Tourist in San Francisco

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Two days are over in San Francisco and I am so tired from all the walking. But we have seen a lot. Yesterday Patrick and I met up with Helena, Nicki and our host Jacob for brunch at a place close to his place on Chestnut Street. Then we all took a walk down to the water, looked at the Golden Gate Bridge (it was not foggy so I could actually see it this time), then went to Palace of Fine Arts and back to his place. So we are couchsurfing now, if I never said that before. My first time doing it and it is nice that we are two girls (three until tonight). It is free and we literally sleeps on a guy’s couch. It’s a new experience.

After that Patrick had to leave and the rest of us hang in the apartment for an hour or so before we decided to explore the city some more. We took an uber to Haight-Ashbury Street. This is where hippies used to live, but then got replaces with vintage boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Still a lot of “hippies” though, lots of weed and smoke stores. We kept on walking from there to The Golden Gate Park. We just walked in a little part of it and then walked all the way to the Painted Ladies six houses painted in different colors. It was not as grandeur as it looks on pictures (that does not happen often, now does it?). We were so exhausted all of us, so we sat down on the grass for a while, watching all the funny tourists taking weird photos in front of the houses.

We then took an uber back to the apartment and got ready to go out to dinner. All of us went to Cheesecake Factory at Union Square for dinner. They were out of my favorite Farfalle with chicken and roasted garlic, so I took my second favorite, the Roasted pear and bleu cheese flatbread. We all shared a Red Velvet Cheesecake afterward. So delicious. Our last stop for the day was a bar called Bacchus Kirk. I played pool against Jacob, won surprisingly! Had a drink, petted the dogs in the bar (SF is a dog city so dogs are everywhere here and apparently allowed in some bars).

 

Today was all about the piers and wharfs and Alcatraz. Pier 39 was fun as usual, watched the sea lions. Then we walked to Pier 33 and picked up our tickets for Alcatraz later in the afternoon and then walked all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. It was not that far, but many small trips make a long distance. We walked around, went to Ghiradelli Square. It would have been so cool to sit down in the Ghiradelli “restaurant”, but we just walked through. That chocolate is really good.

On our way back to Pier 33 we stopped at Ben & Jerry’s for milkshakes. Yummy!

We were the first to board the boat out to the island and it only took us 12 minutes. We pretty much just did an audio tour, walked around to watch the SF skyline and then back. We then met up with Jacob at Union Square for dinner at Burger Bar. I made my own burger with avocado, bacon, caramelized onions and cranberry sauce. Very good.

Straight back to the apartment and now I am so ready for bed!

PANO_20150321_124109 Golden Gate Bridge.PANO_20150321_125729 Palace of Fine Arts.IMG_20150321_131006 Turtles at PoFA.IMG_20150321_151219 Haight/Ashbury Street.IMG_20150321_160845 Golden Gate Park.IMG_20150321_164032 IMG_20150321_163603 PANO_20150321_165923 Painted Ladies.PANO_20150321_234203 Union Square.IMG_20150321_234740Hearts all over SF (no idea why).IMG_20150322_003236Bacchus Kirk bar.

Snapchat--4904785948224871176The super cute and fluffy dog in the bar. IMG_20150322_014626Palace of Fine Arts at night. IMG_20150322_132514 Pier 39.IMG_20150322_131655 Packed sealions at Pier 39.IMG_20150322_140328 Alcatraz in the arch where they loaded the prisoners.IMG_20150322_140801 Fisherman’s Wharf.IMG_20150322_142137 Ghiradelli Square.IMG_20150322_152917 Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island.IMG_20150322_153038 Alcatraz.IMG_20150322_165001 Hospital inside Alcatraz.IMG_20150322_155447 Showers inside Alcatraz.IMG_20150322_160302 “Broadway”. So many cells!! There were four aisles (only two with cells on both sides).IMG_20150322_161027 6 confinement cells.IMG_20150322_161231 The library.IMG_20150322_161953 A normal and “decorated” cell.IMG_20150322_163225 There was an escape in March 1963, three inmates dug themselves out with spoons and climbed up a shaft behind this wall up to the roof and supposedly swam somewhere. No bodies where ever found so no one knows if they survived the very treacherous one mile long swim to the main land.PANO_20150322_165947Bay Bridge, San Francisco skyline, and Golden Gate Bridge seen from Alcatraz.

Big Falls Trail

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

My planned sleep-in this morning did not happen. But I am glad it didn’t. I went on a beautiful hike with Julianne and Sienna down in Arroyo Grande.  It took a while to drive there and we had to drive through the river that went through the creek.

It was very foggy and not particularly warm when we got there, but the sun came out a little after a while. But it was still not warm enough for me to jump in the water. So first we walked and walked and walked. We never got lost but we took the wrong turns all the time. First we came to a tall waterfall where we stayed for a while. The water was full of salamanders and even a turtle. The trail was also full of salamanders, so cuute!

We were told there was a natural waterslide somewhere and it wasn’t by the waterfall, so we climbed up through poison oak (I don’t think any of us actually touched any) and find a trail up on the hill and kept going. We saw some pools of water, another turtle, more salamanders and then we came to a more “foresty” area of the hike. It was pretty, but we decided it wasn’t worth going that far so we turned around, and after a long while we saw the slide, and it was in the beginning of the hike, way before the waterfall. We stayed there for a while until a bunch of freshmen joined us and showed us you could actually go cliff jumping in that pool. The waterslide looked dangerous, but everyone jumped from the cliff. It wasn’t too high, I’m guessing 15 feet. I have done worse and since it was a cold day I didn’t feel too bad about being the only one who didn’t jumped. I can always go back!

Back home I had lunch, watched an episode of the Flash and took a 3 hour nap. Woke up at 7pm and have done nothing since then. I watched another episode of the Flash, I emailed the immigrant attorney and I guess I should go to bed early. But I know myself, that will not happen. I suck!

Cool rock formations Salamander Rock mountains Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail waterfall Big Falls Trail waterfall Salamander Cute salamander hanging on the ledge in the water.Turtle The first turtle we saw! Not as big as the salt water ones, but still very cute. I love turtles!Big Falls Trail waterfallBig Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Big Falls Trail Turtle Big Falls Trail natural waterslide The waterslide.Big Falls Trail cliff jumping Big Falls Trail cliff jumping Big Falls Trail natural waterslide

Roadtrip on Big Island (31jan)

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

I am so broke right now, and that is thanks to Enterprise. The world’s worst car rental company. Today was all about driving around the island seeing other things than the hotel and Kailua-Kona.  But it took the rest of my money just to rent the car because stupid Enterprise wanted $300 in deposit! And after the $80 for the car I only had like $100 left… In California and on Oahu they only wanted $200. So now I can’t afford my second bag to Sweden. I asked mom to transfer some money and I really hope I will get them before my flight departs on Monday morning (that is evening time in Sweden, so it should be okay, otherwise I’m totally screwed!).

After that our day just got better. We didn’t take any insurance because the a******* at Enterprise didn’t ask about it and then just acted like b****** when they gave us the car. So I drove the whole day, and it was a long day.

Roadtrip Big Island

Ka Lae, South Point

Our first stop was at the most southern point in the United States, Ka Lae. Out there one could jump from a cliff right down in the crystal clear water. A lot of fish were swimming right there and I so wanted to do it! I really wanted to, but we didn’t really have the time since we had a lot of stops to do today. It was only 35 feet (10 meters). I probably would have survived! If I ever get the chance to cliff jump again, I will totally do it! I’m so bummed I didn’t do it, there were no rocks, just a straight cliff and really deep water. And it was hot, like 85F, so it would have been perfect with a dip in the ocean. There was also a blowhole, which is kinda like an underground cave where the water goes in and “blows” up through the ground. When the waves come in the level in the hole rises and stupid people can jump in. Right before we came there was a guy jumping in. Cliff jumping is one thing, but blowhole jumping is just stupid…

Red sand This is what I call red sand!Blowhole The blowhole.Cliff jumping I so wish this was me!South PointHanging loose at the most southern point in the United States of America!

Green sand beach

Our next stop was right around the corner, Papakolea Beach/Mahana Bay/the green sand beach. To get to the beach we had to park the car and then do a ridiculous hike. It probably would have taken us 1.5 hours.  There are people with pickup trucks there who work as shuttle. $15 roundtrip and they drive you all the way and then wait for you to take your pictures.  The ride was bumpy and dusty though. I never get carsick, but today I did and it took me several hours after to get rid of the feeling. It took 30 minutes one way. And now to the description of the beach! It isn’t as green as leaves on a tree, but it is definitely green. The closer you look the more green you see. So the sand is tiny bits of crystal. Most of them are green, some gold, some black. It was so cool!

Bumpy ride Bumpy ride Papakolea Green Sand Beach Papakolea Green Sand Beach Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Black sand beach and turtles

Our third stop was at a black sand  beach and it was way more impressive than the one on Maui. First, this was blacker! It was so dark and Nina (a girl from Maui whom we met later tonight) told me that the darker the lava rock is, the newer it is. Second, it was surrounded by palm trees (and you all know how much I love those!) and I just love the color combination of black lava rock and green. Third, and the best, was that there were turtles basking in the sun!! We saw five of them in total and they were hard to see, they were dark, the sand was dark and they totally look like rocks. I took like another million pictures of the Honu, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle and I will probably have a new profile picture on Facebook as soon as I get the pictures from Caroline’s camera.

Panaluu Black Sand Beach This was a very beautiful beach.Turtles at Panaluu Four turtles, a fifth out in the water and the sixth was behind me!Turtles at Panaluu Turtles at Panaluu Turtles at Panaluu

Kilauea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This roadtrip was so easy. We didn’t need a GPS because everything was accessed from the HWY 11. Our last stop was at the Volcanoes National Park. Kilauea is the most active of the islands five volcanoes but it is sleeping right now. The biggest is the Mauna Loa which is located just 20 miles north. There isn’t any lava in the Halema’uma’u crater, which is located in the Kilauea caldera. I had to google what the difference between crater and caldera is, and I think I understand it. A caldera is what’s left when landmasses collapse after a volcanic eruption. And the crater is where the lava is I guess. Anyway, according to Wikipedia (I know, I shouldn’t look up information there, but it’s so easy), who refers to Hawaii Volcano Observatory, says there still is lava down there, like 70-150 meters below the crater floor. And someone at Banana Bungalow told me that the lava hasn’t been visible for a while. So we didn’t see anything, but we did see steam though!

African landscape The landscape changes so much here on Big Island. One part is full of lava rocks/cliffs, one part is overgrowing rainforest, one part looks like African savannah, one part looks like forests in Germany and some part look like northern Sweden. Really cool :).European landscape

Okay, that volcano has a road on the rim, called the Crater Rim Drive, so we could drive to all the places. Our first stop up there was the Lava tube with Nahuku which means stalactites. It was like any other tunnel/cave I’ve been in. It was moist, a lot of water dripping and since it was a tourist attraction it had lights. It wasn’t too long, just a few hundred meters. When we came out of it we walked through a rainforest but it wasn’t as cool as in the movies. But it was cool with the super big ferns. I felt like a little ant walking under them.

Lava Tube Lava Tube Rainforest

Our second stop was Pu’u Pua’i. It is a big pile of solidified lava covering part of the Crater Rim Drive so it’s not possible driving all the way around. It got covered in 1959 during the 37-day eruption in Nov-Dec. During that eruption the Kilauea volcano made a 580 meter high lava fountain! It’s so crazy it’s hard to believe. It’s also very fascinating googling and reading on the signs about all these things.

Our third stop in the National Park was the steam vents. It was a place among the drive with simply explained, a lot of steam coming out of the ground. It was really cool, but it smelled like a rotten egg fart out there. And it was hot. I got burned twice on my legs when the wind took the steam in my direction.

Steam vents Steam vents

Our fourth and last stop along the drive was the Jaggar Museum and the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. There we learned that this volcano only was 4000 feet. It is a little confusing what we actually saw. Well, what we saw was a big desolate area (Kilauea caldera) with a steaming crater (Halema’uma’u). That crater was a big lake of lava until 1924 when it exploded and doubled the size of the crater. So no lava today but that was probably good. What if there would have been an eruption and I would have been stuck on Hawaii? Oh no! Horrible thought :).

Halema'uma'u Crater

I drove all the way back to Kailua-Kona and stopped at Pineapple Park hostel where Nina from Banana Bungalow on Maui stayed. We picked her and three of her guy friends up and drove to a nice burger restaurant. It was a real restaurant with good burgers! On the way back to the hotel I got a little lost, no, not lost, but I took an involuntarily detour which resulted in a funny sign which said: Entering Banana Virus Quarantine Area. Haha! I didn’t enter though, I found the right way back to HWY 11. I wonder what was going on there!

Back at the hotel I booked my shuttle for Sunday and now I only have like 400SEK, which isn’t even $100. Stupid Enterprise… And then I grabbed my computer and spent a few hours in the bar updating my blog. I couldn’t post this though because I didn’t have all the photos. And I think my readers will have plenty to read anyway.

It was awesome taking a long shower and to get rid of the dust layer. And then I couldn’t stop reading about volcanoes on Wikipedia and now it’s almost 2am… I’m on vacation though, so it’s fine!

This day turned out to be really nice, even if I’m moneyless. Tomorrow’s our last day on Hawaii and we are just gonna relax by the pool, working on our tan one last time. And since the Wi-Fi at the bar (which is right next to the pool) is working I will probably continue to read about volcanoes. I don’t know the history about Haleakala on Maui yet :).

2014-02-01, 01:41

Kahaluu Beach Park (29jan)

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

This morning was so boring! No rain, but it was cloudy. Our plan for the day was to take a look at the pool area here on the hotel and then take the bus to a beach south of here. The bus only goes once every two hours and we just missed the one at 10:40am, so we spent that extra time by the pool. The sun was slowly coming out from behind the clouds and it actually was a nice day after that. There is a lagoon on the hotel properties too. But the pool isn’t anything special, it is very small. But it is right next to the ocean.

We took the bus, $2 each ride (it was better on both Oahu and Maui where the tickets lasted 4 hours after purchase and where you could by day passes). For 20 minutes until we reached Kahaluu. I thought the stop before sounded nice, Magic Sands/White Sands until the shuttle driver yesterday told us that that beach is called Magic Sands because the sand completely disappears from the beach sometimes because of the waves. So we took the beach park instead. It was tiny, but it was a beach at least. There are hardly any beaches here! The sand was a mix between white and black sand, so it was pretty cool. But what made my day was in the water. First of all, the snorkeling there was better than at Hanauma Bay on Oahu. The coral was much nicer and it was more colorful fishes. I didn’t see any turtles, even if there were a lot of signs on the beach telling us to not touch the turtles. When I got out of the water I asked one of the volunteers at the beach about turtles, and he said it was very common to see them there and pointed out towards a tide pool where people were pointing and taking pictures. I walked out there with my camera and there were four (4!!) turtles in the extremely shallow water eating things of the rocks. They weren’t very big, maybe like 4dm. But it was turtles! I spent a lot of time out there taking pictures of them, Caroline got tired pretty fast, haha!

The rest of the day we just lay at the beach working on our tans. About 1 hour before the bus came it started raining so the last 30 minutes, when it was pouring down and impossible to stay at the beach, we were under a roof just waiting for time to fly by.

On the bus back we saw the sunset out in the water and on the other side, towards the mountain were two big rainbows! So beautiful. The sunset was amazing, as it was yesterday. It’s like the colors here are different than on the other islands. It gets way more orange and pink or whatever that color is called. After the sun was set, when we were walking towards a restaurant the sky was all pink and the water all purple. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water with that color, it was incredible.

We actually had dinner out tonight again, but that was the last time for sure. I totally forgot that I wanted to eat an Hawaiian pizza on Hawaii. So we found a restaurant eventually that served pineapple pizza and that pizza was the best pizza I’ve had this year! It was Kaluau Pork on it with a hot/sweet sauce. Soo good. When we got back to the hotel we tried getting access to the internet but it didn’t work. This hotel sucks! We spent a lot more money here than on the hostels, and the hostels had internet. Stupid hotel!! It’s not that I’m addicted to internet, but with it I can see my Swedish account balance. And there isn’t any Starbucks around here either… Stupid!

I’m thinking about maybe buying internet for 24 hours on Saturday so I can post everything before going back to Sweden. It’s $10 per 24 hours.

Tomorrow morning we are gonna call Enterprise to rent a car for Friday and after that walk north for a while to a nice white sand beach. I’m also gonna check if there are any other nice beaches more south of here. The bus goes pretty far south. Let’s hope the sun is out tomorrow!

2014-01-29, 20:36

Royal Kona lagoon The lagoon we have at the hotel.Royal Kona pool area The pool area.Royal Kona Part of the outdoor lobby.Kahaluu Beach Park Kahaluu Beach Park. Honu - Green sea turtle Honu, Hawaiian Green Sea TurtleHonu - Green sea turtle HAPPY!Honu - Green sea turtle Honu - Green sea turtle These were just babies and just a third the size of the ones we saw on Waikiki Beach, Oahu.Honu - Green sea turtle Honu - Green sea turtleBig Island sunsetThe sunsets on Big Island really are much prettier than on the other islands.

Diamond Head and TURTLES

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Another eventful day has come to its end. It started early with a pretty easy hike up the side of a crater. It was called Diamond Head State Monument and took one hour up and down. So not too bad, but it was hot so the sweat was everywhere anyway. The view during the whole hike was amazing. Mountain in the background, the ocean with the sun rising and the Koko Head Crater in the distance. That’s the big mountain we saw from Hanauma Bay the other day. The view from the top was incredible! We could see all of Honolulu and Waikiki and even as far as Pearl Harbor. It was so beautiful!

When we were done we took a quick look at the Farmer’s Market at the bottom of the crater at the University there. They had a lot of weird stuff like Apple Banana and Avocados the size of a baby’s head! I bought a slice of Hawaii’s Original Farmer’s Market Pizza. It was tomato, cheese and a basil pesto sauce. It was really good.

Back to the hostel to change into bikini and then off to Waikiki beach again. I didn’t get burned today but I did get a lot darker brown. Wonder how I will look after another two weeks. I am using sunscreen all the time. I’m alternating between 30 and 70.

Okay, so to the coolest thing that ever happened to me. In the afternoon I rented a paddleboard. One hour $20. And it was totally worth it. First I went out by myself and even if I actually could stand up with the big waves (today the waves were perfect for surfing, but because of the sharp rocks I resisted the urge to rent a surf board) it was nicer to be on my knees or sit criss-cross-applesauce (as my hostkids say). But, to see something you had to stand up, so when I realized there were some turtles swimming around I stood up and just went around. Didn’t see any though… When I went in to the beach (I was far out, really far out, but it is shallow and everyone else were out there too so it felt safe, and I don’t think there are many sharks here) to get Caroline I actually saw one! It was far away from me, but I definitely saw the shape of the turtle. It might have been around 1m from head to tail. I picked up Caroline so she was sitting on the board while I was paddling us out. And when we were out there we saw five more turtles and they were within touching distance, except that it is illegal to touch them! I seriously can’t believe I saw huge sea turtles right at Waikiki beach, right next to my board and they were also swimming under it. It was the most awesome thing I’ve ever been through!

We changed seats so I was sitting down with my legs and feet in the water looking out for more turtles. One of them were of course the biggest we saw and I’m not joking, I’m sure it was 1.5m from head to tail. It was huuuuge!! I cannot describe how it was to see and experience that. It was so awesome I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t stop saying all the time how fucking awesome it was!!

I returned the board and spent another 30 minutes in the water. It was a very hot day today, maybe 85F (I’m not very good at guessing temperatures, it was too warm to just be at the beach all day, you had to be in the water) so we spent a lot of time in the water. And then was when we saw the 7th and last turtle of the day. It was like 5m away from me and when I saw it I jumped and screamed and pointed (and squirting water at Caroline at the same time and scaring the shit out of her). If you thought I was excited about the dolphins in Cali… Haha, compared to today, I wasn’t!
I regret that I didn’t bring the underwater camera with me out. If I did I could have gotten some cool pictures of the turtles from above the water. But I will probably have time to get cool pictures of one of the most amazing animals in the world!

Back to the hotel at 5pm where a strange girl was laying on my bed. She had taken away my sheets, my pajamas and everything that was one by bed because she blindly believed the confused receptionist that she was supposed to have that bed. How can someone think that a bed is hers if stuff is on it still at 5pm when checkout is at 11am? I got it back but I had to put on the sheets again which was annoying… I took a shower and then go back to the beach to watch the Hula dance show. It wasn’t anything special but it is nice to have seen it.

We said goodbye to Jair who’s leaving tomorrow and then went to Cheesecake Factory. It was a two hour waiting, but we spent that time in souvenir shops. I probably shouldn’t have, but I bought two cute shot glasses, another bracelet for myself and an opal turtle necklace. And some Hawaiian candy. Now I’m done with shopping. I have some money, but I have to get everything home too.

We shared a Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic, my favorite there. And for dessert, and my 18th Cheesecake, we shared a Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake. We are on Hawaii!

Back to the hostel where I’ve planned tomorrow. We are gonna rent a car and drive around the island. Our first stop is gonna be a shave ice cream place that is supposed to be the best on the island. The next Turtle Bay, after that Chinaman’s Hat (Mokoli’i) and after that Pali Lookout and the rest of the day we are gonna spend at Kailua Beach. It will be a long but fun day 🙂

So now I really have to go to bed! Goodnight!

Diamond Head Crater Inside the crater.Diamond Head hike Diamond Head hike The crater with the mountains in the background.View from Diamond Head Honolulu and Waikiki from the top of Le’ahi Diamond Head State Monument.Honolulu+Waikiki from Diamond Head Diamond Head hike Farmer's Market Farmer’s market.Stand up paddling at WaikikiHula show on Waikiki Beach Duke Kahanamoku Statue Cheesecake Factory Honolulu Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake #18 Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake.Fancy VS store RoadtripThis is the trip we are gonna do tomorrow. Four hours of driving in total. Good thing we are starting at 8am!