o8.o2.2o2o • San Francisco

back to the united states for my third time !! after having visited my uncle in colorado with 11 years & fallen in love with new york after finishing high school i was more than excited to get to know the west coast of the u.s.a. now :)) first stop: `San Francisco´ or better `Frisco´ !! i would love to start my travel report with `the smell of freedom´ but honestly all i was smelling was weed :)) not a big surprise as smoking weed is legal in california since 2o16 .. why can’t vienna be as cool as that ?! however the next thing i honestly wasn’t expecting was the hostel i booked being so damn cool: `The Green Tortoise Hostel´ definitely exceeded all my expectations. not only is it perfectly located between downtown & the coast in the most popular district of `Frisco´ called `North Beach´ but it also offered various activities every evening including cooking dinner together & going for a pub crawl. only thing i didn’t think of: you gotta be 21 for being allowed to drink !! luckily backpacker hostels are not that strict in this regard :)) i kind of really missed the solo travel life: sleeping in cheap hostels meeting new people from all over the world & getting to see places you have never been to before every single day !! this is pure freedom mixed up with happiness & a pinch of insecurity alias feeling a little bit lost somewhere on the other side of the planet all on your own :)) on my first day here in `Frisco´ the weather already showed off with a clear blue sky & almost 2o degrees (just as the following days would .. which is not that common in cali at that time of the year) after a delicious breakfast with bagels fruits & coffee i made my way to the city center via `Chinatown´ where i visited the famous `Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Bakery´. did you ever try fortune cookies with caramel flavour ?! spoiler: it was good !! then i went on cross the hilly streets of `Frisco´ passed the huge `Transamerica Pyramid´ also known as the second highest but most popular skyscraper in town & found myself staring at all the beauty surrounding me while smiling like a fool. i could have walked on like that for hours & hours for sure .. only if there wouldn’t have been those cute little bookstores right in my way !! `The City Lights Bookstore´ as well as the `Architectural Books´ were absolute treasures & a must go for any book lovers coming to `Frisco´. then i finally reached the `Financial District´ where i got to feel the real hustle & bustle of the big city. this was when i realized i actually arrived in cali !! honestly a little dream came true with this journey & even though i only got 3 weeks at the west coast of the u.s.a. i am more than happy for having this chance & to be able to make this experience. but wow i’m still telling you about day 1 from 21 i should keep going :)) so as a history of arts student my way led me straight to the `Museum of Modern Art of San Francisco´ where two of my fav artists were waiting for me. not in person of course but still there paintings were pretty amazing !! `Roy Lichtenstein´ & `Andy Warhol´ never get boring. my next cultural stop over was the `Jewish Museum´ which has free admission on tuesday just in case you wanna go !! not only is the exhibition absolutely worth visiting but also the building itself makes quite an impression from the outside. `The Yerba Buena Center of the Arts´ located right next to it containes a beautiful park area where people from all over city go to spend their lunch break. this is what i did as well :)) just lying down on the grass with the sun on your face thinking about what part of `Frisco´ to explore next !! so after a little bit too much of sunbathing i restarted my little sightseeing tour & went to see `Union Square´ the main plaza of `Frisco´. also i just had to check out `Macy’s´ the number one shopping center in america !! didn’t buy anything there though but instead helped myself to a lavender latte at `The Iron Horse Coffee & Cockatil´ in the beautiful `Maiden Lane´ where you can find one fancy coffee place next to the other .. can you guess i liked it there :)) however what i loved the most here in `Frisco´ honestly were the people & i am not the kind of person saying this just like that. actually i am not that much into people. but omg everyone was so freaking friendly & courteous !! the busdrivers waved at me a random lady on the street told me she loved my style (whatever my style is) & once a man spoke to me while i was taking photos & mentioned my great photography skills (true or not it made me happy) so my first impression of cali people: i am not a total misanthrope :)) on my second day in `Frisco´ i went to explore `North Beach´ alias my actual neighbourhood which turned out to be more like a little italy with lots of pizza & pasta places (which i didn’t mind at all) i checked out several hot spots such as `Lombard Street´ `Washington Square´ & `Powell Cable Car Turnaround´ which led me right towards the famous `Fisherman’s Wharf´. the perfect place to take a walk along at the coast !! also this was where i first saw the small prison island called `Alcatraz´ & a small shape of a red bridge somewhere on the horizon :)) the sun was shining tulips were growing everywhere & some sea lions were chilling in the shade. from `Fisherman’s Wharf´ (where you’ll find the only `In & Out Burger´ in inner `San Francisco´ by the way) i walked to the `Pier 39´. if you are into souvenir shopping & touristic boat trips that’s the place to go. i rather preferred sitting down on a bench watching all the people passing by getting a little bit more sun burned & feeling like i was at the right place at the right time .. you know what i mean ?! in the evening we cooked dinner in the hostel all together drank wine (only after making sure everyone was over 21 of course) & had a great evening talking about time & travelling & time travelling :)) my third day here probably was the most spectacular one: i stood up early & walked up one of the highest hills of `Frisco´ from where i had an amazing view all over the harbour & my final destination for the day: `The Golden Gate Bridge´. but before heading there i checked out `Fillmore´ a small district in western `San Francisco´ where you can find op shops & cool coffee spots in their natural habitat :)) honestly it reminded me a bit of the 8th district in vienna alias my home. probably this is why i loved `Fillmore´ that much !! but i had big goals to reach that day :)) i kept walking towards the north passed by the imposing `Palace of Fine Arts´ crossed `Crissy Field´ & finally found myself at the beach. `Alcatraz´ on my right side deep blue sea ahead (with a few white sailing boats drifting on it) & the famous `Golden Gate Bridge´ to my left .. one crazy place !! together with an asian girl i met at the `Bay Area View Point´ i crossed the bridge & tried to not look too excited :)) but damn i was !! we reached the other side of the `Golden Gate Bridge´ right in time for sunset & got rewarded with an amazing view all over the stunning skyline of `San Francisco´ !! some moments simply are gold .. this was one of them.

14.o2.2o2o • Los Angeles

`california dreamin’´ `wonderwall´ or better `californication´ ?! my cali travel playlists keeps getting longer & longer but still there was one song i almost listened to non stop: `city of angels´ by `3o seconds to mars´ probably because this is where i am right now: `Los Angeles´ also known as the city of angels & with 4 million inhabitants the biggest city of the state california !! i couldn’t really believe my eyes when i first spotted the street sign `Hollywood´ & to be honest it is still hard to realize this is not a movie but all real :)) apropos movies: by chance i made it to `Los Angeles´ right in time for the annual `Oscar´ ceremony at the famous `Dolby Theater´ !! so when i started my first day off with strolling down the `Walk of Fame´ the preparations for the big night were in full swing already. but in fact i didn’t come to `Los Angeles´ to see movie stars or stalk famous actors somewhere in `Beverly Hills´. once again it was art & architecture bringing me here :)) first of all i went to the `County Museum of Art´ mainly known for its `Urban Light´ installation by `Chris Burden´ at the entrance. i had a great time there strolling through all the different exhibitions & even recognizing an artist from my history of arts lecture .. i was pretty impressed by myself haha :)) but there was more art yet to come !! next stop: `MoCA´ not the coffee but the `Museum of Contemporary Art´ in downtown `Los Angeles´. this special place not only offers free admission but also a wide variety of paintings & sculptures from artists from all over the world !! the museum shop is also worth a visit by the way .. just in case you want to spend some or better a lot of money :)) almost right on the other side of the street the famous `The Broad´ is located. contemporary art & free admission as well !! one of my fav pieces was an installation by the japanese artist `Yayoi Kusama´ called the `Infinity Room´. you need a special reservation for it though as it is a very popular part of the exhibition but yet costly in terms of time & space: imagine a huge dark room full of lights with all mirrored walls. only one person at a time is allowed to step in. then you gotta stay in there for one minute & the lights are starting to flash in a certain rhythm so you feel like hovering between strats somewhere in the middle of the galaxy .. it was incredible & very moving !! but believe it or not the best part of the day was still ahead of me :)) probably the most amazing architectural masterpiece i’ve ever seen: `The Walt Disney Concert Hall´ by `Frank Gehry´. he also built the `Guggenheim Museum´ in `Bilbao´ & the `Dancing House´ in `Prague´ where i fell in love with his deconstructive style already but his work in `Los Angeles´ topped it all & made me just stop & stare !! it was kind of magic getting to see this beautiful building glowing in the late evening light & showing off with its anomaly :)) hundreds of pictures later & after walking around the `Walt Disney Concert Hall´ for at least three times i eventually had to move on !! the perfect place to end such a great first day in the city of angels: `The Grand Central Market´ alias a huge hall filled with food stalls of all kinds. from asian over mexican to typical american dishes you’ll find everything in here (there even is a `German Currywurst´ take away) my second day would start off with architecture once again .. what a big surprise :)) i went westwards by metro all the way to `Santa Monica´ where i met with a friend from `San Francisco´. together we visited the `Eames Foundation´ hidden in the hills right above the stunning `Santa Monica Beach´ where we were heading to right afterwards !! the perfect beach day: blue sky bright sun & almost a bit too hot for a day in february .. but hey not complaining at all :)) we walked along the coast line passed `Santa Monica Pier´ & made it to `Venice Beach´ just in time for lunch: had my first californian burger there & it was so good !! sitting in the sun sipping at my corona & philosophizing about art (not god) & the world .. it couldn’t have been any better :)) this reminds me of another song i really really like: `Any Better´ by my fav ever band called `Kytes´ .. they are playing live in Munich soon so come & join me if you are into indie music !! however i stayed at `Venice Beach´ until sunset to watch all the cool dudes at `Venice Skate Park´ (and also all the strong dudes at `Muscle Beach´) walked along the `Venice Beach Boardwalk´ & got why california is also called the `Golden State´: because it simply is gold !! the next day was planned more like a chill out day but as always everything went different :)) i got up early grabbed a peanut butter toast & took the bus to `Beverly Hills´ where i visited the `Rodeo Drive´ a shopping street for all high end fashion & expensive stuff !! not really my price range but still fun for some window shopping :)) my next destination was `Westwood´ where i checked out the `Hammer Museum´ & the special exhibition of `Paul McCarthy´ who surely was on LSD the whole time or at least when he was drawing .. trust me. but what impressed me the most that day was the `Getty Center´ housing the `Paul Getty Trust´ the `Getty Foundation´ & many other institutions founded by `Jean Paul Getty´. the huge campus not only contains amazing architecture & gorgeous garden grounds but also some of the best art collections in the whole wide world !! furthermore you have to most stunning view all over the  city of `Los Angeles´ from the top of the roof terrace. truely one treasure & a must visit for anyone coming to california !! i ended my stay in this crazy city with a little hike up to the `Griffith Observatory´ from where you can see the skyline of `Los Angeles´ once again but also the famous `Hollywood´ sign hidden in the `Hollywood Hills´ on the other side .. guess i ticked all the points off my to do list for now :)) thanks for having me `Los Angeles´ you were pretty amazing & i am sure i haven’t been here for my last time !! but enough for now .. i am gonna show some love to the brunch buffet & help myself to another blueberry waffle .. have a happy valentine’s day everyone :))

16.o2.2o2o • San Diego

surfing skating & sunshine all day long .. this probably  is `San Diego´ in a nutshell. the perfect place to chill out after the busy big city life !! i stayed in one of the best rated hostels in the whole united states located right at the coast in a small suburb of `San Diego´ called `Ocean Beach´. that’s not only a pretty cool name but also a pretty cool area !! surf shops fancy food spots & yoga studios everywhere. the beautiful beach fringed with palmtrees & musicians playing on their guitar while the sun sets slowly behind the surfers riding them perfect  waves !! i honestly don’t know any other place getting closer to the definition of `pure paradise´. i felt so relaxed from the moment i arrived & the chill vibes would keep on for the whole length of my stay which i extended of course :)) so in fact there is not that much i can tell you about `San Diego´ itself because i’ve never truely been to the city center but chilled my base on the beach instead !! the hostel offered a wide variety of activities though like bus trips bike rides & bonfire parties at night which i couldn’t miss out on of course :)) this is also why i visited `La Jolla´ one day to watch some of the wildlife there. so many seals on one place !! i enjoyed this little change of location to get some other views as well but still i loved it to come `back home´ again to stroll along the `Ocean Beach´ promenade & listen to the crash of the waves !! today i even joined a yoga class on the beach & even though i am not that much into yoga i enjoyed it to the fullest. it kind of filled me up with energy again & prepared me at least a little bit for my departure tomorrow. but honestly i am so not looking forward to leaving this place !! i am already missing the instant smell of weed when you walk along the street all the cool travel mates i met in the hostel & the chill out vibes almost forcing you to look on the bright side of life. so tonight i am gonna check out the best burger joint in town called `Hodad’s Ocean Beach´ to try their famous veggie burger :)) i’ll let you know how it was so i am gonne leave some space right here: it was _______ !! (ok i probably just had the best veggie burger in my whole life) tomorrow i am going to leave california for a short time to travel to `Nevada´ where i’ll spend three nights in fabulous `Las Vegas´ :)) remember the movie `Hangover´ ?! i am not gonna end like that .. at least that’s the plan :)) so wish me luck & i’ll text again from vegas baby !!