West Coast Roadtrip – Part 3

At this point of the drive I was ready for a change. After so many gorgeous natural parks and the peaceful feeling of being out in the nature I was ready to get back to concrete chaos also known as a city. After a long and drive from Grand Canyon, I finally made it to Palms Springs.

Palm Springs & Joshua Tree

Palm Springs has always been known for its beautiful and consistently sunny weather. Many wealthy elderly people move there for the endless summer feel. I must say it sounds like a dream for winter, fall and spring but if you travel there during the summer the city is on FIRE!
Having traveled around Asia during the month of August I am accustomed to heat and humidity but I must say Palms Springs takes it to the next level. It is hard to stay anywhere without air condition past 11ham in the morning and before 21hpm at night.

view of three sets of palms trees with the mountains in the back and coloured ribbons in the sky 
neon cactus and plant lamp with pink and green fluo lights inside a hotel
joshua tree and white cliff mountain
cactus garden with mountains in the back

I must say this wasn’t my favourite stop during the road trip but  It is the perfect location if you want to relax by the pool for one day and hit Joshua Tree National Park the next morning! Joshua Tree is circa one hour away from Palm Springs and it is absolutely astonishing!!! One of my favourite stops during this trip!

San Diego

This city is the perfect combination of busy streets with endless restaurants and bars and a closeness to nature and the seaside. Having both combined all into one is rare and makes for great well balanced experience.

When you come here a pit spot to the Balboa Park in mandatory. It is a gigantic park that combines an array of museums, green spaces and gorgeous architecture.

balboa park view with palm trees red umbrellas and people in front of a fountain
green house with palm trees and flower garden

First Useful tip: Come early if you want to find parking. If you have time I recommend spending a whole day inside the park or coming back twice. In one morning you only have time to view one museum and have a nice stroll around the park.

A friend of a friend recommend North Park as a cool neighbourhood to grab some food and do a little shopping. I must say that after 15 days on the road in the middle of the desert I was a little excited to experiment a little city charm and do some shopping.
This area has a really nice chill vibe and a great selection of “bottomless mimosa” brunch spots. After a morning spend browsing the area, in the afternoon we decided to drive out to Sunset Cliffs for some ocean time. The sky was a little cloudy so we didn’t catch a killer sunset but the view was totally worth it!
yellow building on empty street

Los Angeles

The infamous world know city of Angeles is a mandatory stop on the road. You don’t need to spend a week here but at least swing by for a couple of days. I only had a little over 24hours here so it gave me just enough time to view the main sites. I recommend three days here if you also want to relax by the beach and check out the local markets and shops.

wall full of graffiti with skater sitting down
girl painting on the wall and yellow building with food and restaurant signs and a man walking in the corner
little blond girl with helmet at the venice beach skate park with people watching her
skater jumping in the air and other skater with red shirt watching him with people and palm trees

Carmel by the Sea & Monterey

This is the part of any trip when you start to get nostalgic because you know that things are coming to an end. From LA it was time to drive up back to San Francisco. On the way back I decided to stop by Carmel by the Sea and Monterey to enjoy the ocean and have some delicious last lobster and crab meals!

I slept in Monterey that is a charming sea town about 30 minutes drive away from Carmel by the Sea. They are both two wonderful small towns by sea where you will find a lot of wealthy families or elderly people. The hotels and restaurants are reminiscent of the Hamptons and get get pretty pricey. I recommend stoping by for one night to relax after a long 6 hour drive. The crab and clam shadower along a worth the pit stop!!

girl's back standing in front of the ocean

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West Coast Road Trip – Part 2

If you are reading this post,  you are either looking for a great adventure or you just randomly stumbled upon it online. This is the photo story of my 20 days west coast road trip. Go read PART 1 if you haven’t already done so!

Lake Powell

Driving to Lake Powell I didn’t really know what to expect. I figured it would be a beautiful lake but nothing that special. I was WRONG!
Lake Powell is an artificial lake with sparkly green water framed by astonishing and surreal red cliff mountains right next to Page city.

girl with eyes closed on empty american road with mountains

boats on lake with red mountains

clean green lake water and red cliffs with blue sky and white clouds

beautiful red cliffs
First useful tip: Take the boat ride around the lake! It costs 50$ but I promise it is worth it! You will get a unique view and perspective of the lake as you slowly cruise between the red cliffs listening to Navajo music! One of the most humbling experience of my life!

Second useful tip: Get a hotel in Page city as it very close to Lake Powell (circa 15 minutes drive) and also driving distance to Antelope Canyon. Basically if you sleep in Page for two nights you can cover Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon

Located just east of Page (Arizona), Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Land and has two separate parts that you can visit: The Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. You cannot tour these two canyons without a navajo guide. Booking a tour is mandatory and both tours need to be booked separately.
Due to time constraints I just made it to the Lower Canyon. Sometimes pictures are not enough to convey the incredible beauties of nature and the humbling feeling they give you.

red and orange cliff wall of the antelope canyon
girl with red bandana and black shirt looking up inside the antelope canyon
Useful tip: BOOK EARLY! Only the navajo people are aloud to arrange tours. There are limited amount of places available especially if you want the luxury of picking the time when the sun rays beam through the canyon. If you show up randomly without booking you might get turned down.

Monument Valley

When you get to Monument Valley you feel like you have travelled back in time to an old western movie. After driving in the middle of nowhere you are greeted by sandstone buttes that seem surreal.

window blinds open with view of monument valley
girl seating on rock looking at the monument valley view

street with white arrow painted and yellow squares and tourists walking down red cliff
Useful tip: If you want to drive around the entire the valley and get close to all the sand buttes you need a good car! There are no real paved streets and a sports car or a convertible are not ideal. I was afraid to damage the car so I didn’t venture out too much. If you decide you don’t want to venture out you can still get some pretty great shots and a beautiful view from the main entrance area.

Grand Canyon 

The Grand Canyon is probably one of the most famous natural parks in the world and also one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Carved by the Colorado river, its immensity is overwhelming. When I first arrived I felt like a tiny ant in a giant world.

cliffs and red mountains at grand canyon

Useful tip: This might seem like an obvious statement but bring comfy running shoes. You want to be able to work around and see the sights. The canyon is so immense that you won’t be able to see or do much in one day. You don’t want to loose half of the time being tired or uncomfortable.SaveSave

West Coast Road Trip – Part 1

As a kid, I always had a passion for travel. I was ready to take on the world and use to threaten my parents that I would take off and go to Europe with a backpack and no life savings.

Living in Canada, I took the USA for granted. Maybe it was the vicinity, but for some reason I was always more attracted to other continents. It took me moving to Italy to realise that the United States are a beautiful gem of wildlife and breathtaking sceneries.

This summer, I hoped on a plane from Milan to San Francisco, rented a car and embarked on a coveted and terribly cliché American road trip.
Driving around with music blaring, switching hotels and towns almost every night, I had an incredible experience!
This is the ground I managed to cover in 20 days:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Yosemite National Park
  3. Lone Pine
  4. Death Valley National Park
  5. Lake Powell
  6. Antelope Canyon
  7. Monument Valley
  8. Grand Canyon National Park
  9. Palm Springs
  10. Joshua Tree National Park
  11. San Diego
  12. Los Angeles
  13. Monterey
  14. Carmel by the Sea

San Francisco 

As this was my second time in San Francisco, I had a good idea of what to expect when I landed. What I didn’t except was a delayed flight and lost luggages. To make a long story short, almost an entire day went to dealing with the airline company and buying some much needed clothes and toiletry.

Enough with the complaining and on to the good stuff! San Francisco is a forward thinking city also home to many talented entrepreneurs and successful start up companies. If you have only 24 hours in town, I suggest riding a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf and hanging over there for lunch. The cable car ride will give you a quick and beautiful tour of the city and you can always hop on and off along the way! Once you get to Fisherman’s Wharf you MUST try the heavenly seafood for lunch!  The crab sandwich is circa 20 euros but I promise it is absolutely worth it!

For dinner or a quick drink, the Haight Ashbury neighbourhood is ideal. This area is home to the hippy movement from the 60’s. Today it welcomes people that rebel against the money making tech corporation hurricane taking San Francisco by storm.

a window reflection of a house a racoon with a birthday hat and a car
hand with glove at fish market with king crab and lobster

After a crazy 30 hours in SF and a happy dance for getting back my suitcase, I went to the airport to pick up my  rental Camaro. You can get a convertible car for circa 900euros if you book early. For the ultimate road trip experience and killer photographs I personally recommend splurging a little to get a convertible.

Useful tip: Search the area where you book your hotel really carefully. You can be downtown but also end up on a sketchy street in neighbourhood where you won’t feel at ease walking around early in the morning or dinner time. To give you an example, my hotel was lovely but the street right across was full of homeless people.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite will blow you away even if you are not the outdoorsy type that owns a top notch camping gear. The immensity of nature and the beauty of the pristine forest are something that is hard to describe in words. If you are not up for a big hike I suggest driving through the park and stopping along the way.
I won’t bore you with detailed information on the trails which you will get upon arrival or simply be clicking here. 

moving view of white rock mountains and pine trees

incredible nature with big mountains with snow on tip a green field with pine trees

blurry view of trees inside a forest with a moving feel

lake with tree branches and forest with mountains in the background

With only 24 hours to discover Yosemite Park,  I decided to embark  on the beginner trail that was circa 40 minutes hike. After the hike I took a two hour drive around the gorgeous park.

First useful tip: if you want to see the amazing view from Glacier Point, get there early! Cars are allowed up there only at the crack of dawn or after 17pm. If you are not physically fit to embark on the hike of your life take that into consideration.

Second useful tip: You don’t need to reserve but if you get to Yosemite after 12h you might have some serious problems finding parking in the main area.

Lone Pine

After Yosemite Park, I needed a place to sleep before making it to the Death Valley. After hours on the road, I ended up in a tiny charming town in the middle of nowhere called Lone Pine. The location was perfect as it circa one hour drive from Monument Valley and has some nice restaurants where you can unwind after a long day driving.

view from shop window of american flag and moving white truck

town with orange truck in front of restaurant and mountains in the background

endless road with yellow cliffs green grass and huge white mountains covered with snow

Death Valley 

Rumours are true the Death Valley is HOT. During the day the temprature can rise up to 47°C. For this reason I recommend coming here early in the morning or very late in the afternoon, Crossing the entire Valley is circa 2 hours by car. I promise you don’t want to be stuck here without fluids if your car ever breaks down.

close up of cactus with pink flowers
small coyote on the side of the road seen from car window
sand dunes with foot prints and tree branches in the death valley

Useful tip: Don’t worry you won’t actually die in the Death Valley but remember you are not a super hero. Don’t take things for granted. Water is precious if you are stranded and heat strokes are common. If you are not an expert, do NOT park you car and venture in the Valley for a stroll.

This is is for now! If you want to find out the rest of my journey on the road go check out the second post and share the love.SaveSave

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Nobody Reads Anymore – An Introduction.

Nobody reads anymore.
Hold on. I know what you are thinking: here goes another overly dramatic attention seeking claim that you can file right under “the world is coming to an end” category.
Hey! I am not here to judge!
On the contrary, I am here to help you indulge in this counterproductive form of rebellion.How many times have you caught yourself planning a trip in a new country or city not really certain what to do or see?
You start reading a travel guide but words don’t really inspire you nor do they help you decide. Out of desperation or boredom you end up scrolling Instagram or Tumblr, spending hours filtering through the useless photographs of selfies or local stores promoting their goods.  Well guess what? I am here to put you out of your misery.
The rule is simple, scroll through the photographs and if you get that “ineedtogothere!” instant feeling, read the content.