California love

San Francisco

After so many hours of travel, I finally reached San Francisco, California. I was so tired that I just have to sleep off the jetlag! But I got a wonderful treat when I finally got my body balanced on land again.

California is bustling with places to go. For my first stop, we went out to see the iconic and breathtaking San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. Almost 2 miles in length, this suspension bridge connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County. The bridge is an enduring legacy that has stood for over eighty years. It is one of the most photographed sites in the world. So thrilled to finally see it! I mean, I’ve only seen it in movies and TV for so long. I can’t help but remember this unforgettable scene in X-men: The Last Stand from 2006, where Magneto magnificently displayed his awesome power by moving the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island. Wasn’t that fantastic?

Next to the Golden Gate, I had the most fun riding the awesome cable cars. These are open-air cars resembling a train wagon that tours around the city’s historic neighborhoods. With a little research, I found out that these cable cars have been part of San Francisco since 1873. Andrew Hallidie invented it after he witnessed a tragic accident when a horse-drawn carriage slipped on a steep incline after a rainy day. He sought ways to help navigate the hilly city safely to avoid any more accidents like that. These cable cars are now so intrinsically connected to what makes San Francisco unique.

There are so many sites to see in San Francisco like Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Twin Peaks, the San Francisco City Hall, and Chinatown. I can’t wait to experience the annual festivals like the Chinese New Year parade, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the San Diego Comic-con, and the most epic, Coachella Music Festival.

The best time to visit San Francisco is from April to November as the weather is fantastic. From June to September is the peak season for tourists so be prepared for higher rates in hotels and flights.

Los Angeles

Hollywood sign on top of the hill flanked by trees

Los Angeles! The city of angels where one’s dream of seeing yourself on the silver screen is almost at your fingertips. The iconic Hollywood sign draws everyone who wants to be a star someday. Touring this fabulous city is really so memorable!

First, a little trivia about Los Angeles or more commonly known for its initials – LA. This wonderful city in California is the second-most populous city in the whole of the United States. The first one is, of course, New York. LA boasts of a great climate, a vibrant multi-cultural diversity, and an economy that can rival a lot of the countries in the world! Add on the very glamourous image due to the prevalence of both the film and television industries plus being the home of the Lakers basketball team and you’ll have an idea of how awesome this mega-city is!

A visit to Los Angeles won’t be complete if you don’t get to go around two of the most famous parks in the world – Disneyland and Universal Studios Theme Park Hollywood. Both of them are family-friendly and a total destination by itself. They are huge!

Disneyland has 34 hectares filled with rides and stores. Universal Studios sits on 415 acres of movie theme rides and activities as well. Even with all the ways to go around them, the area is not for the health-challenged.  It would really take you a weekend to fully get around! Book the hotels within the theme parks to get the most out of the experience. That goes double if you’re traveling with your kids or when you’re in a large group.

Around Hollywood

Around Hollywood, you can tour the Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard, and the Walk of Fame where you can take pictures of the bronze stars with the names of your favorite artists.  You should totally plan a whole weekend or more just to go around here.

Next to the Hollywood sign, what makes a girl’s heart thud happily? Shopping, of course! So off I go to one of the most famous shopping districts in the world — Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills! Do you remember that Julia Roberts’ movie “Pretty Woman“? There was a memorable scene there where she was walking around loaded with shopping bags in Rodeo Drive, right? Well, that was me for a day. I get to be Julia Roberts for a while and it was great!

Santa Monica Pier is another iconic California landmark. Blockbuster movies, such as the award-winning movie Forrest Gump from 1994, showed this famous pier. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant was established here after the movie’s release and they are serving food-related to all things Forrest Gump, of course.

Iron Man from 2008 had an unforgettable scene with the flyby on top of the Santa Monica Pier that Tony Stark did. It was the very first time that Iron Man tested the flying capabilities of the Mark II suit. He specifically zoomed in on the children eating ice cream while on the Ferris Wheel. Who knew Tony Stark lived in California?

Another movie that featured Santa Monica is so close to every girl’s heart: Father of the Bride from 1991. This heart-tugging romantic comedy movie featured the Trinity Church of Santa Monica on the wedding scene. George Banks’ internal monologue in that wedding ranks as one of the best scenes ever made. And that wonderful song, “The Way You Look Tonight” sang by Steve Tyrell is so memorable!  The movie makes me laugh and cry buckets of tears every time.

Here’s a bit of a souvenir. I love how picture-perfect my pose here is! That hand sign is just perfect, right.

Lady making the letters L and A with her fingers with the Santa Monica Pier in the background
Santa Monica Pier

Go to Los Angeles between March to May and between September and November. The temperature will be from the 50s to 80s and will make walking around the different attractions easier.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe view of the lake and trees
Lake Tahoe

Visiting Lake Tahoe was another fun trip for this newly-planted Californian. This lake is inarguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Just imagine the pristine crisp air and that gorgeous scenery! I can’t wait to experience all of them here!

Summer

Lake Tahoe is an outdoor destination place year-round. During the summer months, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting are some of the activities that everyone enjoys. There’s also water-skiing, para-sailing. boating, and rafting for all the water babies as well. Tour around the towns and enjoy the local culture when you want to relax. They have art festivals and theaters and even a golf course! You will never run out of things to do here.

June to August is the best time to visit Lake Tahoe to get your summer vacation fun. But be ready for the mass of people converging there as it really is one of California’s go-to spot for summer.

Winter

The cold paints a glorious picture in this magnificent place. The snow alone comes straight out of a greeting card and the whole place becomes a winter wonderland. Winter activities include Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and so many more! The different resorts offer lessons in everything here if you’re a beginner so no need to get worried if you’ve never skied before. The ski hills are also catering to everyone — from beginners to Olympian-level competitors.

Having lived most of my life in a tropical country, this would be a totally different experience for me. I can’t wait to experience my first ever winter in the US!

If you want to see Lake Tahoe in winter, come here at the end of November. The months of December to February is the height of winter. You can expect lots of tourists around this time as well. I was told that the snow will be packed nicely and the place will be perfect. I’ll be sure to blog about my experience soon.

My hope

Living in a new place is a major adjustment for anyone. But transferring to such a multi-cultural city such as California made it easier. I immediately felt at home seeing people of varied nationalities living nearby. It is true what they say – the world is getting smaller every day.

Here’s hoping that Covid-19 will get a vaccine soon so that the world will go back to normal. We’ll all get to enjoy not only group activities again but traveling to different parts of the world will be easier once again.

Stay safe and happy travels everyone!

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