California Calling: Star-Gazing to Sightseeing

My daughter and I just came back from a week in California.  Although this was not our first trip, we were excited to participate in my favorite Uncle’s 90th birthday celebrations. Between our fun-filled and lovable visits to relatives and cousins, we managed to do quite a bit of sightseeing. It was a ‘family schedule’, because that was our priority.

Our first stop was Los Angeles, as Hollywood was waiting to be rediscovered. Given L.A traffic, you have to be strategic about your road trips to avoid rush hours. On our very first day, we did an early morning visit to the beautiful Santa Monica and Venice Beach. With its laid-back vibes, it is the perfect place to chill.

My teenager and her little cousins love to do star-gazing and get a taste of the magic of movies. The simplest way to do a Hollywood Tour is to settle for an open top bus which gives you a ride through Beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive and the Sunset Strip. The 2-hour tour passes dozens of sites, including well-known landmarks such as the Playboy Mansion. After the tour, we went down the Walk of Fame, as our girls excitedly identified the stars of celebrities that they knew.

If you’re in Los Angeles, give it a spin.

When in L.A, you’d want to tour some filming locations. So, even if you’re there just for the weekend, a visit to the Griffith Observatory is a must. This planetarium and astronomy museum offers breathtaking views of L.A, Santa Monica and the Hollywood Sign. The walking trails and the fun exhibits all add up to make a popular and an attractive spot.

After we left the gorgeousness that is the city of Los Angles, we headed   to Yosemite National Park, on roads that seemed to stretch on forever (My brother was the official, designated driver of the minivan). The scenery was beautiful and I just felt an overwhelming sensation of happiness, breathing in the fresh air.   Personally, I would have loved another day in Yosemite to do some hiking. If you enjoy the great outdoors, then it doesn’t get any better than this.

It’s down to our last and final stop—San Francisco! Any would be incomplete without a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, the floating Forbes Island   restaurant and the 39 Pier. We also captured some incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge on our boat tour.

On our way back, we stopped briefly at Lombard Street, also known as the “most crooked street in the world“, it is a one block section of the Russian Hill neighborhood. Driving down the street is pretty fun as it is literally a very steep and winding road that is smack dab in between homes.

The climax was the big birthday celebration and family gathering at my cousin’s beautiful Napa Valley home.  Being the first day of April, Napa Valley was overflowing with the springtime blush of blossoms and colors. The natural beauty of the valley definitely shines in April, I was told. They were right.

Love you family! Love you California!


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