Two days in SLO

My last full day in California is over. I am really excited to go home if I’m to be completely honest (like I miss eating healthy, even if I have enjoyed every single bite of everything delicious I’ve had here, and I also miss not being this ridiculously tired all the time). But other than those two things, I don’t want to go home. From what I’ve understood, Sweden had better weather than California this past week. I didn’t get tan, but this was not a sunbathing trip though. We have done so many things. And lying on the beach, just soaking up the sun is only fun for so long.

So this vacation ended with a roadtrip. Me and the Elin who is sharing a flight with me tomorrow drove up to San Luis Obispo, my SLOME (SLO-home). It was 3.5-4 hours each way. Up was not a big deal, but going down tonight was rough.

The first Elin flew back home yesterday and the last thing the three of us did together was going to UCLA campus for a pie contest. Miriam’s sister told us about it, and free sampling from the baking competition sounded nice, so we stopped by there to get some free pie. But the tasting didn’t open until 3pm and with the 3 hour drive, it wouldn’t work. And perhaps that was for the best. We had leftover cheesecake for breakfast that day, haha!

We arrived at like 6pm and started with a “fika” at SLODOCO (San Luis Obispo Donut Company) with Rachel, my former roommate. It was so nice to see her again. She still lives in SLO, she managed to get a good job there. I am happy for her, SLO is the cutest city. And it was also nice to see Slodoco again. I have missed their chailatte so much!

Elin and I then drove to Pismo Beach where we had clam chowder soup for dinner and then down to Santa Maria and Steven where we were staying for the night. We watched the last two Game of Thrones episodes. Such a great evening!

This morning it was raining, so we took a slow breakfast at Kreuzberg in SLO. Their acai bowl is amazing! We also did some shopping at Victoria’s Secret.

The weather cleared up and was perfect hiking weather after that. So we parked on campus and did the serenity swing. I love that hike. It is only 6km roundtrip. My calves don’t like it, since it is always going upphill, but for the amazing views, it is totally worth it. Here’s a 3D pic of the swing.

Right after, we met up with my former WOW-leader (Week of Welcome) for lunch at Firestone Grill in downtown. If I have to be honest, it was not as good as I remembered. It was good, but the pulled pork was not as shredded as I remember it being. Very nice to meet Sam again.

I would have loved to go to Montaña de Oro State Park, but it was a 30 min drive up north, and it was already getting late. So we skipped it. Bought some donuts at Slodoco and I also got a picture of the chai powder they are using. If I could get a bag of those somehow, I would be so happy. We will see how that works out.

Then a small stop at Target to get some things to bring back home and then we hit the road. At 9:30pm we arrived back home in La Habra. I can barely keep my eyes open. But everything is packed and I am ready to spend the morning at Huntington Beach playing beach volleyball. I don’t look forward to the flight at 5pm…

San Diego day 2

Two days in San Diego just flew past. I can’t describe the feeling when I drove on the I5 South toward San Diego and drove past all of the exits in Carlsbad and lower, remembering things from each of them. I still remember how to drive places and what things look like. Insane! But so much fun. The feeling of home has never been stronger.Miriam and her brother didn’t want to spend the full day today in San Diego, so they took the train up to Fullerton this morning. So we drove them to Oceanside and said goodbye and directly after found a breakfast place that was incredible: Petite Madeline. I ordered crepes with white chocolate mousse and strawberries and a french toast on the side. They gave me the wrong crepe (with whipped cream and raspberries) and shortly after came out with the right one. I’m not the one to pass down a crepe or let it go to waste, so I ate both. So delicious! So stuffed!After the intense 26k step day yesterday we just drove down to La Jolla Shores and stayed there for the day. Since I have gotten a pretty bad cold, surfing was out of the question. Everyhing but laying on the beach reading was out of the question. Muscle soreness in our butts from yesterday’s hike is revealing itself more and more for each hour. So all three of us just laid there. It was cloudy like no other days, but it was still warm. If it was sunny I think it would have been unbearable. We only stayed until 3pm and since those 4 hours flew past I guess that I must have fallen asleep pretty hard right there because I got burned. Pretty bad on my stomach. Even after putting on SPF 30 twice!We then drove to Fashion Valley, the prettiest shopping center I know of. I wasn’t planning on getting much, and the one thing I really wanted, they didn’t have. But I somehow managed to spend over $100. I wanted to get new panties from Victoria’s Secret, but they for once didn’t have any nice ones, so I skipped. I did however buy two new bras. I have many, but honestly I should throw many of them away since they don’t fit well anymore. These two though, oh my! They were perfect!I also got a pair of summery jeans from Forever 21 and SPF 50. Also som Dayquil. I hope this cold goes away. I don’t feel too well. I wonder if I can take this as a sick day instead of a vacation day. I I felt like this at home, I’m not sure that I would have gotten into work honestly. I’ll have to check when I get back home.Last night when I was talking to my hostparents, they told me the sad news of Famous Dave’s in Vista (San Diego). The restaurant had permanently closed. Fortunately for me, it is a chain and is open in Irvine, so we drove there, it was on the way back home to La Habra, and had a really late dinner. It was as delicious as I remember. Oh my goodness!It was great being back in San Diego. I already miss it, but I am also very excited to go up to SLO this Sunday.

San Diego day 1

I can’t believe I am back in San Diego. Even less that I am back in my old room. It sure doesn’t feel like it has been 6 years since I lived here. Although, when I hugged “my” kids again it definitely did. They were both taller than me. The girl is driving and has a part time job. The boy is now in his pre-teens and I feel so old when I kept saying that they had grown so so much. It was beyond amazing seeing them all again, even if it was just for one evening on a school night. I will see them again tomorrow morning and maybe even before we leave tomorrow night, depending on if they are still here. It’s a busy busy family.

This morning we woke up early to leave La Habra at 7am. We managed to get away on time. Impressive. Me and the two Elin’s picked up Miriam and her brother in Fullerton and started our drive down toward San Diego. There was trafic, but not too bad and we arrived down in PB (Pacific Beach) at 11am where we had breakfast at Kono’s with a view over the ocean.

Our next stop was Lake Poway where we started the Mt Woodson trail up to the summit where the famous Potato Chip Rock is. I’ve done that hike three times now and I am as amazed each time by how beautiful that hike is. Not only is the end really cool, but the nature and overview over inland SD so beautiful. Everyone else agreed with me and I am happy. It would have sucked to hike 8 miles and it not being worth it. It took us 3.5 hours in total, with the photo break on top, not too bad.

Our final stop for the day before heading up to Carlsbad and my second family, was Coronado Island. It is such an idyllic and pittoresque city. The Hotel Del Coronado was as pretty as it ever was and the skyline over SD downtown was as pretty. I have now taken 3 photos in front of it on three different occasions. First, when I just arrived here, the second time after studying at Cal Poly for a year and now third time as a tourist. Fun development there.

Back at the house I talked to my old hostparents for a long while before heading to bed. It has been great seeing them all again and I hope it won’t be 4 year until next time again.

First swim of the year

What an incredible day! As usual, the California sky fools you in the morning with clouds as far as the eye can see but around noon it clears up and is as beautiful and amazing as always.

We started the day by taking an extreme detour on the freeway, haha! Me and the two Elins (we are staying together in La Habra at some friends to Miriam’s sister) met up with Miriam at a Starbucks and because of the detour (if it hadn’t been for the closed exit off the I5 carpool lane) we didn’t get to the beach until 11am. We got up at 7 just because we wanted to be out early, haha! But that’s okay it was almost a little bit chilly in the morning but out of nowhere, while we were playing, the sun was just there, being totally in the way. But also amazing!

We managed to get 2h and 2 full rounds of Queen (everyone plays with everyone and the one with most wins, win) before Miriam had to go and pick up her sister at work to hang out with her and her family in the afternoon and evening. But me and the Elins had fun anyway. We had delicious fish tacos for lunch and then hung out at the beach, listening to music and even went into the water. It was cold, but so worth it once you were all in. I just love the ocean! We all got burned, some more, me a little bit less.

The day at Huntington Beach ended with the three of us doing some side out, but a girl came up to us and asked if we wanted a fourth. We did, so she joined us for another round of queen. It didn’t go too well for me in the morning, but tonight was my 2 hours. I was on fire. So much fun!

We had dinner on our way back; Panda Express. Another hole in my Americn heart has been filled. We went grocery shopping for our roadtrip tomorrow and then back home. It got too late for the jacuzzi. Perhaps another day.

Such a fun day! And tomorrow will be as well! Stay tuned for updates on our small roadtrip.

LA Angels vs Seattle Mariners

This morning I woke up at 6:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep. The other two girls experienced the exact same thing. I think we all slept like babies the first night because we were just so exhausted. We didn’t yawn as much today as yesterday, but after sitting out in the sun all day, I feel tired and almost a little as if I have sunstroke. Pale Swede in California.

When I was awake enough, I started preparing the presentation I’m about to give on Tuesday. I really look forward to that. We had breakfast out on the balcony in the sun. It was amazing!

We then drove to Anaheim baseball stadium where we met up with Miriam and her sister’s family to watch today’s game. LA Angels vs Seattle Mariners. I remembered most rules but there were several situations that arose today that I hadn’t seen at any San Diego Padres games before so I learned new things today. The Angels won. They are usually a very good team, but are in the bottom right now. Seattle Mariners are usually a very bad team, but are currently in the lead. Fun game. The score was 8-1 up until the last inning where The Mariners took 5 points. Crazy.

After the game, we went to a brewery next door. I was declined to buy a beer, even if I’m 28. They refused to accept my Swedish drivers license… Stupid. But it was nice to hang out there for a bit.

On our way home we bought candy (for tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones) and then pizza for dinner. Today was all about food and I so look forward to playing some beach volleyball tomorrow to burn off these calories.

Great day! And now Ghirardelli chocolate and Game of Thrones.

Huntington Beach

The first full day back in California is over. I managed to get 10 hours of sleep and it was well needed. The day started with renting a car. 9 days for $650 doesn’t feel too bad. Especially not if we are 3 people sharing it. I got to be the designated driver. Something I definitely did not mind, it’s fun to drive here and it was etched into my memory and I quickly got back into it, even if it’s been many years now.

We drove to Huntington Beach directly, stayed there for an hour before it was time to head back to Fullerton where one of the girls is staying with her sister for some Easter bbq. Really nice evening.

At the beach, we did a little bit of planning for this trip, like we decided that a couple of days down in San Diego would be nice, so we will probably be going on Friday and stay until Saturday. That will be fun! I really want to go up to SLO, but I haven’t really figured that one out yet. To be continued. We also tried the wind a bit by some beach volleyball peppering. When we left we found so many nets where we will hang from now on. Can’t wait until we can play there.

This day ended with half an hour in the community jacuzzi. Such a sweet way to end this day!

Namdaemun Market, Olympic Park, Lotte World Tower, Gangnam

Day number 6 in South Korea is over and it resulted in over 19 000 steps and many memories to bring back. First we walked to Namdaemun Market, one metro station away from Myeongdong, then we met up with Felix and took a quick walk in the Olympic Park, then to Lotte World Mall where the 5th tallest skyskraper in the world is located: Lotte World Tower. And we then ended with dinner in Gangnam.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is a several blocks big market with everything from food (except we couldn’t find where the main place for street food would be), to cutlery, and clothes. I bought a new belt and two pair of earrings. There was a whole block with indoor jewelery vendors, aisle after aisle with people sitting and making beautiful jewelery. It was called Daedo Jewelery. I love simplistic accessories and they had plenty and it was hard to not throw all my money at the vendors. But two pair of earrings for 10 000 won together was okay, they even matched, but from two different sellers!

Before our next stop we walked to one of the old gates to the city that was nearby, Sungnyemun Gate. Just an ancient piece of architecture in the middle of all the stress and life that Seoul offers 24/7. Like the palace we saw the other day, this looked brand new. They must have a crazy budget for maintaining teir cultural sites. The Koreans seem to be a very cultural people, so I am not surprised.

I just read that the gate was destroyed by a fire in 2008 and was reconstructed for five years. That’s the downside of all their palaces and architecture being made solely from wood. It was originally built in the 14th century and was one of three gates leading into the city. Today it is Number 1 National Treasure of Korea. Pretty cool! Of course, here comes the 360 pic of it where the contrast are clearly visible.

Olympic Park

In 1988, the summer Olympics were held in Seoul. Long before my time, but as a fairly sports interested person, I knew that it had been here sometime at least. After the visit with work in Lillehammer, Norway in September, this is now the 2nd Olympic place I visit this year. Winter Olympics was held in Lillehammer in 1992. It was a beautiful park!


Do you see the huge and disgusting spider?

Lotte World Tower

The tallest skyskraper today is Burj Khalifa (where I went in 2016, and it was so cool!), but after that one, not many people are aware of which skyskrapers follow. At least I didn’t. The fifth tallest is apparently located here in Seoul. And it is not N Seoul Tower that is definitely the more famous one, but Lotte World Tower. Owned of course by the mega multinational conglomerate. The tower is 555m, has 123 floors, and was opened just a year and a half ago in April 2017. On floor 118, there were glass floors. Scary stuff! Mom and I watched  the sun set into a mountain hidden behind a smog cloud. What’s so sad about this is that it is mainly not smog from the South Koreans, but clouds coming in from China. Depressing. This week has been really bad. Worse than usual. Bad timing I guess. But the visibility was better today than any other day so I am not too upset, even if it would have been nice to see the sun set behind an actual mountain instead of in a cloud. We did actually see N Seoul Tower in the distance. That’s some kilometers at least (like 11 – shit, this city is big!).


Down there in the beginning of the park, you can see the Peace Gate when entering the Olympic Park. That gate was huge!
Traffic in Seoul is insane.

The Lotte World Mall was mostly underground and was huge. We didn’t walk in it for too long, shopping didn’t lure us today. We took a look around outside and here you can see how tall the tower is from the ground.

Gangnam

Last stop of the day was Gangnam. It was very spread out and Felix looked around for a while before finding a restaurant which was closed the last time he was there but it was said to have amazing Jjimdakk. It is chicken, dumplings, fish cakes and glass noddles among other things in a soy sauce. It was really good! We shared one big three-persons-plate, because here dining is a social activity. It was spicy, even though we took the non-spicy version. But it was manageable and really good!