Seriously? This was the best way to say "See you California". One of the best trips ever. If you ever come to San Francisco, San Diego or Los Angeles make sure you allow yourself to go at least to Big Sur. Highway 1 is not just a highway, it's THE highway. From Cambria until Monterey you drive along the Pacific Coast with extraordinary landscape. You make a bunch of stops along the way: to take pictures, to watch the beauty, to close your eyes and listen the waves and smell the ocean, to visit elephant seals in wildlife, to explore National Parks and on and on and on. WARNING: GET READY FOR A BUNCH OF OCEAN PICS!!
I left San Francisco with the feeling I could easily spend 2 more weeks there. I missed many places (Golden Gate Park, Museum of Modern Art, Asian Art Museum and on) I would love to visit but I rather choose quality time then quantity.
Jenn and Bruno wanted to go very hard to Alcatraz - served before the army as fortress and military prison; and later the Department of Justice as a maximum-security federal penitentiary - I had no idea what was that but in the end, it was one of the best touristic spots I ever been.
First we got a cable car (old school cars used hundred years ago in the city to go up the hills/$6) to the Fisherman's Wharp and find the Pier 33, where Alcatraz is situated. You pay $30 (first thought: WHAT???? Last thought: VERY WORTH IT!!!) ticket that includes: boat trip to Alcatraz (it's an island), admission to the island, remain buildings and visit to the cells (in good conditions), audio tour free very interesting with testimonials from inmates, correctional officers and residents as they reminisce about life on Alcatraz (available in the cellhouse).
Hello! Hola! Olá! I've been a month in California and no photos of my travels for you yet. I've been mostly in the country side working as housekeeping and gardening so I don't have excellent pictures that deserve a blog post.
Since we don't have any more work and about 3 more weeks until our flight we decided to explore the area we are right now. We started with the weekend in Fort Bragg, a pretty colorful little town in the coast of North California.
It's windy out there but just the feeling of smelling and watching the ocean, I didn't care for being cold or not. If you are around for a while you know I born and grew up in the ocean so I miss it a lot when I don't get to see it for few days. I definitly need to buy a house in front of the beach! :)
Guys, I owe you ten thousand posts about San Francisco! I've been trying my best to write down all the interesting things you should visit in this awesome city I love more and more. But the truth is that I go with the flow and totally forget about internet and my blog stays a bit behind... here Iam!
After spending more then a month working and visiting my friends/american heart family, we finally decided to rent a car and explore South of California. Guess what? We couldn't rent a car because we do not have a Visa, Martercard or American Express Card... What a BIG bummer. USA without a car sucks big time, if only transportation was good and organized... not happening.
When you're traveling sometimes you gotta come out with a plan B, C and D, well plan E is welcome too. Specially if you travel like me, plan a bit here and there but mostly go with the flow.
We had no option but using the bus. This means our options were pretty limited. So we decided to travel the famous cities: San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. We've been in San Francisco last year but we had a feeling that was missing a looooot to see. We also been in LA but our flight off USA is there so we will stay with our friend Sue (again) this time in Huntington Beach, apparently a fancy area of LA, she has swimming pool and jacuzzi so guess where I'm gonna be my last days in California? :D
Anyway, ready for a bunch of pictures from my favorite area of San Francisco?
First thing I search online when arrive a place? Local Flea Markets! Last year when I was visiting San Francisco I attended Berkley Flea Market and this time I was lucky enough for being in SF for the weekend so I got a chance to visit Alamany Flea Market. It's every single Sunday from 8am until 3pm but at 1pm many vendors start packing up so don't arrive too late. It's situated in 100 Alemany Blvd and you can get bus number 9 to get there. If you are driving there's plenty of space to park your car. We walked almost one hour and in the way we found Bernal Peak, a great hill to have a great view to the city and to the bay.
I only been two full days in San Diego so I had to make the most of it! Grateful I'm in Couch Surfing and was able to find a great local host who drove us everywhere and told us about this nice city and the sorroundings. He also brought us to the best brownie and pizza in the World (Andy if you are reading this, thanks a lot dude!)
San Francisco is not a cheap place to live at all, but is on my Ten Cities I'd live for a Year List because I'm into the lifestyle, the atmosphere, a place for artists to express themselves, multicultural, the diversity: beach, bay, wildness and city. You probably need a well paid salary to afford to live in this city but it's so worth it!
For travelers who will spend a long time in San Francisco and want to be part of the city instead of spending 2 weeks visiting touristic spots, this post is for you :) Also for those people who just moved to San Francisco and is a little broke or don't know what to do, this post is for you! Actually this post is for anyone who wants to go to San Francisco or just fancy the city. Ready to write some notes?
New feature in the blog!! I hope I can do this every week. Photo an Hour means I will take a photo every hour in one day. I found it fun and awesome to look back to my day with photos. And oh well I guess this is a great start with a day in the Island Thassos, actually my last day out of 4 days in paradise. Check it out!!
10am || Breakfast time! We were camping in Golden's Beach. The camping site was right in front of the beach, such a hard life :) Of course the breakfast includes cheese: feta and danish blue.
This is my first time with my feet in Africa, which means I have been in all 5 continents! Yey! Go Girl! But... Morocco is not Africa for me. When I think of Africa I think of what is so called "Black Africa" so I'm not 100% conviced I've been in all continents. Let's plan a Trip to South Africa or Madagascar or Ethiopia! Ok take it easy you may think. I'm in Morocco and I don't wanna be anywhere else right now.
Morocco was on my Travel List for a long time, it's so close and easy to reach but I didn't want to travel this country only one week or on a tour. I wanted to explore the place myself, taking my time watching their lifestyle, to know more about the islam religion, to try their delicious food, to ride a camel in the desert, to watch the islamic buildings... I wanted to travel one month but now will go with the flow and stay until I feel like. Good thing when you are having a good time and don't have responsabilities, like your job. This is the time you feel free.
Kasbah (means castle) des Oudaias
Morocco is the Land of No Rules. If you are organized, like pontuality and not really flexible, you're gonna have a hard time backpacking in Morocco.
Maybe that's the reason why so many people just pay a travel agency and come on a tour? I dislike tours: with the money they ask for a tour I can do many many things and I don't like the idea of having someone telling me what to do or where to go. The worst is that you don't really get to know the culture because you have no time to talk and do things with locals. In the other side, having a guide in historical places is handy to understand what's go in on around us. But there you go, each person has their way of traveling, as long as they travel I’m happy :)
We are in Essaouira right now and seems we made a good choice for a place to relax. The city is pretty chilled with a nice Medina (comparing with Marrekech is way smaller but is more open, feels more fresh), beach, portuguese castle (geeez portuguese history is all around) and it's mostly famous for kitesurf and windsurf pratice.
I love when I'm in a foreign place and there's a festival or a traditional party going on. I heard that Essaouira offers many festivals, esp. during Summer. It's a cultural and artistic area, just look around you and you see paintings, music, theatre around you.
Shore to Shore Festival is an Anglo-Moroccan intercultural Festival organized by two local associations called Mogador Song and Music Association and Essaouira Mogador Association and British Foundation REEF. The idea is to provide opportunities for experiencing each culture and to create something new.
Moroccan partners have also visited Britain, giving concerts and working with young people in schools.
No, no my dear readers I won't be boring and teach you arabic in this post :) Just think that the language is another culture aspect interesting to learn and want to share my arabic experience so far. By the way, did you know that arabic language is spoken in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Syria?
I'm thrilled when traveling in a country with a completly alphabet. First time was in the train station when we arrived Prague (Czech Republic) while InterRailing, there were many signs but no translations so we felt a bit lost with a feeling of adrenaline at the same time.
Then I been in India and wanted to learn sanscrit, like it's very easy to learn, yeah, yeah right. Greece was also fun to see all those weird characters.
After Essaouira we didn't really have a plan. When this happens we just let the Universe helping to follow our way. Zakaria suggested to hitch hike from Essaouira to Agadir, thru the coast and stop in 3 villages and after go to Paradise Valley. we thought it was a brilliant idea but soon we understood it wasn't the best idea because it's hard to hitch hike to the village which means taxi drivers trying to rip you off. I guess would be a good plan if you have a caravan or a car and camping tent.
Ourika Valley came to our mind. We left Essaouira (we went back just to sleep one night) and got a ride to Marrakech, the driver was heading to Casablanca but he was super kind and brought us exactly where we wanted. From Marrakech we took a dirty local bus to Ourika. It was dark already and the only Hotel was pricey for us so we asked a boy if he knew any cheap hostel. He called his father and among many arabic (or berber) words, he said "You are welcome in my house" Bonus! Thanks Universe :)
Ait Ben Haddou is located 30 km away from Ouarzazate (known as “The Gate to Desert”) and part of UNESCO World Heritage, protecting those 500 years old mud made houses (kasba in Arabic) from erosion and destruction. In the past was the spot where caravans would stop when traveling between Marrakech and the Desert.
Remember when I said that would stay one month in Morocco? With 300€ I could actually stay at least 6 weeks. Moroccans (especially from the South) invite you to sleep in their houses, feed you and even give you money (!!!) but we don't accept, that's not the point. When you hitch hike and Couch Surf you save so much, enough to travel much more.
But I'm tired of Morocco to be honest. I mean, I'm having a great time but there's no fix price, you even bargain for food, seriously! Also there are many moroccans out there that seem to be your friends but in the end all they want is to sell you something. Worst! They can give you something as a gift and in the end they ask money for that. Very important: Not everybody is like this, we met many many nice, kind and friendly moroccans. Feels that in the South people are nicer maybe because is far from big cities?
I decided for a Part II for Chefchouen just because these pictures I took are so pretty that have to be shared. Chefchouen is a most go in Morocco but we were unlucky to be there exactly on Easter Vacations so the place was crowded with international tourists (especially spanish) and moroccan tourists. Did I mention before that I don't like to travel in places packed of people?