by Anne Cuschieri
San FranciscoLos Angeles
It shakes your body….literally! Known as the city of earthquakes, San Francisco really does shake you as being one of the prettiest cities you will ever see! There is something very special about this place and you feel it the minute you approach the city. Pier 39 is the place to be with its fruit stalls – grab a bag and fill it with huge strawberries or orange and purple cherries or whatever meets your fancy, and walk along this famous pier and see its shops and see the seals frolicking in and out of the water…or indulge in the many fish restaurants there. And fish is a must in San Francisco. With stalls of fresh crab, lobster, fresh chowder to be eaten on the street, loads of sea food and the size of them….and the freshness…like you’ve never tasted before! And then there’s Ghirardelli – if you’re a chocolate lover you know what I’m talking about – chocolates in every shape, size, form and taste – Wow! The city is just like in the films where cars go flying through its streets, and watch the Trolley(tram) go over those steep uphills and come down the steep downhills!!!! See this beautiful city from Twin Peaks unless the fog gets there first. This city is famous for its fog and may I say it’s a sight to see. Sometimes it’s there when you wake up and towards dusk you will see it literally rolling in – an amazing sight to watch!
An engineering masterpiece has to be The Golden Gate Bridge, built over the famous waters where sea meets river and the undercurrents are so strong that one cannot just swim across…ask the many prisoners who tried to escape from Alcatraz – situated in the middle of these waters just in front of Pier 39. If you decide to venture out of the city, you must go to Yosemite Park – home to Yogi Bear as we know it in the cartoons. This is a trip to remember with its magnificent El Capitain Rock that greets you on the way in…it is a natural park of mountains and valley where one can actually spend days there camping, canoing, swimming, walking, climbing and bathing in the waterfall waters – the park bus will take you around as the place is rather large and you will witness a different park in every different season. To conclude …this place is for you if you love cities, and for you if you love the natural environment…you must…go for it!
Home to Hollywood, but so much more.
You cannot visit Los Angeles and not spend a day in Hollywood – visit the Chinese Theatre where you will ‘walk’ the Walk of Fame and place your own hands and feet in the hand and footprints of your favourite stars; where you can enter the Kodak Theatre that hosts the Academy Awards. Take your own personal tour, if you prefer, to Beverly Hills and the streets of Bel Air where you will see the million dollar homes of those people you just love to watch on TV or at the cinema…and hold your breath! Go to Sunset Strip and Boulevard…. And then visit Rodeo Drive – the most expensive shopping street you will ever visit, where the cheapest suit is $22,000 and where you will find every designer shop you can think of…one tip though….leave your wallet at home! Venture to the tourist shops and you can buy all the memorablia immagineable. Also avoid the city by night…it’s not too safe.
Los Angeles is in the state of California and is huge. There is lots to see in and around and many tours you may take. One lovely place to visit is Disneyland and you can choose Magic Kingdom or California Park. The latter fun park is California in miniature and has all the Disney magic to go with it..and great if you have already seen Disneyland. The area is Anaheim and a very good place to actually hotel in. Another park just a few blocks away is Knott’s Berry Farm, and home to Boison Berry pie as you won’t find it anywhere else. It is Snoopy Park with lots of roller coasters and rides and a really good place for a family day out or for just the two of you! Try not to furnish your new home with Mickey Mouse and Snoopy as it can be very tempting!
AND then there is Napa Valley – Wine Tasting! Now this is a must in California and you really enjoy the trips to the different wineries and ranches where they will not only give you an insight into their wines but you will also enjoy the different dips to go with them with a touch of American humour thrown in.
If you have a car, which is a very good idea, you may want to venture on to places like San Diego…and like San Francisco…a most delightful city! You might stop at the different shopping malls on the way to use up your change and if you are slightly on the large size you have no problem finding clothes in America! There is something for every pocket. Before you leave California, make sure you try there fresh orange juice – can you ever look at another cartoon again?…no you have to have that fresh taste for nothng beats it!Las Vegas
Driving to Las Vegas from Anaheim will take the same four hours as if you took a trip to the airport and flew. The drive you take will be different to what you are used to it is goes through Nevada desert…no not like the Sahara - as there is vegetation and it may also rain. The final approach is just a taste of what you are about to see. On arriving, well, no words will come out of your mouth as much as you may try as this is the biggest culture shock you can ever, or not ever imagine! One strip of Hotel after Hotel, but not the way we know it. The attractions in Las Vegas are THE hotels, each one representing a country or theme and everything is based on this. For example, the Rio represents Brazil and there is a carnival parade several times during the day- there is also the world’s largest buffet and believe it or not, it is not expensive! The Luxor is in the shape of a Pyramid and you will find the exact replica of the tomb of King Tutankhamun; New York New York is a cluster of buildings that look like the skyscrapers of New York with a huge rollercoaster running inside and out of the hotel; the Venetian is Venice itself where you can take a gondola through the canal that winds itself around Piazza San Marco where you will be entertained by some amazing group like Rondo Veneziano. The size and beauty of the Piazza is just like the real thing and better! And the entrance to this magnificent hotel is so beautiful – it will mesmerize you with its frescoes on the ceiling and beautiful marble. And the rooms…I won’t go on….; Come face to face with Royal White Tigers in the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in the Mirage Hotel or the lions at the MGM Hotel. Take a trip up the Eiffel Tour in Paris Hotel and see the beautiful water and light show in the gardens of Caesar’s Palace below, or visit the rollercoaster park inside the Adventure Dome of Circus, Circus Hotel. At the entrance to each hotels are the famous gambling halls – with hundreds and thousands of slot machines, gambling tables and the constant ringing of money and jackpots – you can play with just $1 and it goes on all day and all night…for this is Las Vegas! With the greatest shows on earth such as the Celine Dion show, or David Copperfield, or the Cirque du Soleil shows, the list is endless – it is a place that never sleeps and you will want to capture every minute and every moment till you drop. This place will captivate you and leave you wanting more….it will shock you and shake you and leave you feeling you just lived a dream…..this one street is a street like never before…it is the world all in one place!
And if it’s too much and you want a breather, try the tour to The Grand Canyon. This is one of the 7 Wonders of the Earth and it will take every last breath you had away……. It will help you understand a little about the meaning of the word ‘wonder’ and no amount of photos, no size of camera and no video or description can ever reproduce what you see in the Grand Canyon!!!! Take a trip by helicopter over the canyon if you have a head for heights, but if not you can just as well see it on tour bus – it will just take a few more hours – don’t let this ever put you off, for every hour spent in that coach will be worth it. One cannot begin to describe the magnitude, the magnificence and the magic of this place – truly a creation of God and you must not let life pass you by without a visit to one of the most extraordinary places in the world!
And as a treat, you also get to see Hoover Dam – also one of the most engineering miracles of the 20th century!
Have I convinced you? No? Take a look at them photos and you might just change your mind!