Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

This weekend we decided to go to Arizona to see Grand Canyon! We were so excited to see it, since it was one of our top priorities on our bucket lists. We drove 9 hours from Los Angeles and it was definitely worth it!

We rented out camping equipment from lowergear.com, packed up the car and headed out on Friday afternoon. The drive was really long, but when it got dark, the stars illuminated the sky. It was gorgeous, especially before the moon, which was really low and huge, rose. The first night we planned on staying in a hotel, since we were going to get to Arizona pretty late. Highland Country Inn was a good choice, since it was cheap and all we really needed was beds for a couple of hours.  

In the morning we checked out and when for brunch. We picked The Toasted Owl Cafe, and it was amazing! I found out that Arizona has an incredible amount of gluten-free choices. We had to wait for food for some time, because the kitchen is tiny, but it was so worth it! So definitely check out this quirky little place in Flagstaff! We finally hit the road towards the Grand Canyon, which ended up being an 1.5 hour trip. When we got there we checked into our campsite and successfully built our tent.

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We finally hit the path towards the rim. The view was stunning! No pictures and not descriptions will ever measure up to what you feel like when you see it! Nothing makes you feel quite as small as standing on the edge and looking out over the canyon that goes on seemingly forever!

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We walked the western part of the rim trail that afternoon, making it all the way to the Hermit Point. We stopped about every five seconds to take many, many pictures (total adding up to about 500). We turned around at Hermit point and found the perfect spot to stop and watch the sunset over the canyon. We sat there for almost an hour and a half. A quick tip for the hike: bring snacks! Either in the form of granola bars or nuts or anything! Its nice to sit down and refuel before continuing the hike!  

After the sun set it got pretty chilly so we went to Yavapai lodge for dinner, yet again I was surprised at all the gluten-free choices. It was so nice to sit in the warmth and eat hot food. Definitely recommend sitting down in a restaurant for dinner before heading to the tent.

We headed back to the camp and set up a campfire, roasting s’mores until almost 11pm. Another tip: layer up for the night! The temperature dipped down to about 1 degree celsius (33.8 degrees fahrenheit).

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We got up at 5am to see the sunrise. For this we went to Mather Point and found a spot to sit down for about 45 minutes. We decided to go ahead and walk the east part of the rim trail and complete the whole rim trail. It was definitely a good choice to do so right away, because this way we finished the hike and packed up our tent by 8:30am. Also, we got super lucky and even saw a herd of elk on the path, since it was so empty and quiet in the morning. At this point we decided to walk west along the trail and hit the gift shop by El Tovar. This concluded our trip beautifully and we got to say goodbye to the canyon.

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We hit the road and decided to drive through Las Vegas, so we headed north-west. We even drove by and saw the Hoover Dam, but we decided not to stop and walk around, since we still had a long drive ahead of us. We only drove through Vegas, since we didn’t have too much time. It is definitely an interesting city with such an eclectic collection of buildings built in different styles.

We drove back to Los Angeles, finally getting back around 10pm. The experience of going to the Grand Canyon is something indescribable! Definitely go and see it on your own!

 


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San Francisco in less than 3 Days

A couple of weeks ago we went on short (2.5 day) trip to San Francisco and yes, we did a lot of touristy things! It was our first time on the West Coast, so we took advantage of the nice weather and explored some of the main sights.

 


IMG_6259Friday night we walked from our hotel, which, amazingly enough, was right by Union Square, to the Fisherman’s Wharf. It was about a thirty minute walk, half up an excruciating hill and the second half of it down. The directions weren’t complicated, literally we just had to walk straight. So that wasn’t an issue, we only got a little doubtful when we got into a very sketchy looking Chinatown. But we made it through and were rewarded with a really good fresh crab and a octopus-calamari salad when we got to the Wharf.

 

For dinner we took an Uber to a small restaurant, that the receptionist at our hotel recommended to us, called Pacific Catch. I got an amazing salmon filet with really good sweet potato fries! We were all so happy after that meal, but exhausted! We ended the day and headed back to the hotel. Since we were all jet lagged, all coming for the trip from very different time zones, we ended up going to sleep at about 9pm, so much for being a crazy college student, am I right?

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The next day we went for brunch and I love brunch food, so I was very excited to get good brunch and not just food at my dining hall. We searched around on Yelp! for something that was nearby and lucked out when we came across Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery. We randomly picked it out, because it was close by, but we were blown away with the quality and amount of food we got. It turned out to be a cute little cafe with a really long line. However, we didn’t wait too long and we managed to get a table right away. I definitely recommend this cafe! It is a must! Just make sure you get there at a good time, because I’m sure the place gets even more crowded.

 

Next, came an activity Alena and I feared a little. Ok, that’s a lie, we very afraid of it: biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. We were up for the challenge, but it was definitely going to be a struggle, since neither of us has gone biking in about 10 years. However, I am quite stubborn, so, with words that I was afraid were going to be my last, I declared CHALLENGE ACCEPTED and got on my bike.

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We rented bikes from Blazing Saddles, I questioned the name of it, but kept my doubts to myself. My favorite, however, was their short video we had to watch before renting the bikes. This amazing and not at all cheesy video gave us an overview of our tour and sights “we definitely cannot miss”. The very excited woman told us not to forget to turn right onto the bridge, which shocked us all, and told us to “just enjoy the view” as we rode across it. Meanwhile the woman at the counter got very sassy about it, clearly annoyed at having to watch the same video over and over.

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We weren’t sure what to expect of the actual bike ride, but we loved this trip! The weather was amazing and the view was priceless and as the video recommended, we “just enjoyed the view”! After a while we even got used to dodging families on the sidewalk (we never got used to cars, but that’s ok, we survived)! The journey was about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) long and took us 4 hours, which I definitely count as a huge success! We managed to get to Sausalito, where we took a ferry back to the ferry building. And we even navigated the busy streets of San Francisco and got back to Fisherman’s Wharf without getting hit by a car!

 

TIP: Bring enough water! It’s a long journey and you definitely need to keep hydrated

 

That night we deserved a nice big meal in a great restaurant, the name of which was forgotten after three glasses of wine. Our dad’s friend order basically EVERYTHING on the menu and we ate almost all of it. And just like the night before, we passed out after our long day.

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On our last day we went the Cliff house and went for a walk/hike along the coast. Finally, we saw the Golden Gate Bridge from all possible angles and took hundreds and hundreds of photos of it, and I felt complete :D. I could leave San Francisco knowing I took more than enough photos, about 400.

We ended our trip with The Cheesecake Factory, so yet again, another big meal. Our trip was so much fun and even though we didn’t manage to see everything we wanted to, we call it a success! We will definitely go back to see more sights and especially tour Full House filming sights!


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