Europe 2.0 – Rome Days 1-3

15 Jan

Our friend Kyle had visited Rome about a month before us. We asked him how it was, and he said “Rome is … impressive”. At the time we thought it was an underwhelming description, but he was absolutely right; Rome is impressive.

Our AirBNB was in the the old part of Rome (around the corner from the Pantheon) and it was the perfect location for first-timers to the city.

My cousin Ivo said that a guide told her Rome was built like a lasagna – layers and layers of buildings built on top of one another. Under modern Rome they find bits of ancient Rome, and then under that even ancienter Rome (apparently there is so much ancient and ancienter Rome that it is ruinously expensive to try and restore it all).

Everywhere we walked there were ancient ruins. There were obscure ruins on our way to see famous ruins – we’d turn a corner and there would be some random ruin. In America it would be the oldest thing in the country but in Rome we didn’t even stop to take a photo.

Day 1

What better way to start our trip than with a food tour in Testaccio? On our way there we walked by this building and were like “wait, is this the Colosseum??” (it was not the Colosseum)

IMG_20191130_085337But you can see how we got confused, because this is the Colosseum:

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(But more on the Colosseum in Part 2 of this post!)

We walked to the Orange Gardens for a beautiful view of Rome, and found the nearby Aventine keyhole which, if you peek through it, perfectly frames St Peter’s Basilica.

IMG_20191130_092454The keyhole view (which, FYI, was very difficult to take a picture of):

IMG_20191130_093029By then it was about time for our tour to start, so we wandered over to the meeting spot. We always had to allow extra time for walking because we’d get distracted by some random old building or a lovely view. 

Our guide was really nice and informative, and we tasted a bunch of wine, cheese, olive oil, meats, baked goods and produce, plus some pasta for lunch on top of that. Needless to say, we were stuffed by the end. 

At the Testaccio Market I was very taken by this beautiful … cauliflower? Look at it! It’s so fractal!

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My favourite bit of trivia the guide taught us was about the water fountains we saw all over Rome. Like so:

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We hadn’t realised that it was potable water, so that was good to know, but she also taught us the proper way to drink from them. She said some people would cup their hands to get the water, but the actual way is to cover the mouth of the spout so the water shoots out of a hole slightly above it.

(Also that little face I made at the end was because some water hit me in the face, not because it tasted bad!)

Afterwards we wandered over to this pyramid, which is some guy’s tomb. I was reading the description and it didn’t seem particularly significant, but it was a pyramid in Rome. Weird.

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Then we walked back along the River Tiber. One part had this weird effect in the water which we were quite excited by. It almost looked like two separate rivers were meeting?

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On our way back to our AirBNB we passed by Largo di Torre Argentina, which is where Caesar is believed to have been assassinated (if I recall correctly, it was on the left near that big tree) and is now patrolled by stray cats.

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Day 2

I really enjoyed walking everywhere in Rome, because there was always something (impressive) to see. On the walk to our tour we walked by this monument to the first king of Italy:

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The Roman Forum:

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And wait, is this the Colosseum?? (yes it was that time)

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Our tour was to see the Domus Area, Nero’s palace that was discovered underneath Rome. We got to see the excavated ruins that were still very much in the process of being restored (we all had to wear hard hats).

This portion still had a bit of intact fresco.

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At one point we got to put on VR headsets to see what the palace might have looked like with all the gardens and artwork intact. The buildings are already impressive as ruins, so you can imagine how spectacular they are in their full glory!

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Afterwards we visited the Capuchin Crypts, which are several small chapels decorated almost exclusively with the bones of the friars. We couldn’t take photo inside (though I imagine there are extensive photos online), which is probably for the best because it was pretty macabre. Interesting, but intensely creepy.

Then it was time for lunch and more gelato! Our favourite gelato in Rome was from Otaleg (“gelato” backwards) in Trastevere. They had some experimental flavours (one that I sampled was chicken stock-based) but James and I stuck to the classics.

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Day 3

Our third day in Rome was a massive day (though, come to think of it, they were all massive days). Our tour of the Vatican started quite early, and it was cool to see Rome so empty on the walk there.

The Pantheon at dawn:

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Of all the tours we did, I’d say the Vatican one was the one that was most of a mixed-bag. On one hand it’s nice to have someone guiding you and telling you about what you’re looking at, but on the other hand we didn’t get to the Sistine Chapel as early as I would have liked, and the tour in general was quite rushed. But then again there are probably no uncrowded times to visit the most popular parts of the Vatican Museum.

The Gallery of Maps was beautiful. It had a bunch of maps and frescoes of the different regions of Italy.

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We also saw the Sistine Chapel, which was beautiful. You couldn’t talk inside, so we didn’t have the guide to point things out to us, and in hindsight I wish I’d done a bit of research about the frescoes so I knew what I was looking at in the moment. But also, do you want me to tell you a secret? I am very suspicious of roof paintings. Maybe it’s all blurry and fucked up but we can’t tell because we’re so far away.

After that it was onto the Vatican Museums. When we’re in museums James likes to take photos of random pieces of art that interest him. Sometimes I don’t know why he took the photo but sometimes it’s obvious. Like this:

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And this:

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The museum was massive and I regret we didn’t get to see as much of it as we would have liked since we had to keep to a schedule. We finished with a tour of St Peter’s Basilica.


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It’s overwhelming to see so many historically-significant treasures in one morning – any one of which would be the main attraction in any other city.

Then it was time to see the necropolis underneath the Basilica with the Scavi tour. It’s the presumed location of St Peter’s tomb, and it was very exciting to be able to visit one of the most sacred sites in the Vatican. It was a bit of a process to get the reservation (and find the office!), but definitely worth it, even if you’re not religious. 

And then it was time to climb the Basilica. The way up was surprisingly cramped.

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We were actually pretty tired even before we started the climb, but if there’s a tower to be climbed on holiday it always seems like a waste not to. This was the view looking down at the nave:

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And the view to St Peter’s square outside:

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A fine end to our Vatican adventure!

For our (very late) lunch we had some delicious pizza:

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And then went back to collapse in our AirBNB.

Europe 2.0 – Frankfurt & Zurich

28 Dec

We took the high speed rail from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. We stayed overnight to break up the long train ride from Amsterdam to Zurich, but we knew that it wasn’t going to be a very interesting city to visit. Actually we were quite mean, and whenever something was a bit boring we’d be like “that’s so Frankfurt”. Sorry Frankfurt.

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Frankfurt

We arrived at 4:30pm and checked into our hotel. We walked around the city to get our bearings and visit the Google office. It was pretty tiny by Google standards – just a couple of floors in this massive building.

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The office itself was … so Frankfurt. It had a nice view and some graffiti art, but that was pretty much it.

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We thought we must have been missing something so we talked to a guy who was working late. We were like “hey, we’re visiting – what is the coolest thing about the office?” and he said the view and also showed us this freezer full of pre-made meals that they could eat.

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Oh Frankfurt. =(

For dinner, we went to a vegan/vegetarian restaurant since we’d both been craving vegetables. It was called Vevay and the food was fantastic. Look at this gorgeous plate!

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The next morning we walked around a bit until it was time to catch our train. We visited the Frankfurt cathedral and the Old Town, where they were starting to set up the Christmas markets.

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We found this cute little art installation.

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The original plan had been to get a hearty German lunch at a famous apfelwein place near the station, but it turned out they weren’t serving food yet, and since it was a Sunday nothing else was open. Bummer. So Frankfurt.

The train station was very pretty.

IMG_20191124_115737(My parents were planning a European trip with my aunts and uncle and my mum told me that they wanted to spend four days in Frankfurt. I was like “yeah, you should definitely rethink that”).

Sorry Frankfurt. Bye Frankfurt!

Zurich

From our last trip I knew that Zurich wasn’t that interesting, so I was kind of looking forward to having a break from being a tourist. We’d been averaging 30k steps a day so I was quite happy to sleep in and gorge myself at the breakfast buffet.

I did walk around Lake Zurich and feed the birds (with bread nicked from breakfast). Unfortunately it was overcast when I went but I bet on a clear day the view is gorgeous.

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You may be expecting lots of Zurich photos, but I felt like I “did” Zurich last time we were there, so instead I just took a lot of bird photos.

I liked this goofy little guy. He was so chill – he just stood next to me sweetly and occasionally I’d hook him up with some bread.

IMG_20191128_125549In this next photo, note the tourist behind him attempting to lure birds with NO bread.

IMG_20191128_125852What good times we had.

IMG_20191128_125947There were a ton of birds and there was a feeding frenzy every time I threw some bread.

At one point I felt this light pressure on my head. I know it sounds stupid, but what I genuinely thought had happened was that James (who was at work) had somehow come up behind me and patted my head. What actually happened was a seagull landed on my head.

IMG_20191128_131830I guess he was making sure he was in prime position for the next feeding. The seagulls were definitely the most aggressive.

These guys were hover-flying in front of me, flapping in the same spot and waiting for me to throw bread.

IMG_20191128_134641This guy didn’t even wait.

MVIMG_20191128_132839I told you I didn’t do much in Zurich! I bought a lot of my favourite Swiss supermarket chocolate (Caillet) and we also went to a Christmas market and then dinner with Tim and Ann, but otherwise just walked around the city and relaxed in the hotel room. 

Instead of taking the train we decided to fly into Rome. We used the lounge that came with our United status and it was pretty nice! The lounge was pretty busy, but then we found this quiet zone and it was way better.

IMG_20191129_145710So that was the boring part of our trip done. Next stop: Rome!

Introducing Leonidas

14 Dec

You might see him in future blog posts, but they’re not old photos – we got another Singapura cat. =)

We knew we wanted another Singapura because the breed is just so beautiful and so affectionate. And it comforted me to think that any cat we got would be a distant relative of Mouse. We initially wanted to wait awhile for another cat, but one was available immediately, so we decided to take a leap of faith and just go for it.

Here he was before the trip home. Such a little trooper. =)

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And very insistent on getting out of his carrier.

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Operation Leonidas retrival was a bit of an ordeal! I had to fly to Newark, so organised flights with a same-day turnaround (which the United check in process does not like). I wore two masks – a cloth mask over my KN95 mask, loaded up with hand sanitizer, and when I got home James and I quarantined for two weeks. Though quarantine with a new kitten … not the worst thing in the world. =)

He is a total sweetheart. I’ve forgotten how much energy kittens have! He loves playing fetch – in bed we keep finding toys, bottle caps and scrunched up bits of paper that he’s brought us hopefully during the night. Also we know what his favourite toys are because he leaves them in his food bowl (he tried the water bowl once but was very upset that his catnip mouse got all soggy and hasn’t attempted that since).

James: Kyoto meowed at me because one of Leon’s toys was in his food bowl. So I took it out, refilled the bowl and he started eating. Then Leon noticed, panicked, and tried to put his toy back in.

James is pleased that Leon also likes to attend his work meetings. He likes to curl up on James’ lap or snuggle inside his hoodie. If he’s too hot he’ll bite the zipper until James unzips to his liking.

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James: The number of times he’s stood on my balls has made me realise how good Mouse was at not standing on my balls.

He loves hanging out on our shoulders as well, especially when we’re brushing our teeth. Here he is supervising the construction of our gingerbread house.

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Occasionally he likes to stand on our heads too.

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The other day James said to Leon: “in prettiness, I rank you below Kaye”. Which was very kind but clearly untrue because I’ve taken selfies of me and Leon and next to his adorable, youthful kittenness I look incredibly old!

It’s nice to have a snuggly baby in the house again. I still sometimes cry when I think about Mouse, but we’ve been spending a ton of time playing with Leonidas, and that’s been a good distraction. He and Kyoto have been getting along too. The first couple of days Kyoto hissed at Leon, but now they’ll nap together and lick each other.

I’ve had a lot of people message me about Mouse, so just wanted to update to let everyone know that we’re OK. =)

Mouse

12 Nov
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A lot of will already know, but last week our beloved Mousey passed away.

It was incredibly fast. The Thursday before last we noticed he was lethargic and not eating, and we took him to the emergency vet Friday morning. They said he had a kidney obstruction and spent Saturday stabilising him with a stent, and operated on him Sunday morning.

Sunday afternoon called to tell us that the operation had gone well, but that during the procedure they found a suspicious growth on his other kidney that they biopsied. On Monday they got the results back, and informed us it was an extremely aggressive kidney cancer that had already spread to his stomach.

The vets were initially hopeful that we could have a few good weeks or even months at home with Mouse until he passed. In the end, we didn’t even have days.

He would have died if not for the initial operation, but some combination of the cancer and the operation caused several micro blood clots which caused him to deteriorate further. They gave him another blood transfusion and tried for one more night, but on Tuesday the vet called again and said we should come in to talk about euthanasia.

When they brought him in the vet said he brightened when he saw us, and he lifted his head and meowed (and he never meowed). They had been giving him round the clock care, blood transfusions and a ton of drugs, but he was so weak.

They let us spend a few hours with him, cuddling and crying and telling him how very much we loved him.

We kept looking for signs that the vets were wrong. He had meowed when they brought him in. Occasionally he would look up at a sound. He was lying on a pile of towels and when James rained kisses on him he tried to get up and crawl onto James’ lap. We asked if it was OK to hold him and they said yes.

We took turns and were so gentle. We put him on James’ legs and I rested my face against his fur and everything was so familiar. If we avoided patting the parts they had shaved for surgery we could almost pretend it was a normal day. But if you knew Mouse’s personality this was maybe 5% of Mouse. He was fastidiously clean (never a single litter box accident, not once) but now he lay on us and soiled himself. He was so in love with us, but now he was barely reacting when we were there. I lay on the floor, rested him on my chest and we just cried and cried.

I asked the vet if we could take him home for a day or two so he could be where he was comfortable and where he knew he was loved, if it would be selfish. And she looked sad and said yes, a little selfish. But that sometimes it was what owners needed to be OK with what they had to do.

But he was the best cat in the world and we couldn’t repay 12 years of unconditional love with selfishness. He had been so strong for us and now we had to be strong for him.

He died lying on my chest, in his favourite position with his head tucked under my chin. We held him and howled with grief.

He was such a huge presence in our lives, especially this year, and now everything reminds us of him. He slept with us at night; during the day he went to meetings with James or snuggled on my chest depending on his inclination; he ate when we ate, and watched TV with us; he curled up on James’ lap when he was playing games. When we exercised at home we couldn’t sit down between sets or else he would climb on our laps. Every blog post I ever wrote I wrote with Mouse sitting on me. Except this one.

It’s been a little over a week and it has slowly been getting better. Neither of us could really function the first couple of days, but we’ve been crying less and less, and James has been taking really good care of me. We just both miss him a lot. So if we’re a bit sad or unfun to be with for awhile please forgive us, for our hearts are broken.

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Europe 2.0 – Amsterdam!

21 Oct

A few months after last year’s trip to Europe, James found out that he had to go to the Zurich office for another week (how I miss James’ work travel). So … Europe 2.0!

Last time we went to London, Switzerland and Paris, and this time we did Amsterdam, Italy, Zermatt and Germany. It was actually a super long trip – 6 weeks, which is definitely longer than we like to be away, but I really wanted to go to Zermatt, so we had to pad the days a bit. =P

As is tradition: the paper plane cocktail at the airport:

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Day 1

We arrived in Amsterdam, and our first shock was how easy the entry process was. No long lines at security to get into the country – just a quick check of the passport and we were in.

Hello Amsterdam!

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After checking in at our hotel we wandered around a bit to get our bearings while we waited for a spot to open up at a crepe restaurant. This was the super steep and narrow staircase going up to the restaurant:

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Since James is lactose intolerant he skipped the crepes and and grabbed a pickled herring sandwich later.

IMG_20191120_132915To the surprise of exactly no people, crepes are better.

We kept walking around the canals and were delighted by the leaning houses (which were intentionally built like that, as we’d learn on our canal tour – it was so they could hoist heavy stuff up via that pulley without damaging the front facade).

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Then we headed to the Banksy museum. Despite its name, it wasn’t just a Banksy museum – they also had a bunch of stuff from other modern artists. I liked this room made of … purple volleyballs?

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Sad monkey.

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Happy horsey!

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Then we had dinner (pork knuckle) and went to try some traditional dutch booze (genever for James and various liqueurs for me). The bartender introduced me to Hemel op Aarde, which translates to Heaven on Earth, and tasted like a delicious almond/cherry/chocolate dessert. Even James stopped trying to appreciate genever and agreed that we should hunt down some bottles of Hemel op Aarde.

Day 2

On our second day in Amsterdam we woke up early for a cruise of the canals. Since it was morning, it was very quiet and very few boats were on the water, so it felt like we had everything to ourselves.

You can see seven bridges from this vantage point in the canals:

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Also James fed a swan!

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The tour was really cool – our captain told us about the history of Amsterdam while we boated through the water, and it was nice to see the city from a different vantage point (and really nice to get off our feet!).

After our tour we continued our trend of having separate meals – I had some croquettes and a stroopwafel while James ate the most beautiful vegan burger in the world.

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Then in the afternoon we ate some mushrooms and spent hours laughing at the smoke alarm in our hotel room, had some BBQ for dinner (which had amazing reviews but sucks in comparison to American BBQ) and walked to get a really intense apple pie for dessert.

Day 3

It was another early morning start for us. Generally it was better to go to museums either at opening or near closing time, so we lined up in the morning for the Van Gogh museum.

It was definitely worth it because we had whole rooms to ourselves:

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By the time we were ready to go things were getting pretty loud and crowded, so I think we timed things pretty well.

We grabbed some frites to fortify us, and then headed to Wynand Fockink to taste some more traditional dutch liqueurs.

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It was magical – they let you sample a ton of booze and you could buy little shots of the ones you liked.

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We had dinner (we were a bit unimpressed with the food in Amsterdam. I loved the snack foods – the crepes, croquettes, pies and frites, but thought the actual meals were a bit meh), then walked through the red light district to get back to our hotel. Underwhelming meals aside, we had a great time in Amsterdam. Three days felt like plenty of time to explore the city – though I wouldn’t have said no to an extra day or two!

The next morning we packed our bags, had a big breakfast, then boarded the train for Zurich (with an overnight stopover in Frankfurt).

Still in Iso!

24 Sep

Well, 6 months later we’re still here! Womp womp. Some minor life updates:

Fitness

James’ work announced that the earliest he’d be back in the office would be July 2021. We’d been lazy as a couple of weeks dragged into a couple of months, but we didn’t want our newfound sloth to last a whole other year. So we started swimming at Aquatic Park, jogging along the water, and cycling. We also started doing bodyweight strength training at home.

Air Quality

We’ve had pretty bad air quality for over a month now because of the wildfires. San Francisco actually has it better than most of the west coast because we get strong ocean winds, so the air generally clears up in time for a jog in the early evening.

We had one really freaky day where the sky was orange and it was dark all afternoon.

I remember waking up at 8am and seeing a weird red glow coming from behind the curtains. Then it just kept getting darker, and everyone had their lights on all day.

The air was absolutely horrible for the next week, even indoors, and we finally caved and bought an air purifier.

It’s improved in San Francisco since then, but we have a trip to Yosemite planned, which might have to be cancelled depending on the air quality. Bummer. =(

Car

We finally bought a car! Between air travel being off the table for awhile, and our reluctance to take public transport/car shares, we figured it would be worth it.

We weren’t sure how often we would use a car, so we just wanted something cheap, economical and reliable (and most importantly, something that would fit in our tiny garage). So we bought a Honda Fit, and have been pretty pleased with it so far.

More Plants

We also added more plants to our collection. We drove down to Santa Cruz to buy some cactus – the San Pedro was super cheap – we paid like, $50 for an enormous 7′ tall cactus, and the seller gave us a bunch of aloe and prickly pear cactus for free. Here they are in the boot:

The Last Coronavirus Hike: Mission Peak

3 Aug

This is another very popular hike, so we went on a weekday morning, but the (admittedly small) parking lot was already full at 7:30am. We parked a little bit down the hill so it wasn’t too bad, but I definitely wouldn’t want to try it on a weekend!

To prevent people from touching the drinking fountains:
IMG_20200702_102010(Though fortunately for James the portapotties were still open).

The start of our hike: IMG_20200702_071811 The yellow grass is not particularly attractive but I’m quite fond of it because it reminds me of Australia.

There were wild turkeys! IMG_20200702_072805Also cows. IMG_20200702_101359Another reason we went early was because it was going to be 31C in Fremont that day and there was no cover on the hike.

It was a steady uphill climb on a wide dirt/gravel trail with yellow hills on one side and dense suburbs on the other side. There weren’t a lot of interesting features on the trail itself so I was pretty excited by this cliff.
IMG_20200702_081536 (1)It was more crowded near the top, and also quite steep:
IMG_20200702_083457 The final stretch towards the peak: IMG_20200702_083931Success!
MVIMG_20200702_085253That pole on the right has sighting tubes so you can look at different landmarks but it was all taped up to prevent people from touching it and getting coronavirus. IMG_20200702_085511If you looked in the non-Fremont direction you could almost imagine you were in the middle of nowhere.IMG_20200702_082905On the way down I took a slight detour to climb this rock. Here is a photo of me on a rock!
IMG_20200702_090500 And a photo of James taking a photo of me on a rock! IMG_20200702_090519It took us about 1.5 hours up and 1 hour down. It was a nice little hike – not so difficult/long that you were wrecked for the rest of the day but challenging enough that you felt like you had accomplished something. I’d definitely recommend it (but only on a weekday!)

 

A Classic Marin Hike: The Matt Davis/Steep Ravine/Dipsea Loop

25 Jul

This is a super popular hike so we did it on a weekday morning, and even then saw a fair few people. It’s a 7.8 mile (12.5km) hike in Marin consisting of a few different trails stitched together to form a loop.

You can start the hike at various different trailheads and the part we started at had an immediate uphill climb – I want to say maybe 30-60 minutes of stairs and switchbacks? We got the hardest part out of the way at the start, and reflecting back on the trail we were quite pleased at where we started.

There were cool trees:
IMG_20200630_104258I think this was Table Rock – at least, a few minutes after we passed it, James looked at his map and said with disappointment “oh, we missed Table Rock” and I reassured him that I had taken a photo of it. You can also see a hint of the endless stairs we had to walk up.IMG_20200630_110012It was so forest-y and cool.
IMG_20200630_110231We continued uphill and eventually lost the shade of the forest.
IMG_20200630_113642We took a slight detour to a hill with a view of San Francisco, slightly obscured by the marine layer. But you can see downtown, part of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Sutro Tower on the right.IMG_20200630_115557 (1)Selfie time!
MVIMG_20200630_115709Then it was back into the shade of the forest.
IMG_20200630_124623 When we entered the Steep Ravine portion it was mainly flat and downhill. Hooray! This was my favourite part of the hike – it was so lush and green and I liked walking next to the water.

There were awesome giant redwoods: IMG_20200630_130021And also a cool ladder next to a teeny tiny waterfall.
IMG_20200630_131353I liked the bendy trees.
IMG_20200630_131605(If you look back through this post you will notice there are several photos with nice bendy trees.)

A bridge! IMG_20200630_132422Another bridge!
IMG_20200630_133031 Eventually we emerged out of the forest and had a gorgeous view of the beach as we entered the final stretch of the hike. I think this was the Dipsea portion?IMG_20200630_135801If we’d gone in the other direction we would have had the beach to our backs here, so it was a really nice way to have done it.

I think this is one of the nicest hikes you can do within an easy drive of San Francisco. The drive there is incredibly scenic, and it has a little bit of everything that you can expect from a hike in the Bay Area- redwoods, waterfalls, and coastal views. Of all the hikes we’ve done in the area it’s the one I would most strongly recommend to visitors. It’s probably much busier and harder to find parking on a weekend though – definitely go on a weekday!

A Hike with Will! The Tafoni and Fir Trail

16 Jul

The Tafoni and Fir trail is a 6.1 mile (9.8 km) loop so a little bit easier than the one we’d done the week before. We met up with Will since we’d all been isolating similarly and decided it wouldn’t be too risky to meet up for a socially distant hike.
IMG_20200628_143404It was so nice to see Will again! James said that his social needs have been met between me, the cats, and video/voice chats with friends, but I have really missed face to face interactions.

The hike wasn’t particularly long but it was very up and down and quite tiring! There was also this cool sandstone formation:
IMG_20200628_144644 Of all the hikes we went on that week this one had the most mask-compliant hikers. Everyone had masks and would pull them up when we crossed paths (actually there was one guy who didn’t have a mask but he covered his nose and mouth with his hands which was really cute).

The next photo doesn’t really look like much, but it was the worst part of the hike. We all hated it. IMG_20200628_155520It was downhill and much steeper than it looks in this photo. It was also really smooth, so we had to be really careful to not slip. We should have reversed the loop so we walked up this part instead of going down.

Aside from the sandstone formation it wasn’t a particularly picturesque hike, but we mainly just wanted to get out of the house and get some exercise. And see Will of course. =)
IMG_20200628_162440My joints started hurting towards the end again, which made me decide to bring ibuprofen on future hikes. James said he could tell I was sore because I wasn’t trotting to try and keep up with him anymore.

At the end we had to walk on the road to get back to the carpark. Not ideal, but luckily there weren’t too many cars. MVIMG_20200628_172011This hike was much closer to San Francisco, so luckily it was only a short drive home, though we did do a booze run on the way (as an aside, a friend of mine’s dad owns a bottle shop back in Melbourne, and she said business is booming in iso).

So yeah, that was our Sunday. We got back, showered, then collapsed – feet throbbing – for the rest of the afternoon/evening. =)

The Berry Creek/Sunset Loop at Big Basin

12 Jul

After 3 months of staying at home I was getting a little bit of cabin fever, so we rented a car to get out of the city and do some hiking. Big Basin is almost a 2 hour drive from San Francisco, so we had to wake up pretty early to get there for our planned 7:30am start.

We ambitiously planned to do the 12 mile (~20km) Berry Creek/Sunset loop.IMG_20200621_092944Possibly not a good idea for our first physical activity in awhile …

The hike started off well! I had a lot of pep in my step and we admired the ridiculously tall redwood trees:
IMG_20200621_093821 Walking under fallen redwoods: IMG_20200621_112413The two waterfalls were the highlight of the hike:
IMG_20200621_103848Unfortunately that was the closest we could get because the viewing area had been taped off for Covid-related reasons.

The stairs and insanely green plants leading to the second waterfall:
IMG_20200621_110222The second waterfall was less impressive but it was nice walking up beside it.
IMG_20200621_110403The second half of the loop was much less picturesque than the first half (or maybe we were just redwood-saturated by that point).

This bit was cool though – walking on a rock formation.
IMG_20200621_112057The hike took about 4.5 hours, and about 3 hours into the hike my knees and ankles started aching a ton so we went pretty slowly from then on. =( At the end our trail joined up with some shorter trails, and I was getting overtaken by little fat children. We definitely should have started off with a shorter hike!

But anyway, we finally made it and I was glad we’d gotten there so early because the trailhead was packed by the time we got back. We were utterly exhausted by the time we got back to San Francisco and spent much of the following day hobbling around the house. But still, it felt wonderful to finally walk around, even if we maybe overdid it a little.