After a long drive we reached La Honda, California in the darkness. La Honda is about an hour south from San Francisco, in the middle of a deep dark forest, and that’s where our friend Emily lives. It was quite eerie driving on a dark highway and just imagining the vast ocean on my left and deep forest and cliffs on my right. Despite us arriving quite late, Emily wasn’t home yet but had left us a key. Emily is a friend we met through our good friend Ann, and they, in turn, had met in the US at the MichFest. Emily came to London once for a visit, later moved there and it’s there where we started our friendship.We were super excited to see her as it had been quite some time since we had last seen each other.

I have to mention, the weather after Malibu had taken a turn to cooler. It was still sunny and blue sky was the standard BUT the temperature had cooled down noticeably. Until then we had been boiling, mostly.

When Emily finally got home, we had a chance to have a quick chat before crashing into bed. In the morning she took us to her favourite local breakfast/lunch spot, where we met some of her friends and her neighbour Zach who works there. The place was basically a biker bar and I really liked the atmosphere there as most people knew each other and were greeted like family. Then we went on a scenic drive to appreciate the surroundings, especially now that it was day light. Later in the afternoon, Emily had to leave for the night, and Triin and I took full advantage of having a house to ourselves. After being on the road for a while it was nice to know that we would be at a friend’s house for four whole days! We ended up doing ‘homely things’ like blogging, I had a nap, and after a quick sushi in a nearby town we concluded the evening by watching a show on Netflix – pure bliss.

The next morning we slept in a bit (yay!) and made a nice breakfast at Emily’s, then drove to San Franscico to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was massive, red and impressive – just like in the movies. We took tons of photos. I couldn’t really believe that we were there, a place that mostly existed on TV, we walked around before the hoardes of people became to overwhelming. We left and met Emily at the Pier 3 near and enjoyed a leisurely stroll whilst checking out the markets at the Ferry Building. We couldn’t decide where to have dinner and decided, after walking around a while more, on a place in Half Moon Bay which was on the way back to La Honda, called Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. Good company, good beer and ocean view – happy days!

After dinner we bought some beer, went home, made a fire in the garden and chatted the night away. It was so good to catch up and hear all about each others lives as we hadn’t seen each other for years. It felt so different after having done some growing up, especially on my part. Later Zach, who had finished work, joined us and also offered to take us on a tour of San Francisco the following day with his girlfriend Claire, as Emily had some plans for the next day.

As promised, the next day Zach and Claire took us on a mini hike in the area to show us the view form the top of a hill. On the way to San Francisco, we made a brief pit stop at a truly random bric-a-brac shop equipped with a bar, and a huge selection of tat from about 100 years ago. California is fun! The drive was especially entertaining due to Zach’s commentary on California drivers and his debate with Claire on just how much more polite Kentucky drivers are. Guys, we will cherish those deep conversations for ever! 🙂 Hopefully, one day we get to visit Kentucky to see for ourselves.

Driving through San Fransisco, each area seemed so entirely different from the next: we saw an entire street filled with rainbow flags, near-90degree drop on road down the hill with the car (thank Dog for breaks!), trams going up and down – just fascinating. Driving on these steep hills is literally like riding a rollercoaster, no kidding. They took us on another hike up a hillside to Coit Tower. All these steps made us realise (again) how unfit we were and how much extra pounds we had to haul up these steps. Along the seemingly endless staircase was a door to someone’s house, complete with a little front garden. I imagined dragging your groceries (or furniture!) up these stairs… the thought itself exhausted me. Finally, we reached the top and saw the Coit Tower. Another benefit of climbing hills is the view and this one didn’t disappoint.

The thoughts about the extra weight didn’t linger as we had pizza and beer at their favourite place called Golden Boy Pizza. Triin couldn’t help laughing and singing “Golden boy” as a true fan of Eurovision (whoop whoop to all the fans! LOL). After a short stroll through the streets, and a quick purchase of coffee and milk flavoured popcorn (for the record – yum), we headed back home to catch up with Emily. We found her in Zach and Claire’s apartment playing Playstation. I was already fond of this self-made family, being so comfortable around each other and looking out for one another. It’s always a good thing to see your friend and know that they are surrounded by good people. Plus I really love self-made families after having lived in London for more then a decade; xmas with your friends is really quite nice.

We spent the rest of the evening having beers and playing video/computer games, chatting and enjoying the company. It was so great to catch up with Emily, and making new friends was a bonus. We definitely enjoyed or visit. I’m a bit sad that we didn’t have the energy to explore San Francisco in more detail, I guess the long road trip took it’s toll on us and we preferred to chill instead of sightseeing. Next time! The city looks to be worth it.

The coastline near Half Moon Bay, California

Next, we had three days to get to Fort Collins, Colorado to spend our remaining days in the US with another friend Amy and her family. After four days at Emily’s we were ready to hit the road again.