San Francisco is long gone and feels like a lifetime ago yet it has only been 48 hours since we left the Bay Area. On Sunday morning, we packed our bags, had one last breakfast and said goodbye to an amazing AirBnB apartment. Since we have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge by tandem bike two days before, we decided to drive up to Napa through Berkley and the harbor bridge. A short stop was made directly in Berkley to check out the campus of the University of California. Just three days prior to that day, we had the chance to take a look (and actually get a tour) of Stanford. It was interesting to compare these two well-known universities.
The drive from Berkley to Napa took only an hour and soon we would find ourselves in California’s famous wine region. To be honest, when thinking of Napa Valley, I imagined something completely different. The valley was barely a valley with its vast open, flat landscape – you would only occasionally find hill slopes covered by vineyards. The next shock was the whole wine tasting experience itself. Many wineries are aligned on the main road through Napa Valley, but mind you these wineries are at a scale you simply will not find in Austria (and Europe).
Once gift shops not only sell wine but also T-shirts, hats and wine glasses with the family’s name printed on them, you know that a new level in marketability has been reached. Restroom facilities are dimensioned in a way to accommodate hundreds of guests per day. Another thing that surprised me were the prices. We only had the chance to visit three wineries since most of them close at 5pm, however none of them had prices of less than 20$ per bottle. The cheapest usually started at 22-25$ with an average of around 50$. Definitely not a destination for a bunch of students to stay for more than one night. To balance our individual budgets, we slept at a motel and rented a room for four people. There are eight of us. Let's just say the night was cosy.
Today was spent mostly in our cars. We drove up to Klamath Falls in Oregon where we arrived at 8pm. A short stop was held in Redding to take a look at a pedestrian bridge by Santiago Calatrava. Tomorrow we’ll go for a hike at Crater Lake reaching an altitude of 2900m. Since the temperature here in Klamath Falls is 3 degrees, we expect pretty frosty conditions up in the national park.