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Canada bade us farewell in the early hours of the morning as we lumbered onto a train and off into the sunrise. I love trains, they are a magnificent beasts that can haul such impressive volumes of people and goods, and I was excited to take a train rather than flying as the carbon footprint is much smaller. On future adventures I would like to travel slightly slower and use trains and busses more for this same reason.
Much as I adore trains, I struggled to love this one through my bleary hatred of mornings. 4am wake ups are not my favourite thing, and are one of the most glaring downsides of public transport - it goes when it goes, not necessarily when you want it to go.
And here is a peak into the true glamour of travel, shuffling around, bleary eyed and waiting for the chap who had offered to show us Seattle (who we found online through a Scout contact) and desperately trying to get some kind of WiFi.
He arrived soon enough and drove us in to the thriving heart of Seattle!
We only had a day there, and we were treated so well and we saw most of the iconic places that were on my list. Our excellent tour guide and host treated us to a cruise on the harbour and walked us around all the classic Seattle attractions.
I adored how funky Seattle was, with art everywhere, these are probably my favourite -
Just like that our brief stop in Seattle was over. I'd love to go back, and maybe check out Portland while I'm vaguely in the area too. All three of us felt pretty positively towards the city, and saw quite a few similarities between it and Wellington, our home here in New Zealand.
From Seattle we flew down to San Jose for our final chunk of the trip - Califooooorniaaaa
There are so many parks around California, green spaces and big towering trees. It made me very happy.
While in San Jose we took the time to recover and sleep in a bit, caught up on laundry, and voted in the New Zealand election.
I believe very strongly that participating in elections is something everyone should do if they can, regardless of where they are in the world, and I was excited to see how easy it was to vote in the New Zealand election from overseas.
We drove into San Francisco for a day to see the sights and soak in the vibes. San Francisco is a fascinating city. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but I feel like I want to know more about it. I also find it morbidly fascinating seeing the huge beautiful houses in one glance and people living in tents under motorways in the next. There seem to be lots of problems in the city. Maybe that's why it's so interesting - I want to know why.
The travelling trio took today as an apart day, where we did our own thing and had time away from the others. I strongly believe that when travelling with people for an extended period of time splitting up at least one day a week is ideal, and it definitely helps make sure you still love them when you get home. If you can, try to land your apart days on days when you are in places where you want to see different things, or spend different amounts of time in places. In San Fran Jaime had friends to catch up with, who Tom and I didn't know, so it seemed like a good day to pick. It's also worth considering safety, depending on where you are. Some cities are definitely worth exploring as a pair or more.
San Fran is pretty safe, so on my own I set out to see the sites. I focused on ones that were free and outside.
I decided to walk the whole city, because I was in an active mood and knew the next day would be mostly driving. I only slightly regretted that decision the next day. I started by stumbling into a groovy fruit and veg market where I picked up some zero waste snacks for the day -
Then missioned over to see the Golden Gate Bridge -
The Wave Organ - an art piece that uses pipes that go into the water to create different sounds
And from the Wave Organ - a view of Alcatraz.
After a relatively long walk in the incoming drizzle, the painted ladies -
A view of the San Fran City Hall -
In the distance the Coit tower, and the view down Lombard street -
and looking back up Lombard street -
- and then a power walk to the piers to meet up with my people again.
I underestimated the distance back down our rendezvous location, so we only ended up leaving the city quite late (sorry team) so we had In'n'Out for dinner. Let's call that a 'cultural experience'.
We spent the evening getting the last of our laundry folded and packed, and preparing ourselves to leave the real beds we had enjoyed for the wonders of camping mattresses and pillows made from clothes stuffed into a pillow case.
The West coast generally seems more relaxed than the East, and I think if I was ever to move to the USA (highly unlikely in the current political climate) I would want to live on the West. This thought was solidified over the following week of travelling the national parks around the area, they are phenomenal! A blog with loads of gratuitous nature shots is coming soon, so check in later this week. :)
Thanks for coming along!
See you somewhere,
P.S. USA was pretty challenging in terms of zero waste fails. This one for example- where everything else in the whole shop came in paper... except for some reason the thing that I ordered...
Labels: America, attractions, budget travel, food, gum wall, highlights, holiday, nature, parks, photography, san fransisco, san jose, Seattle, street art, train, travel, travel life, USA, west coast, zero waste