Up and down we go

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Hiking is always fun. I definitely found my love for it while being here in California. Of course I used to go for walks back in Germany, but you can’t quite compare it to actual hiking, if there are no mountains or at least hills involved, and this is the case in the area of Germany where I live.

The past weekend after the International Dinner Party a couple of friends and me had the day before, where we had way to many calories for that day, we decided a hike would be a perfect option of enjoying the beautiful weather and to burn some of the input of calories from the last day. We went to the Will Rogers State Park, which eventually leads into the Topanga State Park. You start at the Ranch of Will Roger, which today functions as a museum, passing by a polo field and a riding stable, until you finally get to the path on which the actual hike starts. You get some beautiful views of the coast, all parts of LA and some fancy houses. This is always what amazes me the most, the view. Most of the time I seriously question myself why I am doing this over and over again, sweating and having aching calves, but then I know why once getting closer to the top πŸ™‚ No matter how many times I have seen LA from above before, it always amazes me how big the city is, how many green parts it actually has and how beautiful the coastline looks πŸ™‚

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Roadtrip to the Bay Area

As my roommate was born in the Bay Area, to be exact in Fremont, which is about 40 minutes away from San Francisco we decided to do a road trip. Nice for me because I haven’t been, except when I was really young, and nice for her to be able to see her family. I got off from work last Thursday even earlier than expected because my supervisor, was worried about me being stuck in traffic. So I left work at 11:30 instead of 2 o’clock as previously planned. We took interstate 5 instead of driving along the coast, just to save some time. We made it in 6 hours, including stops for coffee and restrooms. For some reason those 6 hours didn’t seem to be long at all, probable simply because I was so excited, and because we hardly had any traffic, what a miracle πŸ˜€

Friday morning we did a 6 miles long hike up to Mission Peak. This was the most intense hike I have ever done in my life, as it was so steep. My body told me about 20 times, I can’t go any further, but in my mind I kept telling myself you can do it. And the view finally being on top of the hill was definitely worth it. The area in general is beautiful, I didn’t know how much one can appreciate trees and green hills. The road trip was in the perfect time, as sadly in the summer months all the hills turn into the brownish color as well, as I know it from around LA. But oh well, I at least could enjoy the nature for a couple of days. We went to a Thai Restaurant in the evening with my roommates family and shared food family style, which was nice because this way I was able to try many different things. I love Thai food! Ending the day with relaxing in the hot tub was just perfect.

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On Saturday we left early in the morning to go to Berkeley and to San Francisco by bart, which is the train that connects most cities in the area. I highly appreciate it as it is so much more relaxing not having to drive, being stuck in traffic and finding a parking spot, especially in bigger cities like San Francisco. Again LA you suck, but only when it comes to traffic and public transportation! Berkeley was crowded as there was an information day for high school graduates going on. I loved the vibe of the city though, so many young people, original stores, and the campus is beautiful with all the trees around it.

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San Francisco probable after being there for only one day, is one of the nicest cities I have ever seen. I love the architecture of the houses, and the steep streets make it so special. The taxi ride from Civic Center/Union Plaza to Fisherman’s Wharf felt like a roller coaster ride and again I was so glad that I didn’t have to drive by myself. The clam chowder soup and Fish & Chips I had at Alioto’s were really yummy. Can’t wait to come here again and enjoy a crab sandwich in May (hopefully I will make it to my host sisters graduation). After walking around Fisherman’s Wharf and having a view at the Golden Gate Bridge from the distance, we went to Ghiradellis, a really famous chocolate store. The Sea salt caramel sundae we had was delicious. We were able to enjoy some free Nespresso coffee at Union square, as a promotion was going on for a new line. Unfortunately George Clooney wasn’t there (there are commercials for Nespresso with him in Germany for many years now), but the coffee was still good πŸ˜‰ The day ended with some shopping at Macy’s and the surrounding streets.

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Sunday was more relaxing as we were quite sore from the hike and walking around the entire day. We relaxed outside as the weather was so nice, had coffee at Sujus and ended with a homemade dinner of chicken, Indian flavored salmon, asparagus and potatoes πŸ™‚ Β I got to enjoy traditional American homemade breakfast every morning, starting with sausage, hash browns with eggs and toast on Friday, ham, egg and cheese sandwiches on Saturday and French Toast on Sunday, yummy, but not something I could eat all the time. Reminded me a lot though of my High-School year in Virginia and what my host-family cooked, good memories πŸ™‚

All in all the weekend was really great. I enjoyed spending time with my roommate and her family while exploring new places!

β€œDon’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss

Weekend rΓ©sumΓ©

This weekend the temperature climbed up and reached the 90’s on Sunday (over 30 degrees Celsius). Can’t believe it, it is only March and we get temperatures we only reach a couple of times in July and August in Germany at all. So of course this meant spending as much time outside as possible to enjoy this beautiful weather πŸ™‚

On Friday night I was invited to a farewell get together. One of the interns at my company is moving to Boston, so we all had to say goodbye. I guess this is the part that sucks the most about spending time abroad. You make new friends knowing that sooner or later you have to say goodbye not knowing if or when you might see each other again. In this case if was sooner than expected. But this is something you just have to take into account when being abroad. I mean it definitely is a plus getting to know so many people from different countries of the world! I just hope one day I will be able to see everybody again, I guess I just have to make a trip around the world πŸ˜‰

On Saturday I went to the Getty museum with one of my friends, attending an internations event again. It was a guided tour, talking about the architecture of the place, which was really interesting. We had lunch before and enjoyed the beautiful view and the weather. Of course I got a little sunburn on my shoulders, because there simply was no shade during the entire tour. I enjoyed a coffee in Beverly afterwards and then was invited to have real Italian self-made pizza. It was good, better than the typical American one you get at restaurants here. The day ended with some live music in a bar.

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On Sunday I went to Malibu with my roommate. We wanted to do a hike at the beach, but the tight was so high that we couldn’t go all the way. The other hiking place we went to, was so crowded that we couldn’t find any parking spot. Not even a mile away! This reminded me that we are in LA again, crazy traffic -.- I guess everybody had the idea to go hiking since it was such a nice day. So we decided it wasn’t meant to be for us to go on a hike that day, so we went to Lake Shrine directly. This is a recreational area, where some of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi are kept. It is a nice place to relax and to get away, even though being in LA. Afterwards we went to a Thai restaurant, called Cholada Thai Cuisine, in Malibu and I have to say this was probable the best Thai food I had since having been in Thailand in 2011. Definitely will go there again! When we got home I relaxed at the pool for a couple of hours, but I guess all the neighbors with kids decided to invite their friends with even more kids…so it was really noisy and you get splashed even though it wasn’t on purpose. Oh well at least I have a pool to use here πŸ˜‰

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So all in all I had a great but packed weekend. Can’t believe I am here for more than 6 weeks now. Time is flying so I guess I have to continue like this, just making the most out of the time I have here πŸ™‚

American Burger Weekend

Activity wise my weekend was great with a variety of things i did, food wise it was the opposite, limited on burgers only πŸ˜‰

So Friday night I went out with a couple of friends to The Cat & Fiddle, a British place here in LA to have dinner. It was an interesting evening meeting new people at a cool location. I ordered a Portobello Burger with chicken instead of beef, because I am not that much into British food like fish & ships or shepherds pies. The burger was great, definitely would have it again.

On Saturday we went hiking in the Hollywood hills up to the Hollywood sign. It was nice to see the sign from a close distance and the view over the hills was great. Afterwards we went to the Griffith observatory to enjoy the sunset. We were a little late but still it was worth it. Being there at night with the view over the entire city and all the sparkling lights was just gorgeous. Definitely a must do again. We decided to have dinner at a typical American Diner, called Mel’s Drive-in on Sunset Boulevard, as I haven’t been to one since being here in the States. So of course, a burger was recommended to me. The burger was good, but next time I definitely have to try one of their famous milkshakes, simply did not have any room for it at this evening πŸ˜‰

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On Sunday we went to the Natural History Museum. I have been to the one in Washington DC before, so it was nothing new, but going to a museum once in a while is a nice activity. In-N-Out burger apparently is the place to eat a burger here in California. It is a must do when coming here, so we decided to have dinner there. I have to say it was nothing special, pretty much comparable to a big mac at McDonalds’, of which I am not a big fan. But everyone says the first time you go there everybody has the same opinion and after the 2nd time you get addicted. I hope I won’t πŸ˜€

So after eating burgers 3 days in a row now, I am good for the next couple of weeks I would say. And some extra workout is needed this week πŸ˜€ But my weekend was great. I was able to tick off a couple of things from my must-do-list πŸ™‚