After Grand Canyon our plan was to meet up with some Swedish friends in San Diego. But unfortunately the last man standing Emma of our family, also got the super cold. We didn’t want any other to get sick so we made a few days detour into the desert.
We really enjoyed Joshua Tree park, with it’s giant Yucca palms big as trees, many kind of cactus and giant piles of massive boulders creating caves and hideouts for the kids to play in. The rangers also warned us for the migration period which was going on in the park. No it was not the desert turtles who spend 95 % of their time underground just coming out in spring to feed and mate, it was the big hairy Tarantula spiders, who according to the ranger was harmless and cuddly. We only saw one running across the road and neither of us got hurt. We also passed through the Anza Borrego park where they had let an artist run amok making all kind of fantasy creatures out of scrap metals.
Despite friends and medias discouraging statement about going to Tijuana in Mexico we decided to try our luck for a day trip. We left our van behind and walked across the border being so welcome we didn’t even have to show our passports, with a kind of strange feeling how safe this really was. We took a cab to the most touristy part of town Avenida Revolucion. This street was fairly clean and felt quite safe, we just did some shopping and had some lunch. We also went for a haircut and the hairdresser was so excited over our blond hairs. Both here in Mexico as well as in the US we got stopped everyday by people telling the proud parents how beautiful and cute kids we have and how blond they are. We then walked to the border crossing and was struck by the extreme poverty in parts of the Mexican society. This border crossing is the busiest crossing in the world with a good 40 million people passing every year. We were not as welcome back to the US so we had to wait in the long line for a good half an hour and here they actually wanted to see the passports.
Even if we were not able to see our friends in San Diego more than two hours before they left themselves for vacation, they were so kind to let us borrow their apartment for a few days. We really enjoyed the luxury of not just living in one room the four of us, to have a proper kitchen and staying and relaxing at the same place for three nights, gaining strength from weeks of sickness. San Diego was just a lovely city and we spent most time in La Jolla a very nice part of the city. The weather was unfortunately quite foggy but the temperature was still not too bad and we spent time on the lovely beach walks. We have had been longing to go for a swim but with no sun this was not tempting enough.
We then continued up to the vast city of Los Angeles. Via AirBnB we rented a room in a house at Santa Monica with a hippie yoga couple. To our luck they were out of town so we got their entire house on our own. It was really nice to get into a local home again with kitchen and many rooms. The hippies also had turned their home into a really cozy place. In LA we visited Hollywood walking the Walk of Fame, Beverly Hill and watched the spectacular housing for the rich, enjoyed our neighborhood in Santa Monica with its beach, pier with a small Tivoli where went on the famous ferris wheel and also the Farmer’s market where we understood the hippie community was hooked on organic vegan wholegrain raw food. Despite the not great weather and not too warm water, Hanna and Emil finally decided it’s now or never and jumped into the surf while the kids was cheering on the beach. Emil also had the pleasure meeting up with an old friend he met in Australia 13 years ago, being a great guide for a night out in LA.
Leaving the megacity of LA behind we did a very long but nice drive up along the coast on the meandering legendary Pacific Coast Highway or Highway 1, clinging to the hillside towering the surf. We did a short detour to the tiny Danish village of Solvang. It was a very charming and very Scandinavian village with more Danish bakeries and half-timbered frame housing (Swedish: korsvirkeshus) then you would ever see back home. It felt a bit like home. After a long drive we now settle for the night in Santa Cruz.