This is, I suppose, a companion piece to this one, only with digital camera. I was travelling around California for 2 weeks as compared to my long weekend travelling Denmark, so thus the 10 things rather than just 5. That said, I could easily have come up with 15 or even 20 - I can hardly believe that the coastline didn't make the top 10...or the Monterey Bay Aquarium...or See's...or It's It...or Anchor Steam (that's a Thor top 10 item, as I don't like beer). What was I thinking? In the final analysis, these are my top 10, and I'm sticking with them. Feel free to add your own personal California faves in the comments - I would love to get some inspirational ideas for my next trip out.
1) Redwoods: You cannot see them and not fall hopelessly in love with them. And no photograph can do them justice. They are too vast, too far up, too shrouded. Or, to steal from a great poet of my acquaintance: 'Wow.'
2) Chinatown: When I lived in the area, Chinatown for me was the place to go to buy cheap Mao shoes. Since I've been away, I've discovered the touristic charms of the area. It was made more interesting by comparisons that I could now make to the 'real' China (my first visit to China being last Christmas/New Year's).
3) San Simeon/Hearst Castle: What can I say...I had no idea what to expect, and couldn't imagine that it would be that exciting - I'm skeptical of any location that requires one to go through on a guided group tour. I was wrong. It was a several hour picture-taking fest. Bad pictures for the most part. Actually, it said quite clearly on signs throughout the grounds that photography was o.k., but written permission is required before publication. I assume that this will not apply to my blog, or look for my 'top tourist things seen recently in prison' series sometime soon.
4) Japanese Tea Garden: The home of fortune cookies - yes, they were invented here, a fact which got me a free meal from a bet made with a naive foreigner. An oasis of peace...if you can ignore the sound of rebuilding work being done on the nearby DeYoung Museum and Academy of Sciences.
5) Mendocino: A quaint California town, with cute shops and immense numbers of tourists. Which makes it a lot like any other quaint California town (for example, Ferndale, Cambria, Sausalito). But with it's own scenery of course.
6) SFMOMA: The best museum architecture ever. Classic photography collection. Great giftshop and cafe/restaurant. Worth it just to go to the bridge on the fifth floor and then look down.
7) Baseball: No trip during the season is complete without a game. It's an adventure. Of course it's better when the Giant's win. Or if it's a good game. It wasn't. However, we scored tickets in the Field Club, where I have never been before (and probably will never be again, alas). We forgot the camera for this one, but if we had had it, the photo here would have been of the waiter delivering food to our seats. Sweet!
8) Golden Gate Bridge: I feel pride for 'my' bridge whenever I'm in Lisbon and gaze upon 'their' 25 de Abril bridge, which is a clear copy (no, really, it was modelled after the GGB). The Lisbon bridge is longer, but mine you can walk across it. For the photo, I'll refer you to my last post - by far the best pic taken on the trip.
9) Alcatraz/Angel Island: These go together as we saw them on the same day. I hadn't been to Alcatraz for well over a decade, and had never been to Angel Island and knew nothing about it really. The main thing was the trip in the ferry, the views of the city from the islands, and imagining life in maximum security. And hiking on Angel Island...I would imagine, but alas had no time for it.
10) Food: I always gain vast quantities of weight when I go home, as I pretty much eat continuously, all the comfort foods, and then going out to eat all the time (well it is my holidays after all). We had amazing Mexican, Chinese, New Age, and steakhouse cuisine, not to mention breakfast places, diners, and even fast food (no Taco Bell in Europe). We also had the worst Mexican food I have ever had in my life, but that I will save for another post.