(Travel)Diary: looking back on October
Even in sunny California, fall is slowly starting to colour the leaves with hues of gold and orange. Everywhere we look we see fresh produce or harvesting. And the pumpkin frenzy is full on: from soups, pies plus Jack o’ Lanterns to pumpkin spice latte’s. Furthermore we visit Yosemite, the different wineregions and celebrate Anita’s birthday in style!
Hip hooray from San Diego
The first day of this month is already one of the most festive: Anita’s birthday! We celebrate it with a luxurious dinner at The Cork and Craft in San Diego. We even get some free Cava! And Tom arranges a little ‘birthdaycake’ the next morning when we are walking in La Jolla (yes ladies, he IS a picture perfect boyfriend).
The City of Angels
From easy going San Diego we move on to hectic and glamorous L.A. Unfortunately we have to skip Hollywood Boulevard and its Walk of Fame because of the crazy traffic (bummer!) but we do get the chance to hike up to the Hollywood Hills sign (So amazing to see in real life!). Plus drive along the (former) houses of the rich and famous. And have lunch at La Republique in the creative La Brea/Fairfax neighbourhood.
Big Sur Route
After a short stop at Malibu Pier we start with our Big Sur coastal route. Whose name derived from the Spanish ‘El sur grande’ by the way(the great south). And impressive it is indeed. Highlights along the way are the beautiful Matador Beach, small town Monterey, artsy Carmel by the Sea and the Paso Robles region. Where we go fruitpicking in the early morning (being two night owls that took some effort) and visit two local wineries. And a traditional pumpkin patch! Honestly, we still cannot explain why a field of pumpkins makes children and adults (Anita, raise hands) so happy. But it really does! Might be a California thing.
Left our hearts in San Francisco
Whether it’s the energetic vibe, cute tram, modern coffeeshops or the great food, San Fran instantly feels right to us. And we are obviously not the only ones who would love to live in The city by the Bay. We stroll along the urban Mission District, Lombart Street and say hi to the sealions at Pier 39. In China Town we share a table with Matt and Farrah. A lovely couple from New Hampshire. Who have travelled a lot, even with their kids! You never know what the future holds of course. But after listening to their stories, we really see them as rolemodels. All in all it’s one of our most fun and spontaneous evenings. In the end they even insist to pay the bill. So generous and sweet! Hopefully we can return the favor someday. A few days later we cross the incredible Golden Gate Bridge for the first time (like in the films!) leaving the city behind us.
Winevalleys Napa and Sonoma
That eventually leads us to winevalleys Napa and Sonoma. Where we stay at the coziest house via Couchsurfing and spend a long weekend tasting as many different wines as we can! Although it is impossible to visit all 400 wineries of course (but one can always try). So as you might have guessed, this one is on the ‘visit again in the future list’ as well. We conclude our stay with a delicious dinner at ‘new kid on the block’ The Charter Oak.
Once we get to Yosemite, it turns out we aren’t exactly the best prepared ‘happy campers’ of all time. We do have a tent and comfy airbed. And bought the more expensive mummy sleepingbag instead of the budget one (lesson well learned in Bryce). But a camping cookware set and thick wintercoat? Ahem, oops. And even with all our merinowool layers it still gets pretty cold at night. Plus we sort of forgot about the bears until we run into them twice! Apart from that it feels great to be surrounded by nature. And we couldn’t think of a better way to relax than walking through this majestic landscape with its gigantic cedar trees, waterfalls and iconic Half Dome. Or visit the sleepy little villages in the nearby area like Lee Vining. Which happens to be close to Mono Lake Tufa, where we find out Pink Floyd shot their ‘Wish you were here’ album cover. Such a coincidence, because that particular song is on our roadtrip playlist (and always reminds us of the people back home).
Vamos a Mexico
We enjoy our remaining USA days in laidback San Diego, before we cross the border with Tijuana Mexico. Which is easy, peasy lemon squeezy. Or at least, not what we expected. The other way around looks serious though. Eventually we take a bus from Cancun to divine Tulum, where we will stay for the upcoming weeks.
Also this month:
-After our Yosemite trip we sell our beloved National Park Pass for a really good price.
-The Instagram photo of our tasting at Sunstone Winery, Paso Robles turns out to be a real winner: they even ask our permission to use it on their website. Hell yeah!
-We learn that Americans (meaning companies) LOVE gifting for birthdays (did somebody say marketing strategy?). In fact: all you have to do is subscribe for a newsletter or simply show your passport on the day itself. The result? A free Pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, lipstick set at the MAC store, a cupcake at a cute bakery and 10% discount on a new summer dress for Anita’s B-day.
-In the campstore in Yosemite we suddenly find Dutch Tony’s (Chocolonely) between the shelves! Chocolate with 42% cacao, pretzel and toffee during hiking or as a dessert? Yass!