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Games and stakes in playgrounds

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California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

Posted by Flo et Romain on March 7 2016, 00:56am

Categories: #USA

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

"The Golden State" now opens its doors: Welcome to California! We expected to find a lot of sun; we got it but we also found the rain!!

We first arrived in San Diego where we mostly enjoyed the beach (but we did not swim because the wind was really cold). As it was also Valentine's Day, we went to a little restaurant in Karlsbad ... and we broke our piggy bank, but it was worth it: warm goat cheese with honey, filet mignon, chocolate brownie and strawberry sugar ... and above all: a week in New York plus 2 tickets for the musical the Lion King on the day of our 7-year anniversary (March 9)!! Wow, I was spoiled; Romain will discover his gift on March 3 in Seattle!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

On our way to Los Angeles (L.A. for short), we stopped at Laguna Beach ... yes another beach but California is known for that!!! We watched the Volleyball players before kissing in front of the sunset.

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

Arrived in Los Angeles, we walked on Hollywood Boulevard. We expected something even more grandiose ... but it's still the class to walk there! We were even able to find some famous names !!!

We also visited the famous letters that form the word "Hollywood" on a hill. Did you know they were installed there temporarily to promote real estate in 1923? And it was written "Hollywoodland"! It was not until 1949 that the city removed the "Land" and restored the letters that can be admired today!!!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

We went to Beverley Hills but ... we didn’t find any home of stars!! For the addresses, we searched the Internet but we found nothing, so we went there to haphazard and we saw some beautiful villas but not those of the stars ... (Well okay, maybe in seeking better one would find it but really, is it worth the trouble to see a famous rich home? We're not interested that much!!)

We prefer nature ... so we went to see gray whales migrating! But from the coast it is not obvious to see them when they pass away.... We could still spot some!!!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

After L.A. we went to San Francisco and along the way, we met the sea elephants!!! Wow another first! These animals of the same family as sea lions can be up to 4m (if it is a fat male!!!) Needless to say we do not approach too closely!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

After that we arrived in San Francisco and loved this city. Surrounded by water, the city has several bridges including the famous Golden Gate Bridge! We spent 3 lovely days to go around the city, discover its tram, and it was also our 150th night of camping right in front of the city! Magnificent! From the heights we had stunning views of San Francisco, bridges and ... Alcatraz, the famous high-security prison!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

So we took the ferry to visit the prison (now a national monument, so there are no prisoners at Alcatraz anymore)! Before being a prison, the island has long served as a military fortress (from 1850 to 1909); it was converted into a military prison (until 1933) and eventually became federal prison that everyone has heard of (thank you Al Capone) from 1934 to 1963.

The people of San Francisco were against this high security prison a few hundred meters from the coast yet Alcatraz welcomed 1033 prisoners. The prison conditions were pretty good: decent food, hot showers (to prevent the prisoners to get used to cold water), individual cells ... In 29 years the prison knew 14 escape attempts involving 36 men. 23 were caught, six were shot dead, two were drowned and 5 were never found (at that time it was said they drowned not to wake the concern and anger of the people of San Francisco). Alcatraz has earned its status as a "prison of which nobody escapes). But many mysteries reign around the prison and including the 1962 escape (which Hollywood made a movie): Did the three escapees managed to reach the mainland? Some evidence tend to prove that yes ... in any case a file is still open!

This is the 4th time we visit a prison in our journey (after Robben Island in South Africa, the S21 Prison in Cambodia and Fremantle Prison in Australia) and as always, we are always excited to walk between these walls; to imagine the life that these prisoners were leading; life they were recreated within the cage; the friendships that were connected with the guards or other prisoners; but all the more serious things like punishments without reason, fighting, traffic...

Discover the history through its legendary places, especially when the stories are told by those who lived history or passionate is always a "pleasure"!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!California: sun, luxury and wine!!!
California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

Lastly (and to our delight), California is also known for its wine; we therefore tested for you!!! Some Chardonnay, Pinot noir and "Zinfandel" (an Italian grape originally but which is grown primarily in California now). The wines were good although we preferred those of other countries, especially given the prices of bottles. Tip: buy your bottle at the supermarket (provided your ID card), it would be cheaper!

California: sun, luxury and wine!!!

We also found good cheese! And when I say "good" I mean "really good": the first looked like Reblochon, so we made a tartiflette and the second Raclette (needless to say how we ate it)! Ah cheese!!! Just for that one reason I am in a hurry to go home... but by then we have a few steps awaiting us. Next: Oregon and Washington!

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