Really close to where we are staying is a small harbor-town called Rockport. It is a small artists' colony right by the ocean-side, and it's famous for it's doll-like, picturesque buildings and harbor. We went for a walk through town, and it was like something out of a book. There are a lot of small knick-knack shops, studios and cozy cafés scattered across the small, winding streets, as well as a pier surrounded by sailing boats in the middle of the town.

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A few days ago we went into town with my cousins to do some touristing. First we went to Beacon Hill, to the City Hall of Boston. We had a tour of the historic building which has played a big part in American history. Then we went along the freedom trail, a route that goes through the entire city marking out the most important historic locations. We saw a holocaust memorial, Paul Revere's home, and the site of the Boston Tea Party, among others. We also went to the museum of fine arts, where they had a really cool exhibition about the Summer Of Love in San Francisco in 1967. Lastly my mom and I went for some shopping of Newbury Street, basically the coziest street ever. Boston is a very very nice city and I really enjoyes going there. I can't wait to go back some time!

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A few days ago, we flew from California to Massachusettes to visit our cousins who live just outside of Boston. The day after we arrived was the 4th of July, and there was a parade in town. It was a nice parade, with lots of people dressing up and giving out candy. My cousins actually participated in the parade themselves, one in the soccer team and one in a band. After the parade we just spent in their garden, eating good food, playing games and talking. In the evening there were tons of fireworks all over town, and the sky was all lit up with red, white and blue.

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I forgot to post these pictures feom Sausalito, right outside San Francisco, from last week. The town used to be really popular among hippies during the Summer Of Love, they used to live in houseboats in the harbor. Now it's more expensive and up-scale, but it's still a really sweet town.

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Santa Cruz was all smiles and blue skies. It's a city right by the sea, with a looong beach, a pier and a shoreline Tivoli. It's so nice just walking around, looking at the surfers, playing games in the arcade, eating ridiculous amounts of popcorn and cotton candy, and riding the old roller coasters. Santa Cruz is one of my favorite places in California, and I just wish I could have spent more time there. Oh well, maybe next time...

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Today I went to San Francisco with my family and my aunt. We did make a few stops on the way though; first right by the Golden Gate bridge to take some pictures, then in Sausalito to look at the boats. When we got to the city we tried to stick to the smaller streets and the lesser known areas. This was simply because we wanted to avoid too many people and too much traffic. We actually found some really really nice places, street art and cafés. We went to Japantown where we had ginger and lychee-flavored ice cream and we stopped by this big fountain in the middle of a plaza to have lunch at the cutest café. We also did some shopping, mostly in local, independent stores, as well as A LOT of walking. We were sooo tired at the end of the day, but equally happy.

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About an hour's drive from my uncle's house is the Big Basin National Park, home of the Redwood trees. The Redwood trees are among the largest in the world, and the oldest. They can live for thousands (!!!) of years, some are as old as 5000 years old. The park is full of the enormous trees, everywhere you look there is red and green in perfect symbiosis. We went for a hike on one of the trails the park offered, and it ended up veing waaay longer than we expected. When we finally got back I was totally exhausted, but luckily I got loads if pictures of the beautiful nature.

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After Palm Springs, we were supposed to go to Sunnyvale, California, where my uncle lives. It's a pretty long trip to do all in one day so we decided to do a little road trip.

The first place we stopped was a small university-town called San Luis Obispo. We had dinner here and afterwards explored the center of the city. The university here is well-known and the entire city is centered around it. I absolutely loved this town, the atmosphere was so calm and welcoming, and it was really such a pretty place. The next morning we had an amazing breakfast at a place by a lake just outside of town before we continued the journey.

After a few hours, we stopped for coffee in a small coast-town called Cayucos. There's a miles long beach and a pier that stretches far out into the sea. If you're lucky (we weren't) you can actually see several types of whales and dolphins from the pier on a clear day. We went to a small garden-café and had coffee and the BEST oatmeal-raisin cookies I've ever had.

Last stop was Monterey, an old fishing town. The main attraction for tourists is the Fisherman's Wharf, a pier with themed restaurants and gift shops. It's nice, if a bit crowded. We took a long walk on Cannery Row, the famous street that goes almost through the whole town. The author John Steinbeck wrote a book of the same name about the town and the people living there. Even though the city is now modernized and designed to attract tourists, there are still signs of the old businesses and fishing industries all over town, such as statues, buildings and the docks. Afterwards we got back into the car and drove the last bit to my uncle's house, where I am now.

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The last day in Palm Springs we visited the Joshua Tree national park. It's famous for the odd, sharp-looking trees that are unique to the area. We went on a short walk in an area called "Hidden Valley", where we actually saw a rattlesnake. The landscape was really pretty, like nothing I've ever seen before, desolate and barren, untouched for thousands of years. All I can hope is that my pictures can do it some justice.

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After a few days in Los Angeles, my family and I went up to Palm Springs to visit my uncle. Palm Springs is situated in the middle of the Sonoran Desert in Southern California, which makes it a very hot place, especially in the summer. High season is normally in the winter, so the entire town seemed almost dead when we got here. When we made our plans, we knew it was going to be hot, but we didn't anticipate just how hot. At the moment it's about 48 degrees Celsius, which translates to around 117 degrees Fahrenheit. It's so hot that it's difficult to move, breathe, eat, sleep. The only way to even stand the heat is to:
1. Stay inside all day and bask in the air-conditioned glory
2. Go on an excursion, preferably to a very tall mountain or an oasis.

We chose option number 2.

The first few pictures are from the Mount Jacinto State park, which is about 3000 meters high. At the peak, it's a lot cooler that on the ground. In the winter, there's even snow. It's a very beautiful place to take a walk, which is exactly what we did.

The other pictures are from the Coachella Valley reserve, a literal oasis in the middle of the desert with palm trees and 3 different ecosystems. It's a small piece of heaven in the infernal heat of the desert.


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