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California Dreaming

The US state of fame and fortune is where many across the globe migrate, to test their chance for a better life. Me? I'm just here for the adventure.

Mid February I was given the experience to see the main cities in California in the very short space of a week with my mum, her partner and my best friend. I'll tell you for sure this amazing place is certainly worth much more than a week with some of the best surf spots in the world, thousands of miles of agriculture and quaint local towns to see.

We set off with Norwegian Airways, which is always a pleasure to fly with offering long haul flights for the price of short haul. However I will say be careful when placing the booking and getting caught out with meals/luggage- they have to make their profits somehow. Anyway from the moment we set foot into Oakland, San Francisco we were welcomed with open arms and seemed to notice how friendly the locals are. Arriving at our Airbnb due to our budget we were pleasantly surprised with the standard against price. I will highly recommend to everyone to skip the hotels at all costs and find yourself your own hire property that can be personally suited to your needs.

After plenty of rest but still affected but the 11+ hour flight we had no time to loose and got on our nearest BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the financial district. From our apartment in Berkley it was only a short 20-minute ride away. As soon as we arrived we were truly in the heart of San Francisco. Cable cars and suburban streets surrounded us just as shown on the big screen. Due to the short amount of time we had we headed straight for the ferry port market to then pass all the piers including pier 39 which couldn't be more of an stereotypical American experience. Overlooking Alcatraz island, the old maximum security prison, it's just a short walk to the famous Fishermans Wharf serving fresh seafood dishes from top to bottom.

Honestly the best place to see the city is by foot. Why would you want to miss out on secret gems hidden down side roads? Arriving back into the city we found Ghirardellis chocolate shop branch that is based in San Francisco. Without a doubt their hot chocolate is the best out there. Once the sun started to set we stopped at Cliff house, a bar overlooking the ocean and the view you will see is truly spectacular.

Now something we don't have in the UK is pool Uber, the idea definitely is innovative where the system arranges taxi share to the same location for you so you don't have to pay no where near as much. This is what we used down to Union square to do a little night shopping before dinner. After a couple of bucks down the drain and it was time to go to our table booking which we had no clue where it was. Frankly we were lost in the middle of the city with my mum no where to be seen so we ran around up and down hills asking for direction (very close to an asthma attack) until we finally found the restaurant.

The next day we awoke bright and early ready for the long journey ahead to visit Yosemite national park in our hire car. No exaggeration, its on the other side of the state so be prepared to feel like your getting no where. You can view the horizon of the mountain a good 2 hours before arrival. You do not know the true meaning of beauty until you see these thousands of square miles stripped of technology and tourism. This park so unique and home to some of the most picturesque sights there is. One of the main waterfalls- Bridal Veil is where we spent most of our time taking it all in one minute at a time. Lets just say I passed out as soon as my head touched the car for the whole journey home.

Soon to leave the city of San Francisco we had missed out a major asset of this city, the Golden Gate Bridge so we did the obvious thing to do and visit it. However we had a long journey ahead of us so just did a quick truck stop and generic snap to say we been there and done it and started our road trip across route 1. Forget route 66 and drive along the miles of costal views instead. After a few hours and thousands of miles on we came to a bit of a hold in our journey. Now this is why research is key and we clearly had missed that essential part. Coming along half way the road was blocked of, we had 2 options. 1- drive all the way back to Monterey Bay to take the other route or 2- take a very dangerous path on the side of a cliff. Which one did we choose? The death sentence of course!

Although everyone was on the edge of their seat we saw the most amazing sunset we’ve ever witnessed. It painted the sky red and orange while we backtracked our path. Coming back onto the main road we continued our journey only to come to another holt. It was presidents' day. "Try find a last minute place to crash on this public holiday". In the end we all crashed in the car, not the roomiest of places but had to be done.

Rising bright and early we were officially in LA! Now a highlight of my trip was this day, somewhere I'd been dreaming of going my whole life after it being highly recognised over YouTube and Instagram. Venice Beach. The range of characters there, are never ending from jocks to hippies and barbies to fitness fanatics. Being the state of legal medical marijuana, it isn't hard to come across sellers along the strip if that's something you are interested in. For me Venice Beach was everything I'd hoped it to be and more...

Later that day we jumped back in the car and had a long drive through the Bel- Air neighbourhood home to the Fresh Prince. Nothing short of extravagant to say the least.

My 18th birthday, the one where people usually get hammered at their local nightclub. My style was more Universal Studios. Booking it on the way down there I couldn't have been more excited to just let my hair down, theme park style. Running out time for all the rides we had to pick between a few, until an awesome staff member decided to gift us with tonnes of spare fast passes he had. Made my day!

With a few more hours to go I thought I'd end it with one of my favourite things. Surf board in my hand and wetsuit on, I went to catch some waves before our flight. I cannot fathom how incredibly lucky I am to have been given this opportunity to see the world and the amazing people in it. Cali by far is a winner on my list.

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