American road trip coming to an end

Leaving the giants of Redwood behind we worked our way north along the beautiful coast and made it all the way to Washington and to its pride – the giant of Mt Rainier. This is a year round snow-capped mountain with its 28 glaciers. We only stopped at the base not doing any kind of trekking but was still lucky to catch a glimpse of the grand top in sun light, before it started to rain. This is one of the most revisited national parks just because most people never see the actual mountain due to it’s raining 300 days a year.

After having an excellent weather during the entire trip with only two days of heavy rain we arrived back to a constantly raining Seattle, finalizing our big loop in America. We again stayed with our good friend Aparna and her lovely children to the great joy of our kids. We spent a week just to take it slow, rest from all driving and also did our final major shopping to make sure we reached and exceeded our allowed weight for the flight back home. The only sightseeing we did this time in Seattle was a quite disgusting bubble gum wall and the excellent Flight Museum. We were also invited to the presidents’ Air Force One, but none of its users – Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy – could show us around since they both had passed away. Obama was all busy in the new Air Force One.

We have really enjoyed this adventure together. The four of us feel very privileged to have been able to be together for three months, our third parental leave with our two kids. This unique timing won’t come back and we have been able to see and experience so much in the vast continent of America, which we still only have scratch the surface of. Lina cried when we had to return our second home – our giant red “mini” van – which carried us safely a distance of some 12 000 km or 7 300 miles. We enjoyed the ever-changing nature, especially the red, rocky, sunny, warm and dry deserts in Utah, which served as a perfect play ground for the kids running around climbing boulders and finding hide outs, an astounding scenery, tranquillity, quietness and a beautiful calm and simple life contrasting to the “normal” western way of living, filled with overwhelming impressions, choices and stress.

We have now safely returned to Sweden with “just” four overweight bags, four heavy carry ons, two car seats and two strollers. We were very lucky to have parents picking us up at the train station, with a warm welcome dinner in our own home, which they had kept in excellent condition while gone. We are jet lagged but will have a good week before work, to sort out our impressions and slowly adapt to the old way of living. We are also very much looking forward to see more of our friends and family and the upcoming Christmas season.

Thank you all friend and family “over there” making our stay and company pleasant, and also thank you all people sharing our experiences reading this blog and watching some of all thousands of pictures.

Love from Emil, Hanna, Emma and Lina – over and out!

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Spandex tuxedo wedding and tallest in the world

A normal day in San Francisco: we had a nice picnic at the water front with the Golden Gate in the background, Alcatraz in the other direction while a gay couple got married nearby in their spandex tuxedos. The renounced foggy city of San Francisco served us the best of weather with only sun and really pleasant temperatures.

A very good friend, Emil met 20 years ago in Pennsylvania, flew in with her family to see us for a few days. It was great to catch up and to experience the city together. We enjoyed San Francisco by boat beneath the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz, by the old cable cars / trams up the steep hills, by car along the curvy road of Lombard Street and over Golden Gate and of course heaps of exercise walking the hilly city through China Town, along the water front and the great Farmer’s Market.

We also had the pleasure to celebrate one of America’s greatest holidays. The whole country have prepared and decorated for months throughout our travel. Our girls where dressed up in fairy outfits with wings, tutus and wands our friend provided. It was then time to go trick and treat, and there was for sure a lot of treat to the great joy of Emma and Lina. The evening of the Halloween we had to spend at the Emergency Room with Lina screaming bad. Fortunately she wasn’t sick more than a bad constipation. A busy day…

We then stayed with a Swedish friend who had settled down in Belmont. We also stayed with an distant relative to Emil in Menlo Park. It was very nice to meet up with good friends and family and also to come into local houses and just relax with good company. Both these towns are in the Silicon Valley so except for a visit to Stanford University we also visited the campuses of Google (Googleplex), Facebook and Apple. Not much to do unfortunately but to take a few photos.

We then went to Monterey and drove the 17 Mile Drive passing by the famous and the rich people’s homes, I’m sure we probably weren’t able to see the nicest but I have to say they should go to Europe to get some inspiration how to build beautiful houses and not just big. The coastline was spectacular with a massive surf pounding the cliffy shore line. We also passed the renounced golf course Pebble Beach but had to give that a miss costing $1200 for one round of golf.

Hanna and Emil celebrated 10 years anniversary since we became a couple. 10 years of experiences together, ups and downs and two amazing children. We spent the day at Monterey Aquarium with an astounding variety. Walking through a dark room with backlit aquariums filled with jellyfish was just magic.

Heading north we made a brief stop in Berkeley at the university campus of UCLA. We then headed to Redwood National Parks hosting the tallest trees in the world – Coast Redwood. We drove, walked and climbed around, through and on these logs. They can become 135 Linas, 65 Emils, 380 ft or 115 m tall, with a bad diameter of 7 m and an impressive age of over 2000 years old. It was purely majestically to be among these giants from ancient times. Yes we were impressed.