Hollywood Boulevard – you can visit, but don’t need

The Hollywood Boulevard exudes charm because not as one might think.

On the way from Monterey to Anaheim we made a short stop in Hollywood and on Hollywood Boulevard. We want to go the next day to the Universal Studios and for that we had bought the Go LA Card online. This card you can pick up at two locations, one of that was the Hollywood and Highland Mall right next to the Dolby Theatre. So we exit the traffic jam on the highway and had the next traffic jam on the short way to the Dolby Theatre.

But we also have survived this and have parked directly under the Dolby Theatre. I had been there in 2009 and knew what to expect. It has not much in common with the glamor of Hollywood. Once you go into a side street, the experience is something completely different. The Hollywood Boulevard is still OK, but again, you realize that something is wrong. There is no corner where I would stop by long. Everything full of tourists, dirty and the locals are not all so reassuring.

Of course, the Mall and also the Dolby Theatre is well maintained, but all in all I do not have to visit this area again. So we have picked up in the mall the tickets and after that we go a few meters up and down Hollywood Boulevard. In the souvenir shop with the great name of La La Land, we even found German confectionery. The price I unfortunately do not remember, but it was extremely expensive.

This part of the city did not convince me, even after my 2nd visit. On my next visit I spend more time in San Francisco.

Los Angeles 2015 (2)

Highway 1 from Monterey to Los Angeles

Highway 1 from Monterey to Los Angeles

Highway 1 is a true highlight in good weather.

After one night in Monterey we continued our trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The schedule was very tight, but it was clear to us from the beginning. Either you have to emphasize some or you have some stress. We opted for the more stressful variant. 

The plan for the day was therefore to drive from Monterey to Los Angeles on Highway 1. After some research on the Internet the route after Monterey should be the most beautiful. The plan was also that we then take Santa Barbara and Malibu along the way. But to say it at the beginning, in the end we make a different route.

Thanks to the not made notes, I can not say exactly when we are starting the trip, it was just as bright that you could see everything. The early rise was unfortunately not completely avoidable, because the route is quite long and you indeed can not drive so fast.

We have lost already at the beginning more or less the schedule, because you want to stop really on every little parking bay on the side. Always with the feeling you missed something.

After the sun came out and the first few miles were driven we were happy. We should have the whole day great weather, which is not always given on Hwy. 1. It is great fun to drive the curvy and mountainous route (at least for me, my wife was not so impressed 😉 ) and at every turn there was a new thing to see. The highlight was then at a higher point. We are normally driven into the parking lot and it was a couple on the spot. They looked very curious on the ocean. We then realized quite quickly why, there were some whales. At least 9 whales cavorting close to the coast and had breakfast there. The couple had disappeared quite quickly and so we stood there alone in the morning sun and have observed the whales. Wow.

Despite all the planning we were not so concerned with the lunch, and have to go buy in the middle of nowhere in a small shop a great sandwiches for the microwave. That with the microwave, we have only understood after we had looked in the package. After warming up in the microwave it actually smelled delicious, but unfortunately just only smelled.

The beginning of the track was really the most beautiful, the closer we got to the south the views getting more unexciting. As of Highway 1 will no longer be led directly along the coast and we had enough of everything, we make the decision to take another route to arrive at quicker. Actually we wanted still take Malibu, but the traffic give us later the rest. The closer we came to Los Angeles, the more traffic we got.

Spontaneously, we got to the Hollywood Boulevard. But about this in a different post more soon. After the short visit we went to Anaheim. There we moved into our motel room which was just 15 minutes walking distance from Disney. Thanks to the Wyndham reservation site I had reserved 3 rooms in the motel and each about 600 $. Of course I wanted only one, and the nice lady has cancelled the other two. I still thought it was a stupid accident, but this situation should often happen in this vacation. The evening we end with a sumptuous meal at the Cheesecake Factory and fell quite early and totally exhausted into bed.



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17 Mile Drive – highlight of the Monterey Peninsula

17 Mile Drive, there are many great lookouts.

The 17 Mile Drive stand in our program of the day before the sunset. As Napa Valley turned out to be not quite as well worth seeing, we were already ahead of schedule on 17 Mile Drive. We are leave directly Highway 1 and stood at one of the entrances. The 17 Mile Drive is the main street of the gated community of Pebble Beach, is managed by the Pebble Beach Company and costs for a 10 $ entrance fee.

17 Mile Drive 2015 (6)

As the name suggests it, the road is 17 miles long and winds through the mountains and along the coast. On the way there are many viewpoints which are also shown on the map that you got at the entrance. But who wants to, can stand more often, just should not go to the numerous private houses you.

On the site there are numerous, sometimes quite lush, houses and even golf courses. But the most interesting are of course the really great viewpoints.

At the beginning ist is not so spectacular with a view through the forest to the sea. But at the coast there are great corners and the Lone Cypress is probably the most famous viewpoint.


Who ride the Highway 1, should definitely schedule the 17 Mile Drive. It was really nice, but if the fuel display would have begun to glow just before entrance, we would been much more relaxed. If you approach it quite relaxed, you can spend several hours and shoot thousands of photos there.

From San Francisco via Napa Valley to Monterey

From San Francisco to Monterey is Napa Valley a detour.

After three wonderful days in San Francisco the next target on our map was Monterey. From there, we wanted the next day down the Highway 1 to Los Angeles.

After a long think and research on the internet we decided for this section of Highway 1, since it is supposed to be the most beautiful between San Francisco and Los Angeles. But more from this in one of the next reports.

Driving on the normal highway from San Francisco to Monterey course takes no whole day. Even if you want to do the 17 Mile Drive, you have enough time. However, we have planned a bigger detour through the Napa Valley and therefore we start very early in the morning.

This decision was just right. There was not much traffic and we drove in the sunrise and fog over the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course we had to stop after the bridge because of this fascinating weather. It was in short clothes quite fresh, but there were taken some nice pictures.

After that the Welcome Center in Napa was our next destination, we had absolutely no plan what there is to see in Napa Valley. Sure, there are wine, but where can you look at something more precisely, what it costs …. such questions had to be clarified first time. We were really early and go 10:30 am in the Visitor Center, which already opens fortunately at 9 am. There we stocked up with lots of leaflets and flyers. The friendly staff have us explain a few things so we were prepared for the Napa Valley.

In the car we first folded the plan apart and made us a game plan. I have no plan when it comes to wine and I did not care. My focus was on time, after all, we still had to go to Monterey and the 17 Mile Drive there was in the evening on the program. My wife has then become familiar with the wineries, prices and opening times.

On the way to the north we have chosen a smaller road, the Silverado Trail. The big one, the Saint Helena Highway, we wanted to take on the way back. After a short detour to Lake Hennessy, we were ready for the first winery, the Rutherford Ranch Winery. The decision for exactly this was purely a gut decision. There we have made the first and only wine tasting in Napa Valley. It was still before 11 am, but what can you do 🙂

The wine was delicious and the funniest of the whole thing was the employee who is in fact born Swiss woman and has lived a short in Germany. Her German was indeed no longer the best, but she was happy to speak German again. Through her we also get again a few tips for the onward journey.

We decided nowhere else something to drink and had only three other stops in the Napa Valley. The first stop was at the Castello di Amorosa, a castle in the middle of the vineyards. Although the whole thing looks really great, but it’s only a few years old and was built there by a millionaire. The stones for it were specially imported from Italy. We are even running around, and then drove back. Alone to come in a decent amount has been demanded. Wine tastings would then again cost separately. But the whole thing pays well, because no other winery were as much crowded as there.

Then we went short to Opus One Winery and Robert Mondavi Winery. For me, the wineries were just like any other, but the experts know it better. Robert Mondavi probably makes quite god wines and Opus One should be one of the best wines in the United States.


From there we went directly to Monterey. First you still driving on the normal highway, but the coast is approaching. In Monterey arrived, you feel already this charm of a seaside town.

Before sunset we drove along the 17 Mile Drive, certainly the highlight when you are there. But for this comes next an extra report with great pictures.

After the check in at the motel we went down to the harbor and have a great dinner in one of the numerous restaurants and eat delicious fish.


The Alcatraz Island – A special National Park

Alcatraz Island was formerly one of the most secure prisons in the world.

On our last day in San Francisco, Alcatraz Island was early in the morning on our schedule. Directly at 8.45 AM we went over with the first ship. You should be at the perth definitely in the time frame printet on the tickets. Before Boarding you have to pass a small bag Check and a Photo Spot.

The tickets should be bought before traveling already online, then you have the least stress. When you go to San Francisco in the season, it can be really busy and maybe you do not get a ticket for the desired day.

Arriving at Alcatraz, there is first a small briefing and then you have to go up the hill to get into the buildings.

An audio guide, which you get at the entrance of the building, is included in the entrance fee. This can be set to different languages and you can explore Alcatraz at your own pace.

You can be flexibly with the return trip by ferry. Once you’re done, you go back to the ferry terminal and can go back with the next boat.

Anyone who is a bit interested in history, should definitely visit Alcatraz. Admission is indeed with 39 $ not quite as low, but the offered audio tour is really well done and even be on this island with this history was something special.

Because the whole atmosphere comes better, I made the pictures almost entirely in black and white.

Who likes the post and the images, please share, like and tell everybody. Thank you.


Also there is some Alcatraz on YouTube:


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San Francisco – A super city for the start of the holiday

San Francisco – Great start, great vacation.

After 11.5 hour flight we were “already” in San Francisco. As you have already read, we came with an A380 from Lufthansa directly from Frankfurt to San Francisco. The “already” is meant seriously, because a flight in business class went by way too fast. Here you can read it again.

Anflug San Francsico 5

Now continue with San Francisco. We had in the holiday a very tight schedule, so that only the arrival day and the following two days were scheduled for San Francisco. Unfortunately, we must reduce or withdraw the vacation, that time is simply too short.

For me it was after 2009, the second visit to San Francisco, my wife was the first time on the West Coast and in San Francisco. To make it short, San Francisco was still as great as I had remembered it.

After a successful landing we had to go through the usual procedure. Get luggage, Immigration, Customs, Car Rental. That with the suitcases is as a Business Class passenger again an enormous advantage, because the preferential treatment and the luggage comes first. So we went with our luggage in the direction of Immigration. Here you plan 2 hours, so that you can be happy if it takes only 1.5 hours. The system in San Francisco was only a little confusing. First was divided by americans and the rest, as always actually knits. However, the queue for the rest was already completely full and our flight was just coming. So they announced that people who already traveled to the US can use also the queue for citizens.

This queue getting also full, what the waiting americans angered after all, which are not used to wait at passport control 🙂 The waiting period remained but within limits and soon we where able to read at an machine our passports itself and also the fingerprints and take the picture. Then you got a printout with which it then proceeded to an official. He has controlled everything, asked the usual questions and made the stamp in the passport. Done. After that you past the customs and you are in the US.

Following is was called again wait in line for the car rental. After the usual refuse of the supplementary and the offers on an upgrade we could choose a car. Bad that there have in San Francisco really small cars. So we had only a Mazda 2, which would indeed have been ok, but with all the luggage was a little small. Kindly an american beside us has decided to upgrade, because his Ford Focus was to small. Lucky for us, we were able to take the focus.

Alcatraz 2015 46

So now the holidays begin. The car was then 16 days and about 5000 km our faithful companion. Now and then he was a bit bitchy witch the air conditioning, but otherwise make a reliable service.

The first stop in the United States is always a WalMart, stock up again complete with the most. From shampoo, deodorant, drinks and chips through to the cooler. This cooler was one of the best investments of the trip. A fridge was rarely in the motel rooms, and with a couple of ice cubes we had our own wherever you go.

The first day we decided to go after shopping into town for something to eat and take a walk along the water. From the traffic is not really great to drive in San Francisco, and the parking is also not the cheapest.

The remaining two days we are always drove from our hotel in Daly City with the BART into the city, which was very easy and a lot more comfortable than by car. Priced anyway the best alternative.

In the two days we did some sightseeing with the double-decker bus and looked at the usual corners of the city. With the weather we were really lucky, it was actually sunny and you could be on the road in short clothes. We were able to experience the Golden Gate Bridge in sunshine and in fog, what more could you get 🙂

I personally like San Francisco very much. There are so many different corners of the city, who look different again. From the large, green park right up to the beach, or the city with the skyscrapers in contrast to the small houses in victorian style. I think San Francisco offers something for everyone and with a sightseeing tour you can cover it all very well.

Unfortunately, it has not fit in our schedule to visit Sausalito or to drive the Muir Woods. We have approached the whole quite relaxed and have picked “our” highlights out.

The with tourists overcrowded Pier 39 and the local sea lions, as well as the area around Fisherman’s Warf. There you can find great restaurants that unfortunately have a tourist surcharge in prices.

Of course, no tourist will miss the lombard street with its many curves. Likewise, we were picking up some chocolate at Ghiradelli and eat delicious bread at Boudin.

The Cable Car ride, we have skipped. Firstly, the price is quite steep and on the other one the queue is there to last forever. The time we finally be able to invest better elsewhere.

In San Francisco there are so many restaurants, so difficult to make a decision. At the beginning we visit a not typical restaurant of San Francisco, the Rainforest Cafe, which simply belongs with us to a holiday in the USA.

The wheat sourdough bread at Boudin is super. With different versions and additions they have been there a very good selection and the animals that they are baking out of bread are a total eye-catcher. Once we were there for lunch in the restaurant of Bourdin and even there it was very tasty.

Lunch Boudin


On the second day we went in the morning with the first boat over to Alcatraz and took a look at the famous prison island. Tomorrow you get here a bit more text and also some great pictures about Alcatraz.

The city has so much to offer and the days passed around like nothing. In retrospect, the two days were of course much too little, but we wanted to take also the Highway 1 and therefore had to cancel one day.

As already mentioned, we are quite relaxed most of the time, went by bus around and have just enjoyed.


Who wants to watch the images without clicking, check this on Youtube:


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