USA 1999/2000 - West Coast
After spending 10 months in beautiful New England I finally made it to equally beautiful California where I stayed for another 4 months working as a software engineer (intern).
Since I eventually found a pretty cheap flight I could even visit Andreas in Washington State and have a look at recently (ok, 20 years ago) erupting volcanoes, rainforests and the like.
San Francisco and the nearby coast
The last two of the pictures are taken in San Francisco, the city I
like best in
the US (Boston is a close second). The rest was taken along the coast between SF
and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Especially Point Lobos was incredible for its
scenic beauty and rich wildlife: In just over two hours I saw sea otters, seals,
sea lions, deer and various birds such as pelicans.
And Point Montara light house not only looks nice but is a youth hostel with an
accompanying beach, a hot tub and a nice view, more than most hotels can offer.
Yosemite National Park, CA
Not too much to be said here: If you can choose, come in spring when the
waterfalls carry most water and there are still not that many people down in the
valley. Since I was visiting in July when the tourist invasion has already
started, I hiked from Tolumne Meadows over the
weekend, camped at
Vogelsang Lake (just over 11,000 ft which is about 3,300 m) and went looking at the waterfalls in the
valley on Monday. If you seriously go hiking you pretty soon leave almost
everybody behind you and can enjoy nature at its best - even while the valley
is packed with people.
The last two pictures are not from Yosemite, one being a winery in Napa Valley
(this particular one had a nice modern architecture but forbidding prices) and the
other one being a drive-thru log in Sequoia National Park.
I must have been lucky, because it never rained while I visited Washington ;)
In fact, there was not a single cloud to be seen the whole time.
Seattle belongs to the nicer American cities, and there is a lot of nature
surrounding it. We went to Olympic NP (where there are rainforests, and even
there it did not rain) and to Mount St. Helens, where I underestimated the radius
of destruction that can be caused by such a comparatively small cone that actually erupted
(I mean the part that broke off to the side). Quite impressive indeed.
Of course, I also had a peek at the evil empire and in the evening I even visited
a real saloon for the first time (where everybody wore a cowboy hat). I guess
these saloons are not quite as prevalent in New England...
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