A Local's Guide to California - This Way

A Local's Guide to California

Describe who you are in 3 sentences: 
My name is Viktoria and I am a Canadian currently based in Paris, France! I came to Paris for university and decided to stay and work full-time. I’m not yet ready to leave this city permanently but I have been to many cities around the world but still keep coming back to Paris. I love to travel and experience new cultures and certainly the new food! Hopefully this travel guide on my experience in California will give you a sneak peak into a few little gems I found along the way!

What is your relation to this city?
California has always been sort of like this out there, superficial, exciting place full of beautiful people, sun and water! I definitely wasn’t wrong but I found there is so much to see and experience beyond the typical stereotypes. This is why I decided to go for 3 weeks and see for myself. I always pictured myself to live there one day and so I went to finally see for myself if that dream could be a reality.

Best experience?
Between San Fransisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas, LA, and the coast, my best experience was at Yosemite. I've heard great things about this place but visiting was a whole different experience. Now, mind you this is coming from someone who isn’t very big on nature, or camping. My idea of camping is closer to “Glamping” but I will never forget this trip. I stayed at the Wawona Hotel with my boyfriend for about 3 days. The hotel is actually located about 1h to 1h20 min from the rest of the campsite/main facilities which wasn’t a problem for us because on the drive back after a day of hiking, you see the most beautiful starry night sky. Most of us I presume are from the city, but beyond those city lies a blanket of the most beautiful stars. It was. Breathtaking experience and everyday I wish to go back there! That was just one of the best experiences at Yosemite.

Weirdest experience?
Luckily I don’t think Ive had any weird experiences. I did however have a startling experience in San Fransisco. That was the city we flew to from Paris so it was our first destination. We stayed for roughly 4/5 days before renting a car and driving to Vegas. Now, we wanted to do this trip more or less on a budget so we booked a room at a 3 star hotel in San Fransisco, not knowing that we were staying in the heart of the drug district. Every city has an area like this, even Paris. Now how did we find this out? Well when we got into our little room, I opened the window, looking over from the second floor and noticed a bullet hole. Yes. There was a bullet hole in our window. This was a realisation because although I am familiar with the laws and customs in the US, they differ from those of France and Canada so it was surprising and unsettling as a tourist.

Your top 3 hangout spots?
Somewhere I would love to hang out is always Venice beach, the Tokyo district in LA and downtown San Fransisco!

Favourite restaurants?
Gosh, I ate so much during this trip that I don’t think I can name just one amazing place but the brunch that still makes its way into my dreams is from Sweet Maple in San Fransisco. I had the most spectacular Benedict eggs with chipotle sauce, their top millionaire's bacon and their well known pan fried pancake of sorts. I didn’t bother remembering what everything was called but it was worth the 7 am line up. After that meal, we didn’t eat until the next day!

Best date place?
A super fun date place would be to visit the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco. Such a fun and interactive place and you get to eat ice cream provided to you at each new interaction. Also such a fun place to take photos either for your instagram or with your date!

Best Sunday spot?
Somewhere we went on a Sunday that was great was Santa Monica Pier. I think the view is amazing, the vibe is relaxed and of course there is a Ferris wheel to ride and the beach to have a picnic or surf!

Where is your escape place from this city?

After LA, we drove all along the coast back to Safe Fransisco. We stopped at Morro Bay, Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and all the way back to San Fransisco. Monterey Bay was the best one because we went to their biggest Aquarium and felt like young kids!

What’s your favorite This Way travel product?
I'm looking forward to trying their sunscreen in the mini travel package for my next destination. Hopefully it will be somewhere warm!

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