From spending time with my family here to the many great travels undertaken, it has been a memorable visit to the United States of America. It was a voluntary break I took from work, to relax and rejuvenate. Mark Twain had said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Yours truly explored, dreamed and discovered. Each travel experience was unique and left me marvelling and reflecting on certain aspects.
The 17-mile Drive was enchanting – it took us through some promising sites. It was a drive through the pebble beach and pacific grove on the Monterey peninsula in northern California.
San Francisco was a beauty. The streets looked busy and pretty. We drove through the crooked, Lombard street. Any traveller would be smitten by the Golden gate bridge. Pier 39 was buzzing with activities.
The trip to Los Angeles and around was wonderful. We stayed at a bungalow on Hollywood hills. The visit to Disneyland was like walking bang on a fairy, fantasy land!
Universal studios was stupendous. The studio tour especially left us spell-bound. The visits to the Dolby studio, Chinese theatre, Madame Tussauds, etc in Los Angeles were worthwhile. We got an opportunity to see the bungalows of some popular Hollywood celebrities while on a trip to the Beverley hills.
We went around Santa Monica (a beachfront city in Los Angeles county) on a guided tour. The Aquarium of the Pacific around Long Beach (a coastal city near Los Angeles), followed by the harbour cruise over there were wonderful. My little nephew was thrilled to see the octopus dancing in its own charismatic way in the aquarium.
Redwood forest was yet another nature-friendly place. Thomas train festival was being organized that weekend and it was a total fun zone for kids. Apart from the train ride, it was a walk through the forests I enjoyed most.
We spent quite some time exploring the magnificent Stanford University. We also went on a guided tour of the University.
The Japanese gardens in Hayward was a beauty. It looked so pristine. It was refreshing to have gone there on a Saturday morning.
It was very touching to see the patriotic fervour here in Fremont, California while Indian Independence day was being celebrated! Actor Manoj Bajpayee was one of the guests.
The Jelly Belly factory was another sweet visit. We went on a tour of the sweet factory and gathered firsthand information on how different flavoured jelly beans are processed and packaged. It was interesting to note that the 40th president of the United States, Mr Ronald Reagan used to savour these jelly beans!
Sacramento, the capital of California, is less touristy but it is a very serene and beautiful place! The American River Parkway there was a beauty and my nephew loved it a lot, a nature lover that he is.
Yosemite national park was scenic no doubt. It was like experiencing nature at its best.
Grand Canyon was truly a geographic wonder!
Las Vegas was a colourful city, with a lot of theme based hotels. It was nice to see the décor and aesthetics of these hotels.
Berkeley University had its own charm. Upon our return, we came across a Udupi palace (veggie) restaurant. Enjoyed some vadas and lassi.
A visit to the corporate head offices of Facebook and Google was fun. Loved the Google campus in Mountain View.
Well, the east coast of the US was beautiful! The weather cooperated too. I shall write more about the visit in my next post.
All along, I was reminded of my Europe travel days, where my husband and I used to enthusiastically explore places of interest. The other memorable aspect of this trip was that I caught up with some of my friends – a couple of whom I met after close to two decades! It was wonderful catching up with a couple of relatives and family friends. It also felt very nice being invited over for tea by the CEO of the first company I had worked for.
The Janmashtami, Ganesha and Navaraatri celebrations and a pooja arranged at home added more colour to the US stint. It was indeed a memorable stay at my sister’s place, who with her family, lives in the Bay Area, California. I love her home, which I fondly refer to as Radiance.
My travel taste buds are satiated fully for the season. It’s packing time now. Ahh, I am experiencing parting pangs!
Bye for now,