I was in NorCal over the weekend for a quick visit. It’s quite different than SoCal (specifically LA (which is where I am now in case you didn’t know)). Not only is the vibe different… there’s variation in the weather. You know, that feel of autumn… The cool crisp air, night chill, cool breeze. Having grown up on the East Coast, my mind knows it’s October and my body hasn’t gotten used to the constant warmth and static weather here in LA. Thankfully NorCal is close enough for me to visit as often as I want.
Here’s a summary of what I did/ate/saw. (Note: All the photos are no filter except the streetart. Natural beauty!)
Checked out the SoFA Market in Downtown San Jose. SoFA apparently stands for South First Area, and this area is San Jose’s visual arts and entertainment district. It reminds me of Chelsea Market in New York and Grand Central market in LA because of the food stall set up and eclectic offering of food/drink. Since it was a bit chilly I thought it would be appropriate to eat ramen, so I decided to go to Konjoe Tei. I had seen some yummy photos on instagram so I thought I’d check it out. The ramen isn’t as authentic in taste as the places I’ve eaten at in LA or New York (or Tokyo) but it was decent given that I was grading it against unfair standards. The kaarage chicken was perfectly cooked and the pork toast surprised me in a good way.
Afterwards I took a walk around to check out some of the street art and explore the area. I think the best way to feel out a city is to walk its streets. San Jose isn’t very walkable, so when you CAN walk, you should.
A really awesome tiger I saw. White tigers are my favorite, but this is undeniably cool. I found out it was made my Mike Borja, not sure who did the above if anyone can help identify it.
And then we started the drive to Lick Observatory. When I came across it on yelp, it promised a killer view so I had to go. I’m a sucker for a view and nature of course. (Nature is one of the reasons why LA/California is perfect for me).
Google Maps said it would be about an hour drive from downtown San Jose which was fine with me, because I was with good company. I used to hate long car rides because I felt that I was “wasting time,” but then I realized that the time is going to pass anyway. So at least control who you’re going to pass it with. A blog post on that here.
You cant tell from the photo but it’s a looooong windy road. It felt like a rollercoaster ride going up.
We saw a lot of people on motorcycles who were “in the zone” swerving through the curves. I can’t imagine how fun it would be to do that. There were a few people cycling up the road as well. Pretty intense
Here’s what a small part of the route looks like on the map. Hmmmyea… Good thing I like rollercoasters.
We stopped a few times on the way up because the view was just ridiculous.
We got up there just in time for the sunset. It was pretty magical. The view is really what you go up there for. Yes, there’s a telescope (like all observatories do) but I was more struck by the view. Apparently the Lick Observatory is funded by the University of California system and those studying physics or astronomy live up there.
Stopped on the way down because when you see this ^…. why wouldn’t you?
It was amazing seeing the glimmer of cars in the distance moving along the traffic. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
It was pretty great not having phone service for a few hours. You get so high up that you lose reception. No radio. No streaming music. Just conversation with the person you’re stuck with and the sound of driving.
If you’re ever in San Jose and want to escape for a bit…. Lick Observatory is the place to go. I only wish I brought a video camera!!!
The drive might be long, but you’ll be sure to enjoy the view from the top.
Hidden gems FTW.
Stay tuned for my day in SF (to be posted soon)