Showing posts from February, 2014

Norcal Lighthouse Series 3: Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands

Deerand elks, seagulls and murres, marine  mammals (sea otters and seals), spectacularscenery, craggy coastline, historic ruins, pillow basalt rockformations, cliffsfalling into the sea, crashingwaves, juttedmountaintunnel, suspendedbridge, black sand beachand a lighthouseperched on a cliff –an epicsetting we explored in less than half a day.  With the absence of fog and wind, you might say, "Disneyland".   But no! Maybe Disneyland for adults, except that everything wasreal, authentic, spectacularly beautiful, and did not cost a penny.

Itwas unseasonably warm winterday (73◦F) in the San Francisco Bay Area today (2/24), soweheaded to the Marin Headlands intending to trekthecoastaltrail. Butwedecided to hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse first before trekkingthe Marine Headlands Coastal Trail.

Thelighthousewas about a couple miles from the parking lot. We walked about half a mile from where we parked our car.  After our ascent, we reached the end of the road and the beginning o…

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. First off, I love the whimsical architecture. It has Antonio Gaudi's, the crazy genius architect, signature all over the city. I enjoyed hanging out at the park, 'Park Guell', a combination of art and nature. I thought Gaudi designed the park with every kid in us in mind. The park is best known for the Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house and the colorful glass and tile dragon at the entrance. 

Another favorite is the Sagrada Familia - religious architecture that has become as much a symbol of Barcelona as the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Started in 1882, Sagrada Familia is still under construction and is expected to finish whenever (there was actually a target date). So it evolved or continue to evolve from gothic to art nouveau. The front façade is gothic, blah, blah (blah in a good way like any cathedrals in Europe), but the added beauty is in the interior nave that Gaudi designed to mirror nature: trees, branches, leaves, pineap…

Norcal Lighthouse Series 2: Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero


China: The Maglev Train in Shanghai

Called the 'Las Vegas of the East', Shanghai is famous for modern buildings and high skyscraper. Because of its strategic location, where the Yangtze meets the Pacific, it became a popular destination for foreigners.  Portions of the city had been partly controlled by foreign powers in the mid-1800s and eventually by Europe and the US, making it the second most westernized city (after Hongkong) in the country. It continues to serve as the financial capital of China.

I remember walking the 'Bund' which was sandwiched between the 19th century-old buildings along the river and some of the highest skyscraper in the world, and visiting Pudong district, where we saw the 460m Pearl Tower (like a minaret with three little balls in between), the 420m Jinmao (a giant bottle opener), which comprised the famous Shanghai landmark, and a few more buildings under construction like the 'Shanghai Financial Center Bldg' (suppose to be the 3rd tallest building in the world at th…

Norcal Lighthouse Series: Point Reyes Lighthouse

Although I’mthebiggestnaturelover I know, itoccurred to me that I havenevergone camping.  Perhaps it's because I livein a city where nature is abundant and an easydrive to thebeaches of Half-Moon Bay, Stinson Beach and Santa Cruz,  the redwood mountains and the sierra foothills that allowed me to appreciate nature without foregoing the comfort of puffy pillows and pure linen sheets.  I certainly echo Tom Hank's remarks about living in Northern California.  He said, “Growing up in Northern California has had a biginfluence on my loveandrespectfortheoutdoors. When I live in Oakland, we would thinknothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one dayandthendriving to the foothills of the Sierras thenextday.”

When my roommatetold me thatwehad to be out of thehouse, I justtook off anddrovenorth. I returned to Point Reyes.  (Last fall I blogged about my visit to Point Reyes National Seashore, rather, ranted about the National Park closure - Point Reyes National Seashore: Wal…