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Showing posts from February, 2014

Norcal Lighthouse Series 3: Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands

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Deer and elks, seagulls and murres, marine  mammals (sea otters and seals) ,  spectacular scenery , craggy coastline, historic ruins, pillow basalt rock formations , cliffs falling into the sea, crashing waves , jutted mountain tunnel , suspended bridge, black sand beach and a lighthouse perched on a cliff –an epic setting 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 was real , authentic , spectacularly beautiful , and did not cost a penny. It was unseasonably warm winter day (73◦F) in the San Francisco Bay Area today (2/24), so we headed to the Marin Headlands intending to trek the coastal trail . But we decided to hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse first before trekking the Marine Headlands Coastal Trail. The lighthouse was about a couple miles from the parking lot.  We walked about half a mile from where we p

Barcelona, Spain

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Park Guell   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 fa├žade 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, bra

Norcal Lighthouse Series 2: Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero

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In my blog about the "Ano Nuevo Elephant Seal Experience," I mentioned "being distracted by the beautiful scenery" as an excuse for being late to the Elephant Seal Guided Walk. I was driving through California Highway 1 on my way to Ano Nuevo State Park, following the undulating road ; my car was the only one on the road that crisp early morning . When I got to the hilly top of the road , I could not believe how beautiful the scenery looks . For a minute , I was captivated by the Pacific Ocean's bursting exuberance of brilliant blue and vibrant white white caps as the waves hit the black rocks . I had driven along the California Coastal Highway on many occasions , but this was the first time I’d been captivated by the color of the ocean . I remember thinking that maybe the focus on the many past drives along the coastal highway was to ‘do something’ to have fun at the beach tha

China: The Maglev Train in Shanghai

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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 t

Norcal Lighthouse Series: Point Reyes Lighthouse

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Although I ’m the biggest nature lover I know , it occurred to me that I have never gone camping.  Perhaps it's because I live in a city where nature is abundant and an easy drive to the beaches 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 big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors . When I live in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day .” When my roommate told me that we had to be out of the house , I just took off and drove north . I returned to Point Reyes.  ( L ast fall I blogged about my visit to Point Reyes Nat