USA is always a treat and we once again went to the new world. We fell in love with California last year, and particularly with the Los Angeles Area. This year we wanted to stay close to the beaches, and we settled for Inn at Playa del Rey, and you will have to search a long time for a cozier and better hotel than this one. The staff was extremely helpful and went out of their way to make us feel at home. The first day when we got there we had biscuits waiting for us together with a hand-written note saying we were most welcome. We had to change rooms after a few days, because we extended our stay. We used the hotel as a base and enjoyed beachlife on Santa Monica, Venice, Dockweiler, Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches. We love the Pacific Ocean, especially in southern California.
We also visited the aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego, and to our great delight not only USS Ronald Reagan was at port, but also USS Carl Vinson. In San Pedro we boarded the battleship USS Iowa, and saw the bathtub of Franklin D. Roosevelt. When the Navy learnt that Roosevelt would use USS Iowa to cross the Atlantic, they decided to install a bathtub, the only one in the navy.
We also ventured into the desert and saw the ghost town Calico (with a gunfight), Mojave, the Hoover Dam, the strip in Las Vegas, and Death Valley. We experienced 47 C (117 F), a record for us. I have never felt such a hot wind on my face in my life. Normally the wind cools you when it is warm outside, but not this time. We read in the papers the week after that they had 53 C (127 F) at Furnace Creek. We crossed Death Valley and came to a cold and bear-rich Mammoth Lakes. We were specifically told not to leave any edible things in the car, as bears had been known to rip open car doors and search the cars. The day after we visited another ghost town, Bodie, and then drove through a cold and rainy Yosemite, before we could head for San Francisco.
In San Francisco we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and stayed in Sausalito. We had a great time in San Francisco seeing the usual sights like Chinatown, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, the Coit Tower, Lombard Street, and the Ocean Beach. After two days we went back to the Los Angeles Area and the wonderful climate, but we stopped at Monterey, Carmel and its mission, the Elephant Seals near Hearst Castle, Madonna Inn with its wonderful cakes and restrooms, and an overnight stay in Santa Barbara. The day after we also visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library in Simi Valley before we went to the beach. We were once again greeted with biscuits and a hand-written note on arrival in the same hotel, and we also got the same room as the last part of our first stay there, a luxurious room with a king-size bed. The last days were spent on the beaches and in various malls.
In New York we went on a shopping spree and I bought Winston S. Churchill's The World Crisis in six volumes, a reading set in comparison to many collector's sets. The owners at Chartwell Booksellers were very knowledgeable and service-minded and kindly offered to ship the set to Sweden, which I gratefully accepted, as neither Lizette and I wanted to carry the books around in New York. We were so impressed with the bookstore, that we forgot to take pictures of it... We also saw the Pride parade of New York. We also took advantage of a helicopter offer and actually saw New York from the air. A Finnish family also went up with us, and we even met them in Fifth Avenue a few hours later!