6 Reasons Why you should Road Trip

6 Reasons Why you should Road Trip

Everything right now is about doing things faster, sometimes this includes travel. Everybody tries to find the fastest ways to get to a place and that can mean that you miss out on great experiences! Here is why you should talk the extra hours and drive to your destinations if it is at all possible:

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  1. Things to see and things to do! When you fly, you only see your destination. If you drive to your destination, you can stop in different places and see so many other sights. If you drive through the US, you can see multiple landmarks, instead of just the one you are heading towards. If you drive through different countries you can experiences many different cultures!IMG_5147 2
  2. Food! You have so many more opportunities to try different foods. If you drive through multiple countries on your road trip, you can try food that is native to this country. I found some of the best places when I just did a quick google search of what’s near me. Not to mention all the junk food you can enjoy, because everyone needs fun snacks! 
  3. Spending time with your friends. When you spend hours in the car you get much closer with your friends. You tend to look at your phone less and actually talk to each other. Not to mention all the adorable photos you can take together! Hopefully you won’t get into any fights, otherwise the journey will be really long.
  4. Music. When is the last time you truly listened to music without scrolling through your phone or reading the newest headlines? There is nothing like blasting music with your windows down while driving down an endless road. You can belt out the lyrics and no one will care what you sound like! So make sure to create a fire playlist before setting out on the journey!
  5. Bring more things with you! Whether this is a short trip or a long one, everyone hates weight limits when flying, when you drive there is no weight limit, just a space limit. If you are a good packer this means you can bring LOTS of stuff!
  6. Learn about more cultures. This is even true if you are road tripping through the same country. Each state in the USA has its own culture, you will definitely meet completely different people in California than in a cafe in Boston. If you are driving through different countries, then there is absolutely no doubt that you will come across many diverse cultures.IMG_3637.JPG

Hope this helps you slow down a little and enjoy your trip! There are many benefits to taking your time and driving around while you head to your destination.

 


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San Diego Zoo

A couple of weekends ago we went back to San Diego, this time to spend the entire time at the zoo! The San Diego zoo is known for their pandas, so we were really excited to see those. So, we got into our car and drove two hours from Los Angeles to the iconic zoo.

The tickets are $52 for a day visit, which is a little overpriced, but the zoo is beautiful, so you can tell they use the money in a good way. First we saw the orangutans, one of our favorites. They are huge and look pretty friendly! We then made our way to the tigers, one of which looked very impatient and hungry, definitely waiting for his lunch to get there.

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We then made our way to the hippos and monkeys. We walked through the area where they keep the leopards, wondering what it would be like to cuddle with the white leopards. Finally we reached the Panda trek and walked along it, seeing various bears. Panda Canyon was under construction, so the pandas were relocated to a new enclosure. This didn’t much matter, because the two pandas were asleep when we got there, so, sadly, we couldn’t see them. We knew we wanted to see them better, so we decided to circle around later.

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Then we went to the Urban Jungle, where we saw giraffes, that absolutely loved us (at least we like to think so). They followed us wherever we went and posed for pictures! The rhinos seemed very cuddly, so when one of the caretakers came up to the fence, the rhinos came over, waiting for her to pet her. What we found interesting was the zebra and the donkey in one enclosure, with a sign saying they are best friends! What was even weirder, in another enclosure they had cheetahs and dogs, which are best friends. The dogs are called animal ambassadors, helping the zoo domesticate the cheetahs and make them friendlier towards humans. It’s such an odd concept and I’m not sure where it came from, but it seems to work.

Next we saw koalas, which are adorable! Most of them were sleeping and when they were sleeping, they were chewing or leaves. We moved on to meerkats (my personal favorites) and elephants. We paused at the Sabertooth Grill for lunch. I had the “incredible nachos” which were good and a refillable soda, which came in handy throughout our walk around the zoo. We then walked up to the lions, which were shockingly sleeping and then up to the arctic to see the polar bears. The polar bears were one of my favorite to see, because they were so active! They were splashing around in the water, cooling down from the warm weather!DSC_6337

We finally walked around to the gorillas, which we had been circling the entire day, but haven’t actually seen them. They were also very active and we ended up sitting there for a while, watching as the youngest one taunted the older males.

DSC_6403We decided to go around to the tigers and the pandas again before calling it a day. The tigers had obviously moved to a new spot to sleep, but continued to nap through the afternoon. The pandas were awake though, so we finally saw them at their most active time: meal time. They sat there, chewing on bamboo and leaves. We found out that when pandas are 18 months old, they have to be separated, because they start seeing each other as competition and start getting aggressive. A good time to see them is around 4:30pm, when they get fed, so plan around that!

DSC_6457Before leaving, we stopped by the giant turtles and the alligators. At the end of the day we had walked about 10km (6.5 miles) around the zoo, spending about 5-6 hours there. I definitely recommend this zoo, it is a beautiful zoo!


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San Diego Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

 

San Diego Road Trip

One weekend we decided to drive from Los Angeles, down to San Diego. Usually the drive about two hours long, making it the perfect day trip. The city is beautiful and it is a lot of fun to just walk around.

DSC_6171The ride down took a little longer than expected. We hit a couple of car accidents along the way, so it took us more than three hours to drive down. Except for a foggy/smoggy part of the highway, the drive was really nice, right along the coastline. On a warm, pretty day, it must be even more gorgeous.

By the time we got to San Diego, we were starving, so we popped into Las Hadas, for a quick lunch. I definitely recommend this place for lunch and sit outside if the weather is nice! We got carne asada fries, which were fantastic! It made a good appetizer when we shared it between three people. For the main meal, I got enchiladas, which I also recommend!

After lunch we walked around, down to the marina and around the convention center. I have always wanted to go to Comic Con in San Diego, so even being near the convention center felt awesome :). The marina is beautiful, with a little seaside village, that has different stores and places to eat.

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We also walked around the Gaslamp Quarter, which is beautiful! It is a cute little area, with lots of stores, restaurants and pubs. Definitely spend your time walking around and pop into one of these places to eat! Get Mexican food, if you like it, you will not regret it!

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Originally we planned to go to Mission Beach for the sunset, but when we got there, it was so smoggy that we did not want to even get out of the car. I am sure it is a beautiful area, with the aquarium and a theme park, but we were disappointed by the amount of smog. We even tried driving further up north to get away from the grossness, but without luck. We didn’t see the sunset, but it was already dark anyway. It is a really nice area and I would love to explore it on a day when the smog is not so heavy. There are lots of restaurants along the coast and nice houses. If I get the chance, I will go back and explore a little more.

We went back to San Diego to see the zoo, it was a great trip so check back in for another article!

That is all I have for you about San Diego, for now, check it out the city and spend a little more time exploring it! 


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Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

 

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

One weekend me and my friends decided to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, spend one night there and drive back the next day. It was absolutely amazing trip, even though not everything went quite as planned. We found out google lied to us, but we were ok with it. We did so much in these two days, to really take advantage of where we were. Here’s a couple of things we did and what we learned.

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First, we decided to take the PCH and the 101 up. So we drove right along the coast from Santa Monica, to Malibu and Oxnard. Unsurprisingly we were the only people driving up the coast after the “monster storm” that came to LA the day before. And even though it was still raining a little, the view was absolutely amazing and worth it. We had fallen in love with Malibu in the few weeks we have been here, so we enjoyed driving through the town again. The coast is gorgeous and I definitely recommend taking the Pacific Coast Highway for at least this part of the trip.

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Right before we hit Oxnard, we hit a very rural part of California, which actually surprised us. Lots of farms that spanned forever. In Oxnard we got a little lost. We turned off the GPS and assumed we would just continue going straight and we would hit the PCH headed north again. Well, we were wrong. Somehow we ended up heading east through more fields and driving through orange groves. It was gorgeous and worth the extra time. But eventually we turned the GPS back on, now to get on the 101 heading towards Santa Barbara.

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As we drove down the 101 we were constantly in awe. The landscape was surprising to us. We drove through mountains, hills, on cliffs along the coast. It took us a little over 3 hours to get from West Hollywood to Santa Barbara, so the perfect time to stop for a break and some food. Quick suggestion: a small cafe called The Shop Cafe. Amazing brunch food and you get the food pretty quickly, making it a great stop on a long trip. Also the food is AMAZING!

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We hopped back onto the 101 heading north. I don’t know what I imagined the Californian countryside to look like, but I was surprised. The rolling, velvety hills just kept going as we drove north. It was beautiful. Eventually vineyards started popping up and the highway straightened and flattened. At this point we hit a bit of a rough patch. The trip was getting long, we had already driven for 6 hours out of the expected 6.5 and according to Google Maps we had another 3 hours to go. So we ate a lot of snacks and stopped at a rest stop in San Miguel, a really cute town. What also woke us up was a small patch of forest with lots of pine trees, something you would find in the North East.

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After 9 hours, around 4:30pm, we finally hit San Francisco. We parked the car ($45 overnight parking), checked into our hotel, Union Square Plaza Hotel. After 9 hours in the car, we decided to walk to Fisherman’s Wharf. So up, over the hill and down Powell street we went. And when we reached our destination, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset. We walked along the Wharf popping into different stores. Most importantly we bought a bunch of saltwater taffy, something I have never tried. So worth it, it was amazing! They had many flavours, anything you could think of, from cherry to sangria to pina colada!

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We walked down the road to Ghirardelli Square and started looking for a place to eat dinner. By chance we walked by The Pub BBQ and decided to share a bunch of appetizers and it was an amazing choice. The food was great paired with their drinks, so I definitely recommend! For dessert we went to Ghirardelli and got their famous hot fudge sundaes and sea salt caramel hot chocolate. And it was the best hot chocolate and sundae I have ever had! I will definitely have dreams about them.

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The best part of the trip came next. I finally took the cable car in San Francisco from Fisherman’s Wharf to Market Street! So worth the $7 ticket! It was too cold to hang on to the side of the car, but I will definitely do it in the future! This time we enjoyed the heated cabin.

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The next day we went to one of my favorite brunch places, Honey Honey Cafe and Creperie. Such delicious food and countless options! Just in the line we all changed our mind about what to get three times. One of the reason I like this place so much, other than the food, is that no matter how busy they get, you never feel like they are pressuring you to leave.

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After brunch we found the Painted Ladies, which is a must in San Francisco. They are gorgeous and I would move in, if I could! Naturally, the Fuller House house was next! Another house and neighborhood I loved. So we drove around a little and looked at more houses.

 

Golden Gate Bridge was next. We drove over it, in pouring rain. You could barely see the bridge as we drove over it, but that didn’t matter. We still had the experience and it was great. We drove to Sausalito, which is the most adorable town! There, we stopped for lunch at The Spinnaker, which was quite fancy, but totally worth it. Though the view from the restaurant was non-existent when we got there, soon it stopped raining and the fog cleared up, so we were rewarded with an amazing view of San Francisco! This, of course, meant that when we drove back over the bridge, the experience was even better! The view was beautiful, so we decided to drive through the Presidio, stop for a little and get a few pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from there.

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After that, it was time to get back onto the highway and head home. We took the I-5 this time, since google promised a shorter amount of time.  Since we drove in the evening and at night, we couldn’t enjoy the view as much. But before it got dark, we got a quick look at Dublin and Pleasanton, where we stopped for gas before the long journey home. They were both really cute towns surrounded by great country. IMG_3904

We ended up getting back to LA at around 11:30pm and decided to get milkshakes as a reward and as a nice cherry on top of the road trip. Mel’s Drive-In was the perfect way to end the road trip, their milkshakes were so delicious as were their fries.


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Los Angeles: Three month adventure!

Los Angeles: Three month adventure!

The next couple of months I will be exploring Los Angeles as I finish up my last semester of college. I’m excited to experience a new city that I have never been to before and I want to document and share what I find! I will continue to update this article, with new places to see, where to eat, photos and more information on LA!

My first week in LA has actually been very rainy, which no one prepared me for. To be fair, no one here actually seems prepared either. So, a TIP for anyone coming to LA, it is very possible that January will be cold and rainy. It might not happen that often but be prepared for this possibility. Also, it is desert climate, so it gets quite cold in the night! 

Sights

Griffith Observatory

To go up to the Griffith Observatory you have a couple of options, you can either drive up there or you can hike. For the hike there are also a couple trails you can take up there, some are easier and some are more difficult. The one we took was a shorter one, about 1.5 km each way. At the top you are rewarded with a view of the city on one side and the Hollywood sign on the other side. It’s a great place to walk around, take pictures and even pet some dogs, because a lot of people take their dogs on walks in that area.

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Walk of Fame

This is always a must. Just go to Hollywood/Highland and stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and look for your favorite celebrities. It is an extremely busy, so if you want to take a picture of any particular star, just watch out for people walking by, because you don’t want to annoy people by blocking their way. Also, quick TIP, there are some pickpockets there, someone almost tried to steal my phone from my pocket, luckily my friend noticed and stopped them, so just keep an eye on your things.  

 

Hollywood/Highland

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Like mentioned earlier, this is the place to go if you want to go the best part of the Walk of Fame. You can also do a lot of shopping around there. Most importantly, the Dolby Theater is there, so if you want to go see where the Oscars take place, this is a must. The Chinese Theater is also in that area, only a block away from the Dolby Theater. This is the place where many stars have their hand and footprints. So, if you want to see the Harry Potter, Star Wars, Hunger Games or Twilight cast or Meryl Streep, Julie Andrew and others’ handprints and signatures, this is the place to go.FullSizeRender Highland is also where Jimmy Kimmel shoots his show, so if you get tickets to see that you will go there.Also, there is the El Capitan Theater, where most of the Disney movie premiers happen. They usually have some costumes from the current big Disney movies, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and they have stormtroopers you can take pictures with. They also have fun screenings, like a sing along version of Moana.

 

Hollywood Farmer’s Market

IMG_3217This farmer’s market is Ivar Avenue & Selma Avenue. I’ve been there a couple of times now and it is definitely worth it! They sell all sorts of fruits and vegetables, that are a) cheap and b) delicious! And if you are not sure if you want to buy something, they usually have samples of the fruit they sell, but fair warning, you will walk out with that fruit. Also be sure stop by the creperie, where they even have gluten-free crepes!! This is obviously very exciting for me, but definitely try these crepes, they are amazing and very filling! Also check out the pastries they sell at the market, because it’s also delicious!

 

 

Universal Studios

This is definitely worth a visit. If you want to see Hogwarts and take the Forbidden ride, drink butterbeer or buy a wand at Olivander’s than Universal Studios is a must for you! But the fun doesn’t end there, they also have the Walking Dead attraction here, where you literally step into the world of The Walking Dead and zombies jump out at you from around each corner! Another great aspect of the Hollywood Universal Studios are the tours of the studios themselves. So many films were shot there, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the set of which is still up. IMG_3358

 Another must is the Jurassic ride and the Mummy ride, if you like rollercoasters. The CityWalk to Universal is also a great place. You can go shopping, eat food, drink, or just go to the movies. One place I recommend right now for food, is Karl Strauss Brewery, when we went we shared a bunch of plates, and it was amazing! Definitely spend some time just exploring the CityWalk, not just the theme park itself. One quick tip: if you are planning on going to Universal more than once, buy the seasonal passes, it will definitely be worth it.

 

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Santa Monica Pier is a must when going to LA, not just for the roller coasters and the entertainment on the pier, but definitely for the view of the ocean and the city. It is gorgeous, even though on warm, sunny days it’s extremely crowded. From the beach you can also walk a couple of streets inland, to the Third Street Promenade, where you can do a whole lot of shopping or get coffee or frozen yogurt! Just walking around the area is a lot of fun, it’s a very cute part of town that you can explore for a couple of hours.FullSizeRender 2

 

Malibu

We went to Malibu kind of by accident. We were heading to Santa Monica, but we missed the exit, and since Malibu was just another 6 miles or so from where we were, we were like why not. IMG_3441We all wanted to go anyway, so we continued driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. Malibu is gorgeous. The beaches are beautiful and there seems to be a lot of nice places to stop and eat, if you can afford it. We walked around a beach for a while and then just drove around a little. I definitely want to go back and actually explore the town a little.

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This is it for now! I will update with more places to see and where to eat!


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