I might bore you with specifics from my trip some other time but let me gush a little about the state itself first.
It is b-e-a-utiful.
Last year, I only left San Francisco for short day trips to Marin and Berkeley on the other side of the Bay. I had no idea what I was missing and I’m a little glad or else I might have been disappointed not to see it. In the past month though I managed to cover 1500miles and just about everything across the state between SF and LA.
The very first thing I learned as I left San Jose on the train was that California is a desert. I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was but I had just never realised while in the very green bay area. Every row of crops – strawberries, corn, grape vines and citrus trees – has a line of plastic piping to irrigate it. It seems a little ridiculous to me, surely it’s a sign that we’re not using the land for its intended purpose, but apparently it’s working quite well for them. And it contributes wonderfully to California’s landscape of contrast.
A contrast of ocean and mountains; green crops and golden grass; deserts and reservoirs; forests and skyscrapers; big cities and sleepy towns. Not to mention wind and fog on the coast and 100F (40C) heat in the valley.
It has all the grandeur of Switzerland and the awe factor of the Isle of Skye but there is something unique about California, or at least, it’s very different to any other place I’ve been and I love it.