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Posts tagged ‘California’

weekend in LA

It’s not that the grass is always greener; yet, much as we love our Foreign Service lifestyle, there are certain things we miss about not being in the States. Topping the list is being far away from friends and family. In addition to rarely seeing the people we most love, we also miss many of their special occasions. Each year we spend abroad, our refrigerator fills up with birth announcements and invitations for missed weddings. This summer, one of S’s closest friends was getting married, and though it meant flying halfway around the world, much of it alone with Munchkin, S decided this was one wedding she shouldn’t miss.

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birding U.S.A.

It took more than a year of African safaris for D to finally admit that he had become enamored not just with the continent’s exotic birdlife but also with the hobby of birding itself. To S’s occasional dismay, he took his newly discovered enthusiasm for bird photography on our home leave travels, which meant that sometimes S would find herself hiking alone while D left the trail to follow some winged creature into the woods.

Anna's hummingbird, Mt. Tamalpais

Anna’s hummingbird, Mt. Tamalpais

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postcards from small-town America

As the temperature drops and the weather gives unmistakeable signs of the onset of autumn in Chisinau, we find ourselves revisiting the warm memories of our summer road trip through California. We briefly scrolled through our pictures to pick out a handful of favorites while posting about our adventures, but the bulk of the 5000+ photos we took remain unsorted. Our previous posts focused on the places we visited. Here are a few snapshots of our favorite places through which we simply passed.

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the end of the road

Like all good things, our trip too came to an end. After a full day in Big Sur and Monterey we arrived in Santa Cruz just as the sun set.

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a splash of color

The valleys and mountain slopes of the Sierra Nevada are famed for their springtime wildflowers. In planning our trip, D found several hiking sites dedicated to wildflower exploration, which were filled with enthusiastic descriptions of dozens of wildflower species and gorgeous photos of lush meadows that carpeted the highlands in rainbow splotches of color.

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American safari

After spending two years in Africa and going on countless safaris, it was virtually impossible not to keep an eye out for animals while we traveled around the California wilderness.

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under the sea

Our last bit of sightseeing in California was a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was listed as a top-ten highlight for the state in our Lonely Planet. The guidebook suggested spending at least half a day there — perhaps to justify the price of admission — but after arriving in Monterey late in the afternoon we only had an hour and a half to walk around and explore the various marine exhibits.

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Big Sur

Even on limited sleep, Big Sur proved to be too beautiful not to explore fully. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that we got up with the sun. We needed the early start to fit everything we wanted to see into just one day.

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no vacancy

It was early evening by the time we left Hearst Castle. We stopped a few miles north of San Simeon to check out the elephant seals that reliably make their home on one small, rocky section of California’s shoreline, and then headed further north towards Big Sur.

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the enchanted hill

Before entering Big Sur, the final destination on our California road trip, we made a stop in San Simeon. This tiny hamlet would not even be on the map today if it wasn’t for William Randolph Hearst, the real life Citizen Kane, who built his Xanadu at San Simeon, on land that once formed part of his father’s cattle ranch.

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