I'm lucky enough to have a birthday that falls around Melbourne Cup, which usually means a four day long weekend. I woke up to a mountain of delightfully coloured Acne packaging, was taken to breakfast at the Kettle Black (current obsession — this is why), on to a picnic in Carlton Gardens to soak up the delightful sunshine and some tasty D.O.C. delicatessen, a lovely dinner with Marcus at The Town Mouse (this has become a birthday tradition), then finally for drinks with the family. A day that revolved around drinking and dining, but really, what could be better?
And so the day comes, almost a month after being home, for the final roll of film from our trip. These are back in California, our final days. Breakfast at Katy's (a childhood tradition), including all our silly faces. Yes, Marcus and I proudly wore (different shades of) denim shirts on the same day. Tom had a little too much fun giving the baby nutcracker king napkin arms and a scepter. Outside my dads house, everyone decided to get a little patriotic under the flag...they look like crazies. The next few were on the way to the airport with some sad goodbyes. And the last few are from the sky, just before we flew over LA. I guess that concludes this little series. Now to deal with my post-post-travel-blues.
There were lots of things that weren't captured, like a lot of Portland with family, our San Jose Sharks ice hockey game, New Years Eve celebrations, skiing on Christmas Eve, our Christmas Day activities and feast, I could go on. But that was mostly because I was far too busy having an incredible time to even think of picking up my camera. It's hard because you tell yourself you want to capture every moment so you can remember it forever. But this truth is, sometimes that takes you away from actually enjoying the moment. So I'm not sorry, because I have so many wonderful memories that I couldn't possibly forget. And if I do, maybe next time we're all together we can remind each other. Apologies for the sentimental rant, after going on unbelievable adventures with my favourite people in the world I can't help but reflect on how blessed I really am.
Some family shots, an older sister, my dad and my younger sister — Skyler — who I only get to spend time with when we go to America. She's a cute little bean. The next few was our incredible views from driving to and from Banff. And lastly, the drive back to California and my dad's incredible face. Sadly, that brings an end to Canada. I really can't describe it. We rarely have time all together like this with my dad and Skyler, so when we do it's just so wonderful. Especially in such a beautiful place like Golden. We had so many adventures — skiing in the Rockies on Christmas Eve, barbecuing Turkey in the snow on Christmas day, snow shoeing and snow mobiling (sooo fun), soaking in an outdoor hot tub while snow was falling, stargazing and staying up late either playing scategories, watching Christmas movies or hoping the Northern Lights would show up. I love my family, and glorious Canada will forever remind me of how much.
Most of these are from Ill Nido Country Inn where we stayed, which by the way was incredible. We were hosted by the loveliest people who gave us so many helpful tips, towed us out of our snowy fiasco, made us the most incredible breakfast most mornings, got us great prices for local activities AND the Inn was absolutely beautiful. If you want to stay in a glorious cabin in BC surrounded by the Rockies, Ill Nido is just the greatest. The end of the roll was from snow shoeing, which sounds odd (I had never heard of it) but really you can walk on powder and not sink knee deep.
These photos capture my first impression of Canada and as you can imagine, it was glorious. Plus a great photo of Tom, holding a bag of car snacks with his sassy face and hat.
San Francisco. You glorious city you. Having been to SF many times, this trip was actually the first time I got to stay for more than one day. And I have to say it was one of my most favourite places. We stayed in the Mission District in the most amazing open plan studio apartment from airbnb (click here to have a look), complete with the prettiest garden and some giant neighbourhood cat friends. We only had four days, but we certainly made the most of it. The Mission District is a super rad place, you just have to be weary of the mass zombie-like-homeless (we are convinced that if the zombie apocalypse is going to start anywhere — it will be San Francisco without a doubt). We went to so many tasty restaurants, a few favourites were Stable Cafe, Tacolicious (the besttttt tacos and soup) and the Cheesecake Factory (as always). One of the days we hired bikes, ignored all logic, and instead of taking the suggested route to all the sights, we decided to bike across town and see all the things on our lists that we couldn't get to without a car. This got us into lots of tricky situations (ie. DEATH hills, things being much further than expected, running out of 3G/phone battery and thus no maps...just to name a few) but was actually a super rad way to see a lot of the suburbs surrounding the city and all the pretty muted pastel coloured buildings.
More from Yosemite. It's really hard to put into words how amazing this national park is. The three of us — Brooke, Marcus and I — escaped early on a Sunday morning from Monterey, arriving in the mountain range by the afternoon. We drove around (stopping every minute because there were too many amazing photo opportunities) until it got dark and then made our way back to our little cabin at Evergreen Lodge (highly recommended!). The next morning we rose early, packed up the car and got ready for our hike. Because it was so icy, the main trail was closed and we had to take the winter route. In 2011, we did the main hike in summer so it was so lovely to see the mountains from a different perspective. By the time we got to the top, there was so much delightful snow! We wish we would have stayed for a few more days, but had an apartment booked in San Francisco that night.
If you are planning a trip to California, I can't recommend Yosemite enough!
Part two of Santa Cruz, at the eerie theme park which wasn't in operation and on the beach as the sun went down. Sitting on the lifeguard stand, my sister actually looks like Marissa Cooper just a little. The last few images are from our drive to Yosemite, just entering the mountain range where there were dregs of snow.
The first few images are from a cute little cafe in Monterey called Happy Girl Kitchen, everyone was sitting around drinking coffee being cute and festive with the holly sprawled across the table. That same day we all decided a road trip to Santa Cruz was necessary. So off we went, with the sun roof open to enjoy some sweet California sunshine. We found our way to the boardwalk, where it was impossible not to take thousands of photos in the magical light.