Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our summer in Berkeley and preparing for ..... Italy

Our time in Berkeley is going by fast. We enjoy spending time with dear friends, stay in awesome houses (and picked up some ideas for our future home), and Tessa has a blast at her morning preschool. No sailing at all, in fact we have only visited our former home turf, the Berkeley marina, once. Our moving radius seems about 2 to 3 miles from the houses we stay at, and we walk and bike most of the time. Tod is working hard to replenish our travel kitty, this is after all not a vacation but work time. And among other things, I'm busy with planning our next family adventure: going to Europe for about 3 months to play and work, with a home base in Italy.

More details later, for now just some pics of our time in the Bay area. 

camping with papa in backyard for a night

Tilden little farm, our go-to place on Sunday morning. Notice the jacket?
Yep, welcome to Berkeley summer!

we get to stay with the sweetest dogs, and our girl is having a blast

kite festival in Berkeley Marina, this is where they filmed
part of the Kite Runner

the joy to master the monkey bars

another relaxing visit to our friends Mika and Karl in lake Tahoe
( well, except for the traffic then, which is just plain crazy here in the Bay)

and what would we do without our dearest Petra?  So many happy hours,
and here a special treat to Cal Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

picture by Petra

picture by Petra
picture by Petra

Picture at the Young Museum by Petra

catching tadpoles, picture by Petra

Thursday, June 23, 2016

camping in SF Bay Area's back yard

After a great time with Mika and Karl in Lake Tahoe, we are back in our "home turf" for the summer to work: welcome to traffic,  delicious bread from Acme, great Monterrey Market and median home prices of $ 1,000,000 in Berkeley. Before we start our house/ pet sitting, we are camping in the area for a week. We found a great overnite place in cute Benicia for $12, and had a blast biking and picking berries there.  Antony Chabot State Park, in the Oakland hills, is pretty, quiet and you can get away from all the crazy traffic and busyness of the bay area. Biking, petting dogs and chatting with neighbor campers is our daily routine here.  Soon we will store Betsy for a couple of months, and be living a land based life. Variety, it's all good!

view from our campsite at Anthony Chabot

the one nite- great deal site at Benicia State Park

Looking at Carquinez Strait from our campsite

They picked a bunch of black berries, and Tod make a delicious pie

having a great time with Mika and Karl in lake Tahoe, a gorgeous place to live

helping Karl making pizza

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Yosemite by RV

"Come catch me! Lets play hide and seek! " that is how Tessa climbed the trail up to Vernal Fall foot bridge in Yosemite. That's after she climbed every possible rock at the beginning of the trail. No doubt she will be ready for Half Dome in a few years with Tod, while I will have a "spa" day at the lodge.

We arrived in Tod's favorite park the day before on a rainy day. We got the only rv parking spot left at Glacier Point, and run out in the rain to have a minute long look into a misty Yosemite valley. Ah, the joy then to make hot chocolate in your own home after you peel off your wet clothes!

Tod had reserved a camping spot at Crane Flat (not sure why its called flat, as there ain't any flat spots to pitch a tent or level your rv), 25 minutes drive from the valley. We had heard bad stories about finding a parking spot for rv's in the valley, so decided to leave early in the morning to increase our parking karma. The reason I'm less charmed by Yosemite : the crowds. The incredibly beautiful valley attracts over 4 million visitors each year, so especially during main season it's a zoo on the road (yes, you can get away from the crowds by taking more strenuous hikes, but that's hard to do with a 4 yrs old). We got a parking spot at 8.15, and by 9 the spots were full. We used the shuttle and our bikes to explore the valley, and enjoyed our meals, including dinner, outside in a lovely meadow in front of Betsy . By 6pm, we "only" had to wait 15 min in traffic to leave the valley.

My favorite part of this trip was the drive and stops along the Tioga road the next day.  Sadly the Tuolumne meadows campgrounds were not yet open for the season.

On a side note: we have met several Dutch families doing "the California loop". Fun to talk with them, and it reminded me of my first experience with the USA when I did that loop about 28 yrs ago.

Now on to Lake Tahoe to visit with our dear and long time friends Mika and Karl.

at the Vernal Fall bridge

Upper Yosemite Falls

Half Dome from the Olmsted point on Tioga road

at the end of Tioga road you see Mono lake

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sequoia and Kings Canyon's natural playground

Who needs a playground when you have many trunks to jump and walk on, be surrounded by big, big trees (General Sherman Tree is the largest tree on earth at 275 foot tall), climb to the top of Moro Rock at 6725'? The Betsy crew had fun visiting these national parks, and welcomed the cooler weather. Memorable quote, after she finished the scavenger hunt and Junior Ranger Booklet with our help, and we told her she could get a Junior Ranger badge: " But I don't want to be a Junior Ranger, I want to be a bus driver"! Ah, the mind of  a 4 yrs old....a few weeks ago , she wanted to be an airplane driver.

on top of Moro Rock, she climbed the 300 steps up and down by herself

great landscape to explore at our campsite at 6500'