arrival. I finally did, but told them, there should be an “if” in the sentence about prepaid. I relaxed in the hotel room and tried to drink some water, but it was looking milky, though I decided to buy bottled water instead. I also tried to fix my new SD-card by drying it on the heating, but without success.
Furthermore I booked a room at a hotel in Tijuana by http://www.booking.com. I was using that site because I won’t have a room in a hotel, which is renting out for hours. I thought all the hotels on that booking site were respectable – I have used that site before. The booking was with free cancellation until 6th December, that means the day before I was going to that place. I also continued to try to find a couchsurfing host in Tijuana. Later I downloaded the photos from the SD-card, which is not recording photos anymore. I was very happy that I bought a camera with wi-fi. I had never used it before and thought, I will learn how to do when I am back in Sweden, but now I had to read the instructions and actually it was very easy after I installed the app for it on my device. Unfortunately the photos do not come in the original quality (size), though I kept the card and hoped for better luck back home.
The last thing for the day was a chat via Skype with a man in San Diego, who told me, that he will decide if he will host me after that chat. I did not put on the video, because I think for couchsurfing it is not important how someone looks like. We chatted around 10 min and afterwards he sent an email and declined. I do not know what he expects of a couchsurfer, but anyway not what I think couchsurfing is about like it seemed.
26th Nov was the day I was willing to spend at Silicon Valley. I ate breakfast in the hotel – the one which was included and served in the hallway. There were only disposable dishes and cutlery. The offered breakfast was plastic-coated bread / cakes, yogurt with jam, eggs, butter, jam, coffee, tea and bananas. The room was quite expensive, because I paid as usual for two persons. Though I took two cakes for a second breakfast with me.
I found on the Internet, that there were two museums (kind of): The Intel museum in Santa Clara and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. I would have liked to visit both, but decided to start with the Computer History Museum. I had to take a bus there, which was not going very often. I arrived around noon or maybe it was already a little later. The museum was open until 5pm. Even I know a lot of the history of computers and I have been working with Punch Cards, it was interesting. Unfortunately I could not see all of the exhibitions unhurried. The “nowadays” department I just walked through. I was hungry and the only restaurant resp. café was a Starbucks. I ordered an Italian Style bread, but the sales assistant understood me wrong and took paid for a bagel with cream cheese. When he tried to give me the bagel, I told him, that I had not ordered it, but the size of the Italian Style bread I ordered, was not available anymore. He offered me a similar one, but smaller. It was with ham and hamburger and he did not take more paid for it as I already had given. I also ordered a pumpkin latte – the hip drink at that time. It was delicious!
The Computer Museum at Mountain View, detail 😉
At the bus stop of the bus 32 – a couple of km from the museum and café – I was waiting and waiting for the bus. Some people passed me, but that does not need to say anything. That bus should go in one hour and my GPS told me all the time, that it will go in 51 minutes. Though I understood, that there will not be more buses in the evening. Therefore I walked to the street “El Camino Real”. Fortunately I asked at a junction at a gas station for the right direction, because I would have chosen the wrong one. I also crossed a shopping area with beautiful Christmas lights. Here buses still were going and I was waiting for one of them, because I was a little tired of the long walk. I was back at the hotel at 10pm and to tired for the update of my blog, but I checked my emails and was looking for if I have got an answer from a host.
27th Nov after the hotel breakfast I checked out at 10am. I had taken two cakes and a banana for later that day, too. My destination was Santa Barbara. I walked to the train station “Great America”. As usual I started to walk in the wrong direction, but discovered my mistake after a while and was walking back one block. Partly I used the San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail.
Santa Clara – San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail
For more photos of “Silicon Valley” click the links for Santa Clara and Mountain View.
I walked for two hours, but was anyway one hour early for the train. The “Great America Station” was under a highway, buses were also going from there, but it was not a real station, just a stop. There was no restroom and no kiosk. In addition to that, the train was late. The announcement was first for 10 min, but was increasing all the time. Finally the train was around half an hour late. I had to change to a bus in San José. Fortunately I had booked the whole trip by Amtrak and they guaranteed that the bus will wait for this train. All the passengers in the same direction as me hurried to catch the bus, but it took time to load both passengers and luggage. We also had to wait for disabled passengers, who was driven to the bus in a special carriage. Though the bus was more than 30 min late, too, when it started. We were told that the bus should go directly to Santa Barbara, but it had to stop for some passengers on other destinations. The 1st stop was in Groover Beach, here we also had to change to another bus. That was not so bad, because the bus driver of the first bus had the AC on, so it was very cold in the bus. Neither the wi-fi was working nor the restroom. In addition to that I have got the impression that he was close to falling asleep – falling in the direction of the steering wheel. The other bus felt warmer and safer and the wi-fi as well as the restroom worked. There was a long queue to the restroom when we started in Groover Beach. The other two stops were in Santa Maria and in Solvang (a Danish village!). The woman on the next seat told me, that Santa Maria has been a very good place to live, but is not safe anymore. There had been 10 murders during the last year.
I had got an email from the hostel in Santa Barbara, where I had booked a bed and I emailed them back, though they knew that I was on my way. We arrived in Santa Barbara 30 min late and I walked to the hostel with the help of my GPS. Actually it directed me throughout an industrial area, which did not feel very safe and was quite dark. I have got a pretty nice welcome at the hostel. One of the guests was Paul from Ireland, he asked me for joining the group for a beer, but I was too tired after that trip.
The Hostel in St Barbara
We talked a little about my trip the next morning, 28th Nov. Unfortunately he was on his way to leave, otherwise we had talked for longer. He was so impressed of my story! The hostel only had free coffee/tea. Though I had a coffee and a banana for breakfast. Afterwards I walked to the “House of Laundry”, because the hostel did unusually not have a laundry. I counted 40 dryers at that place, there were more washing machines and of different sizes, four of them were top-loaded. They also had two very big washing machines for blankets and similar stuff. In addition to that there was a vending machine for detergent and a money changing automat, where one could change dollars into quarters. On the opposite side of the dryers was a bench, were one could fold its clean clothes. The whole place was very clean and the washing machine as well as the dryer were fast. It took just 30 min each. One load of clothes was for $3.50 to wash in the top-loaded machines and $1 to dry. The detergent was for $0.75. That was one of the cheapest laundries where I ever had washed my clothes. The manager of the laundry was a female Mexican and nearly all the people, who were doing their laundry here were Mexican as well – both women and men. I left my clean clothes at the hostel and was going for brunch.
On my way to the hostel I had seen some restaurants, snack bars and grocery shops serving light meals. The one I thought, I would like to try was not open this day. Though I chose Mitchells instead and ordered a ham, egg and cheese burrito and a hot chocolate, which was dark and very sweet. The burrito was very big. It was actually too big for me. Happy for the great laundry and the good brunch I walked to the beautiful beach and the harbour. The harbour seemed to me be very small, but there was a Cruise ship anyway. When I had enjoyed the beach and looked at the waves for a long while, I took the streetcar downtown – for seniors it was for a quarter – and was window seeing. I also bought a new San Disk SD-card in a camera shop. The shop assistant also came with a bigger one, but I told him, that I need a little one with an adapter. He understood and told me, it is a micro-card. I also asked about, what to do, if that card would not work and he told me, that I could send it to the shop if I am not longer in Santa Barbara.
A Destination for Cruises
When I was walking back to the hostel it was dark and I was still not hungry. I organised my belongings, wrote my notes and used the Internet for looking for a couchsurfing host, checking my emails and writing my blog. There was a McDonald’s very close to the hostel. Around 9pm I had a meal there. Back at the hostel I was going to sleep.
29th Nov I had to wait for a vacant bathroom. It was almost 8am until I was lucky and could wash my face etc. Meanwhile I was waiting I finished the 19th Oct (California and Nevada) on my blog. After I dressed I was going for a brunch to Mitchells again. The sales assistant remembered that I do not speak Spanish, but English. That felt great. I ordered an other kind of breakfast with a coffee and it was very much this time, too. Well done I walked to the Pier of Santa Barbara. There are mostly restaurants and souvenir shops, but the buildings are nice and it has an interesting history. Afterwards I continued to the nearby beach and enjoyed the sunny day. I walked back to the hostel before dark. Actually I walked partly different streets all the time from and to the hostel. Though I collected more impressions, learned what a Desalination Plant is and have seen the El Presidio de Santa Barbara.
El Presidio de Santa Barbara
I checked the bus to the train station for the upcoming day, because I will go further to San Diego. I found out, that I can take a bus at 7:34 from Monecido Street/Milpas Street. Afterwards I wrote my blog again.
For more photos of Santa Barbara click here.
30th Nov I arrived early at the bus stop and caught a bus at 7:15am. That one did go downtown, but not very close to the Amtrak station. Anyway it was a big help on my way there. It is much easier to walk with my backpack in downtown than outside that area. I checked in my luggage as soon as I arrived at the station and it was a real check in. I had not to care about the big backpack until I left the train at my destination, San Diego. Without the big backpack I was to a nearby restaurant for breakfast. It was a little more expensive, but it was OK. Also this train was 30 min late. There was no wi-fi on board, though I concentrated on the landscape, which I could see from the window.
Arriving in San Diego, I read the very big letters “Santa Fé”. First I thought I had left the train too early – at the wrong train station and I was not really sure I was on the right place until my San Diego host picked me up. He was a little late. I did know, that they had a meeting before they will pick me up and I did not matter about the late arrival. It was just, that I was thinking about, that I might be on the wrong place and they will not find me. There was no wi-fi and I was not able to call them, either.
Train Station Santa Fe, San Diego
Doug, my host for two nights, picked me up at 5:30pm and took me to his and his wife home outside San Diego. On the way he explained a lot, even that people in California are warm and hug a lot. He also did som shopping in a food outlet. He told me, that the shop sometimes sell e.g. beer from a branch for a while and later on they do not have it anymore because the brewery closed. He told me, that this kind of supermarkets are special for the USA. After more than two month in the States I did not know they exist. At home I also met his wife Alice. They are both around 70 years old and only take mature travellers. After a chat about where we travelled and our goals, they invited me for dinner. It was boiled ham, broccoli, potatoes and apple sauce. Alice attended a Spanish lesson on “duolingo” and I did get the wi-fi password. I went to bed, with a free magazine about San Diego.
1st Dec I spent together with my host and they were very keen to show my their daily life. The are engaged in lots of different communities like the zoo and museums. We ate breakfast together around 8:15am, between 9am and 11am I walked the beach and took a special photograph as well.
San Diego Beach
Around 11:45am my host and me were going by car to a park and continued from there to the nearby Mingei International Museum for an exhibition about Japanese tools of art. My host had organised a personal guidance for me. It was about tools, used for art, where the tools themselves had become art. It was a very interesting exhibition with an engaged female guide. At 1pm it was time for the San Diego Museum of Art and the exhibition about Louis Kahn – the power of architecture. Even that exhibition was very interesting.
San Diego Museum of Art
Between 2:15pm and 3:30pm I had time for myself and my host showed me a street with lots of special restaurants, where I could choose one and eat (on my expenses). They picked me up there again, exactly at Buddy’s Diner. Another restaurant with an interior from the 1950s and 1960s. The next stop was the University where the American – Chinese friendship community (unfortunately I do not remember the exact name) had invited for a panel discussion about the pollution in China and the work to bring it down. There were mostly Asian people among the listeners. Some of them asked questions when it was allowed. At the end of the debate there was a reception with snacks and something to drink. Cheese, fruit, vegetables, crackers, cookies as well as water, tea and coffee was offered. It was enough for us for not needing another meal soon.
At 7pm we were back at Doug and Alice’s home – even I had bought eggs and cheese for next days breakfast. They ask me for some help with their plates (dishes), which I was occupied with meanwhile they had a discussion with their tenant about the rent – it has to be made once a year, they told me. They are very generous to their tenants by offering electricity for free – the have sun panels on the roof and do not pay for their electricity either, but to install the sun panels has not been for free.
It seemed the discussion with the tenant was not complicated. Anyway I had got time to make notes about my expenses and check my photos. Before going to bed I was offered a soup and we had a chat about ants, because there was one or two in the bathroom. My hosts were not night birds. though we said good night around 10pm.
2nd Dec I had to make a Spanish omelette for breakfast. I always offer a meal on my expenses for the generosity of the host to give me shelter and often also breakfast. In this case they had offered more than that, though I was happy about that they wanted me to make a Spanish omelette for them. Anyway I could not make it original, because they asked for making it by pre-boiled potatoes because they did not like to have them fried like the Spanish people do.
Old Town San Diego – Ceramics
After breakfast I had to leave my host, because it was agreed, that I only will stay for two nights. Though I took bus no 8 to the “Old Town” of this city and changed to the Green Line Trolley. I was going all the way to the Convenience Center, walked then to my hostel on 3rd Ave (Gaslamp Quarter), which had the simple name: “Hostel on 3rd”. I chose it, because it was cheaper than the HI-hostel, close to it. Even I was early it was no problem to leave my luggage and I also was told where the restroom was. I was going to the harbour, but visited the “World market” before. I just had to go there, because the name was so exciting to me. It really was an interesting supermarket. I even found original Swedish pepparkakor (ginger bread) and Glögg (mulled wine) here, even the part of German Lebkuchen (a special sort of Christmas cakes) and Stollen (another kind of Christmas cake) was much more than the Swedish one. In addition to that there were really things from all over the world, partly food, partly things. I could not leave with nothing, therefore I bought a bar of chocolate – my favorite one, the Ritter Sport.
I did not find the harbour as easy as I expected, because of the high buildings like the Convenience Center, the hotels etc. When I have got the direction, I found my way through. A police officer had told me, that I have to use stairs to come there, but I found another solution – without any stairs. At the harbour I sat on a bench enjoying the sun. I also listen to music of my mp3-player. After a while I walked further and came to the Seaport Village, which only has restaurants and souvenir shops.
You name it
When it got dark I walked back to the hostel and some minutes later I was out for a meal. I was not willing to spent very much money for it, though I was looking for a supermarket. I only found a Convenience shop, where I bought a salad. I walked back to the hostel and had my meal in the kitchen of it. There I met the Korean girl again! This time we got more time to chat. She told me, that she already had been in Tijuana (se Mexico) and that the town felt safe for her. I was the only one in the 4-bedroom and wrote my blog until 11pm.
3rd Dec I did not have time for breakfast. Doug and Alice had offered me to bring me in the San Diego Zoo for free and they told me, that it was a special one I had to visit. Usually I do not go to zoo:s anymore, because I visited so many during my life and have seen a lot of the “good ones”, too. I mean zoo:s where the animals are not in small cages. The first of that kind I have seen was “Hagenbecks Tierpark” and I was a teenager. I do not know a zoo with small cages in Sweden, all I have seen give the animals as much space as possible. I trusted my host, of course, that the San Diego Zoo was different. Unfortunately I did not find that. Anyway I enjoyed some hours in the Zoo
A Panda at the Zoo
and visited afterwards the Bilboa Park again (I had been there before – with my host). I strolled through the Artist Village and had a Bratwurst (German sausage) close to it. I also tried Korean K-noodles and a Columbian cake. All was delicious. This weekend was called the “Balboa Park December Nights” and lots of museums were for free, even some of them were only for free after 5pm, These museums were nearly empty daytime and people were queuing in front of the doors during the evening. Actually I only visited the smaller ones, they were:
- The Museum of Photography
- Railway Museum
- Museum for San Diego History
At the Museum of Photography
Thre Railway Museum
Museum for San Diego History
Furthermore there was an exhibition about Christmas trees and a dance competition. I also have seen an advertising for an exhibition about the “Painted Desert”. I would have liked to visit it, but I had not time enough for it.
Christmas Tree Competition
Christmas Dance Competition
I walked back to the hostel around 9pm. I was first thinking to take a bus, but there were so many people waiting for it and lots of other people walking, that I decided to walk, too. I thought I will have company all the way back to the hostel, but the most of the people found their destination soon. A man was crossing the street to talk with me. Actually I was a little afraid, that he would be violent, but he was not at all. He was just looking for a chat.
The 4th Dec started good with free breakfast (cereals, milk and pancakes with maple syrup) and a chat, followed by a short walk to a nearby supermarket were I bought some salad, 2 cheese roles (for $1), 1 banana, almonds and dried papaya. All this for ca $8.50, tax included. I walked back to the hostel, left the salad and the most of the dried papaya there before I took the trolley to the “Old Town”. The weather was beautiful again (sunshine with a few clouds), but a little chilly. I walked the streets, took photographs, was window seeing as well as I visited a lot of shops and most of the museums. I ate one of the cheese roles, I had bought in the morning and had water as well. I was aware, that I could not buy anything, because I have nearly run out of money. The little I had left I needed for food and accommodation. I think it is neither a crime to be short on money nor to avoid to donate money even the project is asking for it or have a picnic. The Sheriff’s was at the end of the area. However I would not have visited it, if I had been aware that I could be jailed.
My First Time in Jail
Nevertheless all went well, because the “Old Town” of San Diego is a State Park – a historic town. For my Swedish readers: It is like “Gamla Linköping”. The other readers may read about “Old Town San Diego State Historic Park“. The Sheriff at the Sheriff’s Museum is a retired sheriff and I agreed to go into the cell for a photo shot. Though I was free after less than a minute again.
The Sheriff’s Museum
I continued throughout the museum with opportunities like sitting on a police motorcycle, in a police helicopter or a police car and start the sirens and lights as well. It takes time, especially for me, to read all the facts and see some of the movies about work, which was done and the nowadays kinds of police work, e.g. could I read about the S.W.A.T. of San Diego. I did neither know nor realise before, that nearly every town in the States has one. San Diego, close to the Mexican border, has had a big drug scene. The county has also had school shootings and a mass suicide. I did not have time to sit in one of the named equipments, but put on a bulletproof vest. It was quite heavy!
The Yard of the Sheriff’s Museum
When leaving the museum it was already dark outside and I had close to half of the buildings left. Some of them I just passed, but there was a plaza with Mexican restaurants and shops (not the only of its kind) and a stage. People were dancing on the plaza to the instrumental and vocal music. The shops around the plaza were beautiful decorated.
San Diego Old Town – Shop
Even a chorus of a church started singing not far away. The sang in Latin. I knew the song, but could not remember the Swedish text. I left soon and took the trolley back to the hostel, where I ate my salad and the other cheese role before I started writing my blog again.
When I left my seat in the hostel’s kitchen I became aware of something dark behind my chair. I looked closer and saw, that it was a wallet. Though I picked it up and looked inside if there was a driver’s license or something else, which could identify the owner – and there was. Soon I had given the wallet back to a very happy and grateful owner. He already had told his wife by phone, that he had lost it and she was not happy, of course. I finally used the Internet this evening, too and was to bed around 11pm.
Even 5th Dec I had breakfast at the hostel and I ate a lot. I was tired from the day before, though I spent time on the Internet instead making some sightseeing. After lunch I explored the Gaslamp Quarter and took some photographs. I also found a very nice mall (The Westfield Horton Plaza) before I walked back to the hostel. On my way I bought additional food in a supermarket. I was already back before dark. My evening meal consisted of tortillas with Philadelphia Cheese and bell pepper. – I had bought them in the Old Town the day before and they were already from the other day before. I bought 12 pieces for $3 – it was not possible to buy less. They were not as fresh as new, but not bad either.
The Gaslamp Kvarter
Even this evening I was on the Internet again, but it was hard to upload my new photos, because the Internet was very slow. It took such a long time for the upload, that I was to bed at 3pm.
6th Dec I awoke as usual even I was to bed late the night before. While eating breakfast I had a chat with Maureen from Kenya. She told me, she had been in Tijuana several times and she had never had a problem. She also told me, that she felt save there. I had a shower before I was walking the town again. This time I was to “Little Italy” and the Embarcadero (Harbour). Close to the harbour, exactly at a playground with a Boccia ground near the City Administration building, I ate the lunch I had taken with me. Just before I used a big swing on the playground. A couple with a little boy where smiling, when they saw me – and I smiled back. After my lunch I continued along the waterfront and took some nice photographs.
I was back at the hostel at 3:30pm already. Though I used the Internet and prepared for my trip to Tijuana including downloading the map for Mexico for my GPS, so it also works offline. In the evening I have got two new roommates – a mother and her daughter. They came from two different directions and met in San Diego. They were from Quebec, actually from Quebec City – but both spoke English well. They had an upper and a lower bed, but was sleeping in the lower one both of them.
Welcoming Home After a War
For more photos of San Diego click here.
7th Dec I was up quite early, because I thought it will be to crowded at the border to Mexico if I am coming there later during the day. I took the trolley and had to change the route (from the red line to the blue line), but there was no problem. In the second trolley I saw a lonely backpack close to my feet, though I asked with high voice if someone owns it. Nobody told me, that he or she does. Therefore I was going to the driver telling him. He did not say anything to me, but was taking contact with the police. He drove the trolley further as scheduled. Just when the police was coming for the backpack, the young man, who had offered me his seat, came and took the backpack. I was wondering why he did not say a word before, that it was his.
When reaching the Mexican border, it was already crowded. About the border control and my three days in Mexico you can read by following this link.
10th Dec I was back from Mexico around 11am and had planned to go to Temecula by Greyhound bus, where my brother Gerhard and his wife will wait for me, because there was no bus to Murrieta on weekends, where they are living, but a local bus from Temecula and that one was only once an hour.
With my US note of 20 dollars I tried to buy a ticket back to the center of San Diego, but the ticket machine did not accept it, because it would only give back up to 15 USD. I was looking around for a shop, but did not see any. On the contrary I found a money exchange counter. I know, that they are not for giving change, but I explained for the female assistant and she was so kind and gave me 4 X 5 USD for my 20 USD-note. Now I had to find the trolley. Actually from the place where I arrived there were only buses, though I walked in the direction the sign was showing the trolley station is. It was quite far and I had to cross a bridge (the one over the Highway from San Diego to Tijuana). I was happy, when I arrived at the trolley station and had to wait some minutes for a trolley, because I bought a ticket under the waiting time.
I had to go to the trolley stop Imperial / 12th Street to catch a Greyhound bus for Temecula. Before I left San Diego by the Greyhound bus, I had to wait for hours. I was early, because I did not know how long time it would take at the USA border, coming from Mexico. It was a Saturday and I was expecting a longer queue and did not know either, that the border control was so good organised. Around the Greyhound bus station, which was not easy to find – I actually had to ask for it, I could not see any supermarket or convenience shop in the surroundings and I was not in the mood to walk around with my big backpack to find one. Unfortunately there was no vending machine at the Greyhound station either, therefore I was without food and worse, without water until I arrived at my brother’s home.
My backpack was weight (it was still under 20 kg) and checked in. That meant, it got a label and I had to take care for it until entering the bus. The security guard asked me for opening my little backpack, because he had to take a look, what I carry with me (so it was not a bomb, I guess), but he neither checked my cooler bag nor my cosmetic bag. I opened the plastic bag with my charger and the cables for my devices. That was it. The security guard told me, that it will be a long waiting time and I agreed. I had no other opportunity. By the way, that waiting area was open, with other words: It had a roof, but no walls – just low fences. Anyway there was heaters under the ceiling (see above).
Temecula / Murrieta
It was already dark, when I arrived in Temecula, somewhat late. My brother and his wife were waiting for me and I hardly did recognize them. My brother has got really white hair and a white beard as well. His wife was looking very old and thin (she actually do not weight more than 40 kg and she is taller than me). I would not have recognized her, if she would have been waiting for me without my brother, but it is more than 20 years ago we have met each other. After a big hug, they fortunately drove directly home to their place, when they heard that I have not eaten or drunk something since breakfast. I was soon offered a delicious meal. My brother and me were chatting until 4am!
11th Dec I awoke already at 7am, but was up at 9:30 together with my brother and his wife. Anyway I had to wait for breakfast until 10am – guess I was hungry. I have got porridge with Swedish lingonberries and a bit of “Apfelstrudel” after that. My brother did find the Swedish lingonberries just some days before in an American supermarket and his wife did find the “Apfelstrudel” at a bakery close, where they live. My sister-in-law and my brother were chatting by Skype with her son, who still lives in Germany. During the day we did nothing special, but when it became dark, we were going by car to a special street in Murrieta, where most of the neighbours had decorated their houses and gardens with Christmas lights and figures. The lights were turned on between 6pm and 10pm and the good thing was, that the neighbours asked for Christmas gifts for children, who would not get any otherwise. Lots of people were walking around on the streets and enjoying the lights and the bright ideas these neighbours have had, even there was no official advertising, just mouth to mouth information. Unfortunately I do not know, if there were some Christmas gifts left for the poor children, but I hope so.
At my brother’s home again, we had an evening meal and my brother and me were chatting during the entire night – actually until 6am!
12th Dec I was anyway up at 9am and took my medicine. I ate breakfast half an hour later as well. Most of the day my brother and me, but also his wife were chatting, but I also was to a shop for stamps and followed my brother to another shop to buy cheese and filet of beef.
Home at my brother’s again, his wife cooked a meal and our chat continued. We had lots of subjects to talk about, which had happened during all the years we had not met each other, because my brother do not like to write letters. I have got an update on their emigration – did I already write, that his wife won a green card? – and of all the years we have not met as well as I told them about my life, even not all the details. That evening I spent some time on the Internet again.
13th Dec started as usual, but at high noon we were going to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. It was a two-hours-drive from Murrieta to the observatory. From there I could see the Hollywood sign – even it would be better from a special place in the Griffith Park, it was good enough for me and I asked my brother for taking a picture with me pointing att the sign. At the observatory we were watching a movie about the space. It was very well done and that was also the reason why my brother and his wife told me, that I have to see it, because they had seen it before.
Los Angeles – Griffith Observatory
My brother would have liked to show me Long Beach as well, but it was getting dark short time after we left the observatory, therefore we were going home to Murrieta instead. Anyway we did not arrive before 9pm, because there had been traffic jams on the way. For the late hour we only had sandwiches, what was very OK for me. After a couple of hours of chat we were going to bed.
View of Hollywood Sign
14th Dec was not as the days before, because I had to take the flight home to Sweden, even we had breakfast as usual, but lunch already at high noon. After lunch my brother drove me to the airport in Los Angeles (LAX), his wife followed us. I had to wait for a couple of hours, before I could check in. Unfortunately it was not possible to make an online check in at the Norwegians homepage. My brother and his wife were waiting with me until I was crossing the security line. Before that I had to queue for a long while at the Norwegian’s counter. I had been looking there, when they will open, but did not realise that lots of customers started queuing. A male passenger was asking me if I was Danish, when we were waiting in the queue and started talking. When I told him, I am Swedish, he was quite satisfied, because I was Scandinavian ;-). As soon as I had checked in I went to the security lane, because there were so many people going through it, because lots of other flights. I made it not only in time, but was an hour earlier than the gate was opened. Anyway I did not have to wait for the whole hour, because the boarding started 30 min. early. The waiting time was in the plane instead and we did not start earlier as planned.
For more photos of Murrieta and surroundings click here.
Around 8pm we had an “easy meal” onboard – for the people, who had ordered in advance. I could choose between another meal and a chicken curry and I did choose the chicken curry, which was a little hot, but I could eat it anyway. Afterwards I tried to sleep, but I could not either (thinking about the flight between Sydney and Toronto). Anyway on this flight the children were quiet, even there were some and in different ages.
15th Dec I could see the sunrise, even it was on the other side of the plane as I was sitting. When it became daylight outside, also the lights in the plane were switched on. It was 5pm PST (Pacific Standard Time). Coffee and breakfast were served and we arrived 3:20pm (CET) at the airport in Copenhagen.
I had to wait for my big backpack for a while at the luggage belt and was then going to the train, here called “Öresundståg”. On my way there I was checked twice by border control officers. Once entering Copenhagen airport – after taking my luggage and the other time before I was entering the train. I did not get admission to the platform without showing my passport. There were no problems with my Swedish Passport, of course. The train was even checked one more time, when border police was entering the train at the train station “Hyllie”, where nobody was allowed to leave. Anyway the officers did not come into my car.
Finally at home after more than a year travelling the world, I met my daughter in Malmö vid Triangeln.
About my time in Sweden, preparing for the next part of my travel around the world, you can read on Europe/Sweden 2016 by following that link.