I am sure that California is fully part of the travel dreams of any self-respecting explorer.
It is the homeland of Hollywood, the scene of too many films and TV series that made us dream as teenagers (but also by those who are a little less adolescent), the kingdom of breathtakingly colored beaches and green parks surrounded by nature. California? the contrasts of Los Angeles, the joy of San Francisco, the marvelous, endless streets of Highway 1, the silence of Yosemite, the gigantic trees of the Sequoia, the infernal heat of Death Valley.
The arrival in Los Angeles? was less traumatic than I thought: the airport? quiet, and allows you to get out quickly, just do the checks, rent a car and leave for this mythical land.
We didn't find a lot of traffic to tell the truth, but Matteo and I quickly realized that Los Angeles is not? absolutely and exclusively just Hollywood glossy glamor.
We arrived at the hotel - the Hollywood City Inn, at the end of the Walk of Fame - and immediately set out to combat jet lag. It was dinner time, and we went star-hunting on the famous Hollywood Boulevard, ate a typical hamburger, photographed the footprints at the Chinese Theater. Area ? beautiful, a little degraded towards the end, but lively in the central part.
The second day we used all the time available, we took the car and set the navigator in the direction of Beverly Hills. I swear to you that - although I am not a supporter of Los Angeles, on the contrary - no story, no image in your head will ever be able to? never match the beauty and calm of this neighborhood. We shot for more? than an hour admiring all the little houses: some seemed straight out of a fairy tale, others were pastel colors, others still had gardens that could be designed. Walking through Beverly Hills you forget that - a few kilometers away - there are dilapidated and degraded streets, populated by disreputable characters. Beverly Hills? pure well-being, tranquility? pure.
Rodeo Drive? chaos, the chaos that I like, the vibrant, positive, energetic and elegant one. The shops look like works of art, the shop assistants are impeccable, the men and women walking the streets could easily be part of the cast of Sex and the City.
In the afternoon we left the hustle and bustle of this part of the city? to go and photograph another myth: the Hollywood sign, on the hills of the same name. If Beverly Hills? enchanting, then I have no words to describe the Hollywood Hills: imagine you live there? above and have, every morning, a privileged view of one of the cities? pi? world famous. Even in this area, the calm that reigns? only.
The Hollywood sign - in s? and for s? - not ? nothing exciting: it would only be nine letters, if it weren't for us? that that word represents. Cinema, characters we fell in love with, dreams.
We ended the day with a cloudy sunset from Griffith Observatory: the Hollywood sign on the left, downtown Los Angeles in front of it.
The on the road in California begins when you leave your Hollywood homeland. On the third day of the trip, we covered a lot of kilometers, between four wonderful places, typical of California.
At 8 in the morning we were already? in Santa Monica, only in the company of natives struggling with jogging. Apart from them, there was no one, and? it was fantastic. The long beach, the pier with the electric Ferris wheel: it was like a movie.
The second stage? was Malib ?, another famous and mythical place ?. The beauty of traveling out of season? that there are very few tourists everywhere, and even there, we were able to enjoy the beach alone. Malib? ? luxurious villas overlooking the sea and crystal clear but freezing water.
After that, we continued towards Santa Barbara: beautiful. Beautiful, laughing, colorful. Are there more? what other international brand shops, but the center still deserves to be visited why? cute.
Last stop of the day? been Morro Bay: another adorable seaside town, characterized by the presence of the pi? largest monolith in the world, in the middle of the sea. It is very suggestive to see her immersed in the silence of the late afternoon and in the smell of cinnamon rolls that they bake in one of the shops near the pier.
For the night we stopped in San Simeon, which would seem the classic city? American passing if it were not for the ocean to make it more? suggestive and relaxing.
Between the days more? beautiful of my on the road in California, c '? certainly this: the one dedicated to Big Sur, to towns like Carmel and Monterey and the arrival in the city? pi? beautiful that I have ever seen.
The day begins walking around Highway 1, aimlessly. Or rather, we had the goal but it was a pi? 2 hours away, so we decided to enjoy the view. Big Sur? a region of California, famous for its cliffs overlooking the sea, for the turquoise waters and the waves of white foam. At every meter, you will find views like the one just described and I challenge you not to stop at every vista point to admire it and take photographs. Also stop at Big Sur Lodge for the larger carrot cake. good in the world!
The panorama more? beautiful of Big Sur? definitely what you can enjoy at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: where the water? cos? blue to seem back to the Mediterranean and - from a cave - a small fountain emerges, there, 10 meters from the beach.
Shortly after you will find Pfeiffer Beach, California's purple beach: this? one of the few places I expected more from, especially after seeing certain photos. The color of the sand isn't it? exactly purple,? pi? a shade of purplish gray, but still worth a visit.
The half disappointment of Pfeiffer Beach? was amply rewarded by a place we had chosen for lunch, but which totally won me over: Carmel by the sea. It is a visibly wealthy town (as a clock in the square they have a Rolex, so to speak), made up of low houses and small shops. It's all adorable and super cute, so? so much so that ... I don't even have a photo. I behaved like a local and walked around the center as if I lived there? always. There? a better gift than a city? can do you?
Monterey - shortly after - we saw it quickly, turning it in the car, why? we were very late on the schedule, but it promises very well and looks very nice too.
After that, an endless road, without the sea view that had accompanied us in the previous hours, but for the sunset we arrive at her: from the city? that ? the love of my life, the most? beautiful, San Francisco.
On the first day in San Francisco we walk along Lombard Street, arrive at the tram terminus and get on one of those adorable vintage carriages. Taking the tram in San Francisco? one of those once in a lifetime experiences, at least.
We arrive at Grace Cathedral - a less austere version of Notre Dame - we wander around Union Square, the Financial District, Chinatown and the Italian quarter, where we eat excellent sandwiches in a shop run by an Apulian. After that, we walk along the quays, arriving at 33, from which our ferry to Alcatraz would leave.
The visit to Alcatraz? something unique and incredible, the audio guides tell stories of ex inmates and guards, in a way so real and smooth that you will not be able to take them away: think that I have not spoken to Matteo even once, in the whole visit!
Returning to San Francisco in the evening, when the sky turns blue and the city? it lights up ? was moving, really.
The second day we start with the excellent Ghirardelli chocolate, in the homonymous square. Prices are sky-high, but - after tasting it - you won't be able to get out of there? without having bought some.
After, we continue to Pier 39, where you can breathe deeply the cheerful atmosphere of Frisco: I can't tell you why, but I remember this place as the closest one. happy. A small square with unlikely shops and rides, it was like being a child again.
In the afternoon we visit the regal City Hall and the delightful Alamo Square: a small garden surrounded by colorful Victorian houses. For me, who am a lover of everything? that ? small and colorful, Alamo Square? an idea of paradise that I gladly accept.
Finally, we wait for the sunset near the Golden Gate and we get to know that bridge dreamed of too long.
On the last day in San Francisco, we begin by reviewing the Golden Gate in the sunlight, then cross it towards Sausalito, less than half an hour by car.
Sausalito? another too pretty town: quiet, on the sea, characterized by floating houses of all colors and an indescribable calm.
Can you believe it when I tell you that when I left San Francisco I cried?
The day starts badly: we discover that the Tioga Road - a nerve center for those traveling to and from Yosemite? closed - and we have to revise the itinerary, and give up areas like Lee Vining and Mono Lake.
We arrive in Yosemite which is raining and all? shrouded in fog, but we don't panic: we buy some unlikely yellow raincoats and start touring the park. The calm that gives such a place? surrounded by greenery? incomparable and makes peace with nature.
We admire the monumental El Capitain, we walk the trails of the Yosemite Falls, we search - unsuccessfully - for bears and we meet some very sweet fawns, who have posed to be photographed.
Yosemite? beautiful, too bad we didn't see it with the sun and the blue sky, but still we were able to grasp the essence of the park, and appreciate it.
If we thought we were unlucky to catch rain in Yosemite, we had to change our minds when visiting Sequoia National Park, as we found ... snow!
And not the snow like here in Italy, but the snow that reaches up to your ankles and sends you into hypothermia if you have "water at home" jeans and unsuitable shoes.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to go around the park as we would have liked, but we limited ourselves to walking the General Sherman Tree Trail and admiring the redwood. high in the world. In his presence one feels very small, even more so? if the fog doesn't make it easy for you to understand where the majestic tree ends.
The last day in California we were rewarded for all the cold suffered in the previous nine: yes, why? I didn't tell you but - despite it being spring - we never left our jacket, even in San Francisco we had a woolen hat and scarf.
But in Death Valley - as the name suggests - being cold and finding an unlucky time isn't it? possible. It's always hot in the valley of death.
This park enchanted me, it made me discover how even in the middle of nowhere there can be something, as well as where desolation reigns and everything screams "death", can you? find something and get excited.
The very high and very soft dunes, the mountains where colors like pink and blue (Artists' Palette) emerge, a huge expanse of salt as well as? the point pi? low of the United States (Badwater Basin), Zabriskie Point which offers an evocative panorama and allows an all-round visit to the valley, especially at sunset.
I loved California, its cities, its sea, its deserts. Do you agree if I say that? the region pi? beautiful in the world?