California Main Sights
A beautiful mountain valley with waterfalls, mountains, lakes, meadows and giant trees. On June 30, 1864, Abraham Lincoln declared the area around the Mariposa Grove the first state park in the USA, and Yosemite became a national park 26 years later. The actual Yosemite Valley takes up only 7 of the total of 1,169 square miles. In addition to the 186 m high Bridal Veil Falls, the highest waterfall in the USA, Yosemite Falls, at 730 m, is one of the main attractions. The edge of the gorge offers a view of the two thousand meter mountains El Capitan and Half Dome. Hardly any other national park has such an abundance of natural beauties, but hardly any other is so congested.
If you want to (or have to) explore the Yosemite National Park in an environmentally friendly way by public transport, there is the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System; Details on the websites yarts.com and yosemiteconservancy.org.
The road to Glacier Point is closed in winter. Nevertheless, you can also reach this place in winter and have a fantastic view of Half Dome. However, this is only possible with skis on a 10.5 mile trip from Badger Pass.
The television series “Treasures of the World – Heritage of Humanity” focuses on Yosemite National Park, Seasons of a Natural Wonder. The 15 minute film is also available online.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP
The mightiest trees in the world, the sequoia, with their incredible trunk diameter, are an impressive highlight of a visit to the park. The mountain wilderness between Sierra Nevada and the San Joaquin Valley is largely deserted, apart from a few spur roads. The eastern edge of Sequoia NP is marked by Mt. Whitney, at 4,418 m the highest mountain in the USA (18 km long hiking trail to the summit). The Generals Highway connects Kings Canyon NP with Sequoia NP from Grant Grove via Giant Forest to Ash Mountain. The connecting road is winding and 74 km long.
- Ask4beauty: Brief history and politics of state Massachusetts, covering latest population and geographical information of Massachusetts.
Kings Canyon NP
General Grant Grove with the General Grant Tree, the largest and oldest Christmas tree in the USA. The over 90 meter high Christmas tree is the third largest sequoia and is between 1,800 and 2,000 years old. Special Christmas celebrations are held there on the second Sunday in December each year, with the high school choir singing Christmas carols and the national park rangers laying a wreath. Redwood Mountain Grove with other mighty sequoias. The Panoramic Point east of the General Grant Grove offers views of High Sierra and San Joaquin Valley.
A trail leads through the numerous giant trees of the Giant Forest. The highlight in the truest sense of the word is the world’s largest sequoia, the General Sherman Tree, at 84 m in height and 31 m in circumference. Moro Rock is a granite monolith high above the San Joaquin Valley, stairs lead up to the summit. www.nps.gov/seki/
Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Parks and numerous other attractions.
with Hollywood and Beverly Hills as well as the suburbs Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. Downtown Los Angeles – a no-go area for many years – is experiencing a new high as a residential area. Der Spiegel reported on this on February 13, 2006 in the article “New wings for the city of angels”: www.spiegel.de/reise/fernweh/0,1518,399692,00.html. Tips for a 5-day stay in Los Angeles offers Fodor’s “5 Days in Los Angeles”: www.fodors.com/news/5-days-in-los-angeles-1578. Fodor’s recommends the best beaches around Los Angeles on their website www.fodors.com/news/an-insiders-guide-to-las-beaches_1-5442:
- Venice Beach (best people watching)
- Zuma Beach (pleasing ten different personalities)
- Santa Monica Beach (chatting anybody and everybody up)
Prejudices about Los Angeles:
- It’s always sunny
Winter is the rainy season, but there are also sunny sections.
- It’s hot
on the beaches The average temperature on the beaches is around 21 degrees Celsius, which can also be the case in July and August. However, there are usually a few weeks with heat waves up to 30 degrees in the summer months. In winter the temperatures are below 21 degrees.
- No one walks
Los Angeles is a motoring city. But Americans also walk on the beach and in the shopping centers, especially in Hollywood, Downtown, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Long Beach, etc. Of course there are also hiking trails around the city.
- LA residents work in the entertainment industry
Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the United States.
- The beaches are populated by blondes
70 percent of the population in Los Angeles County is non-white, with Hispanics making up the largest part of the population at 44%. Accordingly, Spanish-speaking families dominate beach life.
On November 3, 2006, the Griffith Observatory in the mountains of Los Angeles will reopen after renovation. Five new exhibition rooms and a learning center impart space knowledge. The view from Griffith Park over Los Angeles remains sensational, especially at sunset and when the lights go out in the city. www.griffithobs.org
Napa / Sonoma Wine Country
The most famous wine-growing region in the USA with top-quality wines and the opportunity to visit wineries. Fodor’s has a travel guide in English to the Napa Valley online: www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/california/napa-and-sonoma/.
For information about the city of Calistoga in the Napa Valley, visit about.com: gocalifornia.about.com/cs/napasonoma/a/calistoga.htm.
Santa Ynez Valley for wine lovers is a two hour drive north of Los Angeles. Under the title “In the Wild West with the winemakers”, the Stern reported on this area in December 2005: www.stern.de/reise/fernreisen/kalifornia-im-wilden-westen-bei-den-winzern-551007.html?nv=nl_hp_rt.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
More than 6,500 marine animals can be viewed up close. www.montereybayaquarium.org.
Getty Museums in Malibu and Los Angeles
After a $ 275 million renovation, the former villa of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in Malibu is open to the public again. The building is modeled on the Villa de Papiri from the 1st century and towers high above the Pacific. The highlight is the collections on the cultures of the Greeks, Romans and Etruscans. In addition to a collection of vessels from all cultures, the niche-like temple of Heracles with the statue of Hercules should be emphasized. On the second floor there are sculptures, jewelry and coin exhibits.
The property had been closed since 1997 when the Getty Center was near Los Angeles which shows collections of Western art (paintings and photos) from the Middle Ages to modern times. The collections of the Getty Center are so extensive that they are overwhelming for the normal day visitor.
The Getty museums are considered to be the richest museums on earth, given that their founder provided them with a foundation of more than $ 700 million. Admission to the exhibitions is free, but advance reservations are required for the Getty Villa in Malibu. Details of the exhibitions can be found at
getty.edu/visit. There was turbulence in the management of the Getty Trust. Die Welt reports on this in the article ” Checkmate “On February 13, 2006.