Monday, September 22, 2008

Beautiful San Francisco!

San Francisco - I guess the prettiest big city in California (go there!). The whole bay area has actually a lot of charming things to offer. Honking while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge is a fantastical experience! It definitely feels like being in a movie. San Francisco has other characteristics that make the place really special: It is hilly, it has cable cars, it is multicultural, you will find a beautiful Chinatown and many things more.

In San Francisco I met four Swiss girls that flew with me from Zurich to New York in the very beginning of my road trip. They seemed to be okay so we decided to see each other in S.F. - actually we already had a really fun time in the airplane. First of all because they were planning out their entire trip whereas I didn't have a plan at all: The first time I read my lonlyplanet traveller guides was on the airplane. They already knew at which hotel they will spend each and every night... So I contrasted the girls pretty well.
In San Francisco we then met on Union Square and that's where the whole story started off. We went shopping together, we rented bikes together and went out together. It was an awesome time!

Have a look at the pictures! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sick of stones, rocks and trees

It was in Moab (Utah) where I had a sudden change of heart: I am sick of all the stones, rocks and trees: Back to civilisation! I mean I have really seen every shape of a stone by now, it is about time to see human beings again. I am sick of little boys showing me their hats with pins from all the national park they have been to :) It's high time to head to San Francisco and meet Fabienne, Laurence, Adrienne and Nadja that I met on the airplane to New York. We decided to meet in San Francisco. But now let me tell you some stories that happened on the way to S.F.

Riverrafting  on the Colorado
In Moab I went riverrafting with the Germans I met in Grand Canyon. I didn't raft in a red river before - the water was all red from the stones and the sand! We expected a really dangerous time on the river but oh my god the river was not even moving. The most dramatic thing was that we got blocked by a stone because the water was so low :) 10 minutes of pure panic and drama!

I almost froze to death aka. 33° F in Yosemite National Park
Arriving at Yosemite National Park I was stunned by its beauty: So I decided to spend a night there in my car. That was a really spontaneous action. I had no clue how cold it would get, I didn't even have a blanket, sleeping bag or any equipment that was needed. At sunset I hiked up to Elizabeth Lake to lie in the sun and that's where I met a family from the Bay Area. We got into a conversation and I told them about my adeventurous plan to spend the night in the car - I was still laughing when I told them the story - well... they were not! They invited me for dinner on their campground. I enjoyed a really nice evening at their fireplace and, hey, thank you for saving my life! They gave me a blanket and even with that I almost froze to death. It was so freaking cold - Zero degrees Celsius. At 4 o'clock in the morning I felt so cold that I simply started the car and moved on to warmer places :)

Click here to see the pictures!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wild Wild West

There is much more in Arizona than the Grand Canyon: Let me share all the other nice places with you. There are actually not too many of them! And you don't go to Arizona for experiences with human beings, you come here for the nature. If you go to Arizona you will find a lot of really small places: Population 100, Population 3000, maybe... well Phoenix is big but it is by far the ugliest thing I have ever seen so far (It even outperformed Calgary in ugliness). The funniest thing on the way to Phoenix was a girl in a car flirting with a train driver: They were honking at each other for the longest time; the train driver had this ear smashing huge horn!

The city I liked the most in Arizona was Flagstaff. I only spent one night there and arrived late but this place was crowded; people just came back to school at Northern Arizona University. So I kept asking people about a concert that will be in town but none of them could really help me because they have just arrived like me. It was very easy to get together with other people (..."I am a cute guy, looking for cute company"...). They had awesome bars there and breweries with fine food! Unfortunately a lot of those students there can't even get into the bars: "We are not legal yet"!

Another funny thing happened in Sedona. My friend Arno knows a hair-dresser there that I should go and visit. Her name was Marji and she was just doing Nita's hair when I arrived. She is actually a Russian woman but changed her last name so peole would actually be able to pronounce it correctly. That was a really fun conversation I had there: really friendly people.

Later I headed to Page which was my basis to discover Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon and the Horseshoe Bend. Check out the pictures to see how amazing those things look like!

Here you can look at the pictures

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How the Grand Canyon looks at the very bottom...

I was really looking forward to see the Grand Canyon - it is about a four hour drive from Las Vegas - so quite a long time until you get to see the spectacle. Fortunately the landscape changes drastically when you drive to Grand Canyon from the South, so it isn't boring at all. In Vegas you are in the middle of the desert but the whole environment will get green once you approach Grand Canyon. The green of the north-western part of Arizona contrasts perfectly with the blue sky, the black road with the yellow stripes on it and some yellow plants.

The mean thing about Grand Canyon is that you don't get the smallest glimpse of its beauty until you are at the rim. The Grand Canyon ist the mother of all canyons, it is massive! It is so huge that you can't grasp it at first and it feels like you are looking at a picture hanging in front of you. The colors are simply amazing and they change over time as the sun is moving! I arrived at sunset and got to see the canyon in a very special light. In order to grasp the size of the canyon I decided to hike down to the bottom the next day.

At 4:30 am it was time to get up and get ready for the hiking day; I wanted to be there at sunrise. At the shuttle bus stop there were a handful of other people - but it seemed not that many of the visitors get to see the bottom of the canyon. I met three German guys at the bus stop that had the same intentions as I had. Taking South Kaibab Trail down in the morning and going up again on Bright Angel Trail. That's a total of almost 30 kilometers and a difference in altiutude of 1'500 meters one way! And then there is the sun it get's 40+° Celsius on the trail. So everything was set for a challenging hike! It was a lot of fun to hike with the Germans, actually it would have been quite crazy to hike all the trail alone so I am really happy I ran into them.

Have a look at the Grand Canyon pictures.

The way I travel
I want to say a few words about the way I travel; I have a car, I have music, I have lonely planet guides and I do NOT have a schedule of my trip. Most of the time I know where I will spend the next two nights but not much more; the activities throughout the day are always really spontaneous and flexible. If I want to sleep in, I will sleep in. If I meet people, I simply hang out with them. If I want to have a fantastic dinner, I simply get it... It's quite amazing what you get to experience if you do not depend on anything. Trust me, I am loving it!