To go north of SF, we have to cross the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB). YAY!!! I was so excited!!!!!! We decided to walk on it before driving across the bridge. There was this place at South vista point of GGB that you could park your car and walked up the bridge. When we got there, it started to rain. My excitement was dampened because I wanted some close-up pictures of the bridge so dang bad! After about 5 minutes, miracle happened, or I should say the clouds decided to float away and the sun reappeared. We dashed out of the gift shop and proceeded up the bridge like little ants. I felt so minuscule as I stared at the majestic bridge, unable to remove my gaze. It was so windy. Again, I suggest a hat or a beanie when you go on it. I ignored the advice of a photographer about the hat and I regretted it. It was so freezing cold up there I could feel my hair stand. The best thing was I was wearing my cute flip flops, and yes my toes were numb. Very stupid of me. If you are afraid of height, don't look down!!!! I looked down and it was HIGH!!!!!! It would be a great place for base jumping though. I would love to try that! I heard that many people take a deadly plunge from the bridge each year. @_@
After taking a gazillion shots of the bridge, we came back to our car and drove over it. There were so many cars that drove over it and it really made me appreciate the architect who designed the bridge. Not only must the bridge look unique, it must also be sturdy and strong and safe. We went through a tunnel and came to this coastal town called Sausalito after about 10 minutes. We didn't really have an idea what to do there except looking at the cute cottages hanging by the cliff and some houseboats. The town was very quaint and quiet. As we were driving down the narrow winding hill road, I again felt sick. How do I cure my motion sickness??? Mr.L loved this town so much he said he wants to live here if we do move to SF area. I would love to live in a hill by the ocean and it reminded me so much of Kaneohe on Oahu.
Muir Woods National Monument prides itself as one of the "last stands of old-growth redwood forest on Earth" and one of America's oldest national parks. I've seen a lot of tall, towering trees in Malaysia, but these sequoia trees were so tall! If my dad were there, I know he would've exclaimed "These trees can be sold for a ton of money!" Haha..my dad worked in a sawmill and logging industry before so he sees trees as potential moolah. Contrary to my father, I am against tree-cutting, unless if it's already a dead tree. One interesting thing I learned from this national park's many educational information panels was these big trees need fire to make them healthier. Once in a while there would be a forest fire that would burn down all the other smaller plants, giving the big trees more nutrients without having to fight with them. The redwoods trees can also stand fire burning really well. Walking in the forest, I feel like a nymph in my dress. I want to be a nymph!!! One other thing I learned was the United Nations was organized here in the Muir Woods by President Theodore Roosevelt. Cool, eh??
Next stop. We drove about 2 hours north to Calistoga, a town in Napa Valley (Wine country). I was really excited to go see the winery. I had looked up a few different wineries up in Napa Valley but none really stood out to me. Then, I stumbled upon Castello di Amorosa or the Castle of Love in Italian. Even though it was farther away from the other wineries, I thought it was well worth the trip. The owner of the "castle" has an Italian heritage and he wanted to build a different kind of winery than his competitors and wanted to make it as Italian as possible. If I remember correctly, he imported all of the bricks of the castle from Italy to maintain the real Italian castle look. He said people could totally tell that his castle was fake if he didn't use the right kind of material to build it. That's authenticity I'm talking about! We did not take the wine tour because we don't drink wine. Therefore, we were not allowed to go into the dungeon below the ground to see how wine was made. There were a few cool things to see there that we didn't have to be in the tour to see. We took our time exploring the castle and tasted the wine juice. Speaking of wine juice, it was really really good. It was very sweet and had a bit of a wine taste to it (I tasted wine before so I know). It just didn't have alcohol. We felt like we were kiddos there because the wine juice were made mainly for children (of course, for guests like us too). hahaha... One thing I felt kinda disappointed though was we went after the grapes were all pruned. So there wasn't any lush green vines all over like I saw in their brochure. Bummer...and it was so cold there it actually hailed! So I suggest going in the summer.
The castle even has a moat!
I really felt like I was at a medieval castle. SO cool!!
It would be so pretty if it were all lush and green.
When we looked down the well, Mr.L said, "Can you see Somora?"
My imagination ran wild when I looked into this hall and I scared myself.
Olive trees and a sheep. Much like Jerusalem??
An Italian chapel. I think they still use Latin for their service.
Our wine host
The medieval banquet hall where guests are invited to have a medieval feast. You have to dress up for the feast.
The Emperor and the Empress :))
The rocks and bricks from Italy
HDR of the castle
The guy demonstrated how much wine is the right amount of wine to pour into a wine glass.
This is for my friend, Claire. If you are going to Napa, don't forget to check out the wine train. I wanted to go do that so badly because it looked so cool (you board the train and it takes you through a few different wineries and you do your wine tasting in the train and lots of good food too.) It's a really really cool train. Look it up on google to see it. You need to make reservation if you are going. The reason we weren't going was it was too expensive. It was about 90 dollars per person or something like that. But starting in April, they are having a cheaper menus that costs only 40 dollars per person. I would so do it if they offered it earlier.
If you go to Calistoga, don't forget to go to the Old Faithful geyser there. Even though it wasn't as huge as the one in Yellowstone, I think it was really cool! We went after the the wine tasting. It was only about 7 minute drive from the castle. The guy at the geyser told us that since it had been raining that day, the geyser would come on more frequently. Usually it took about 40 minutes to see one "explosion", but that day it happened every 5 minutes! We got to see it so many times. One good thing about raining :) It was an old lady who owned the geyser. She also discovered how the geyser was an accurate predictor for earthquake in that area. If the geyser was delayed up to an hour to two hours, usually it meant that there was an earthquake about to happen. I've never seen anything like it at all. I was so glad we went there.
Later that night we got back to our inn and ate our leftover Malaysian food for dinner. One word, SYOK!!
Stay tuned for Day 4 of our honeymoon :)