California, I need you again and again!

After Death Velley and Yosemite we went to San Francisco. I wasn’t prepared for all the wind and for the 17ºC, and because of that we didn’t get to explore it as much as we wanted to because we didn’t have warm clothes with us. We drove up and down the beautiful hills and I got to do some shopping in the most amazing thrift and vintage shops. I strongly recommend Decades of Fashion for real vintage. In the same street you’ll find a bunch of other vintage and second hand shops. Sadly, Mission Thrift was my second favourite but it closed some months ago. There I found the most amazing ethnic and sequinned skirts as well as cool scarves and tops for really cheap prices.

We went to a very cool curiosity shop called Paxton Gate. And in the end of the day we got to see the amazing Golden Gate, we have a copy of it in Lisbon, so for us it was like ‘Ooooh! So this is the real deal!!’. We slept somewhere near Point Reyes National Seashore before going South, so unfortunately we only spent 1 day in San Francisco. We only had a few days left till our flight back to Portugal from LAX, so we went down the Pacific coast freely. Next stop and an absolutely amazing one was Point Reyes itself. What a beautiful and calm place, we felt such peace there and we felt like life was moving slower. Apart from the natural wonders we found little villages with cute shops and art galleries.

As we went up the hills in the direction of the cliffs and the ocean, we were welcomed by a dense fog and fast swirling winds, which made all even more whimsical.

Between the golden fields and the friendly cows we found the bluest shores. Down at the beach, a family of elephant seals was resting, raising the curiosity of two deers that were strolling down the rocks. We couldn’t stop staring at those fascinating creatures in the wild.

After we went South, stoping only for curiosity sake at Silicon Valley. We drove to Santa Cruz. We visited the funfair and got to see some really sociable sea lions at the wharf. We heard about a place called Mystery Spot, we usually don’t go to these kinds of places but I have to say that if you have kids it’s a pretty awesome place to visit. It consists in a house that’s totally crooked, located on a hill, so all perspective points are distorted, thus when you think that something is going up it actually goes down and vice-versa (they say it’s a gravitational anomaly.. hum…). As I said before, we’re not very into guided tours or any situations that include a guide, but it was quiet ok.

After Santa Cruz we went to Monterey, a lovely city with hundreds of sea lions swimming around the fisherman’s wharf. We also got to see some cute harbour seals catching some sweet hot sun rays in the morning after.

It’s a pity that we don’t have a lot of photos from this part of the journey, but I guess we were really soaking up all the beauty from places like Carmel-by-the-sea. Which was the place where we really started feeling the Spanish influences when it comes to architecture, since we visited the Carmel Mission Basilica Museum. After it, Point Lobos was absolutely glorious. There we were able to spot, right from the coastal trails, and really near us, a few dolphins, harbour seals and even blue whales! We didn’t want to spend our money in those boat trips where you have like 50/50 chance of seeing a whale. We got really lucky, they were far, but totally visible without binoculars. In the afternoon we passed by San Luis Obispo, a place where my dear Luis had already been and that’s where Madonna Inn is located, a super kitsch inn/shop/restaurant, very Disney style.

We spent our evening in Santa Barbara, a place I regret not having seen in daylight. The next day we reached Santa Monica, passing through Malibu, but it looked too crowded when compared to the places we’ve been the days before. It has the tall buildings so typical of seaside resorts and we only went to a Camera Obscura that’s near the beach just for fun and we drove away right after it.

LA was amazing but I felt we didn’t have enough time to explore it. We were also tired as it was the end of the trip. After all we drove more than 8000 km (about 5000 miles) in 17 days. We walked around Venice Beach and drove around the city. I did a bit more vintage shopping at Melrose Trading Post flea market (which happens every Sunday), located in Melrose Avenue, which is also where you can find a lot of vintage shops. We drove around Beverly Hills, and the mythic Mullholland Drive. I really wanted to see the Sheats Goldstein house and nearby there was a house with loads of things for people to take as they pleased. I got a lovely hat and some cool books that I brought to Atlas Hostel in Leiria. We went to Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights, a very old neighbourhood with beautiful Victorian-era houses, that was used countless times as set for movies and tv series.

There was still so much to explore. I guess I have to go back and stay longer. I’m sorry the posts about this trip were published so slowly but I’ve had so much work lately that it was impossible to keep a fast pace. If you have any questions about what to do or places to visit don’t be shy. I hope to be able to post as I travel on my next trip (which is in about two days!!!). I’m really excited about it! See you soon!

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