Leaving LA, we farewelled the sight of the sea and headed inland on Route 66! No American road trip seems complete without cruising down at least a small part of this historic path. It technically runs from LA to Chicago through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois… a certain someone has done the whole thing, but this time we only went through the first three states to get to Las Vegas.
As we drove further from the concrete jungle of LA, the desert landscape began to emerge… not as dramatically stunning as the pacific coast but still a little awe-inspiring. Mountains, valleys, dunes with tufts of tussock… it felt peaceful when the sun was out and solemn when the clouds came in. The vastness of this country really sunk in and I am not at all surprised that there are people here who have never seen the sea.
After two days of cruising the coast, we arrived in Los Angeles- LA, Tinseltown, Hollywood, the City of Angels… call it what you will but at the end of the day, the city, like many of its famed residents is all show and no substance. Once I got over the awe of just being there, any romantic notions I had disappeared and I soon saw the cracks- the manic traffic and pace, the lack of character, and just the general dirtiness of the city. It probably didn’t help that we got lost, a lot, that day…
We picked up our rental car (a solid American number- Chevy Cruze, nicknamed Penelope) when we first arrived in San Francisco but it didn’t feel like the road trip had started until we were leaving the city and heading out onto the Pacific Coast Highway. Even though we come from a country surrounded by the ocean, we were still overwhelmed by the magnificence of the coast line. We crawled down the coast for two days before making it to LA; the steady pace necessary to take in the sights, battle the winding roads around the cliffs, and race against the early sunsets.
Do a quick google and you’ll see that San Francisco has inspired probably over 100 songs- and why the heck not? After spending a couple of days there, I could find a few good things to sing about too… we both agreed it was a city we would happily live in (if the American healthcare system and a few other things improved). I daydreamed about living in one of the charming terrace houses in the leafy downtown suburbs, wining and dining in the Mission District, shopping in the glitzy stores of Union Square, walking my dog (a prerequisite here it seems) in the Golden Gate Park or Presidio, and hitting the beach in the summer. Dreams are free eh?
But what did we actually do when I wasn’t daydreaming…
We arrived in Seattle after a surprisingly scenic bus ride which involved a border crossing far more relaxed than airport security- let’s just say that I didn’t have to worry about whether I was wearing my good socks and customs was more of a chat than an interrogation. All in all, a pretty relaxed introduction to the city.
I really had no expectations of Seattle as most of the things I associated with the city came from pop culture, for example:
It’s the home of Grey’s Anatomy- yet I did not catch a glimpse of McDreamy nor was I mistaken for Cristina Yang.
The show is also always showing shots of a tower resembling Auckland’s Skytower- theirs is called the Space Needle.
There’s a movie called Sleepless in Seattle which actually is more about New York… would you agree?
It’s where the first Starbucks opened and apparently there is one on almost every corner… I can now verify that this is probably true.
A season of Top Chef I recently watched was filmed in Seattle.