I believe that there are just as many opinions about the United States of America as there are people on this planet. And no doubt is the mighty nation in the “Wild West” almost always omnipresent. The US is loud, in many ways dominant and unfortunately also slightly mistrustful to strangers. A somewhat difficult combination, not exactly the perfect foundation for friendships across borders. Already by now, after 5 lines, we are probably showing up on the NSA observation list! :-)
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US West Coast
After our time in San Francisco we drove inland. And further up into the mountains. We went to Yosemite National Park. The entire park is a little more than 3080 square kilometers, but most guests, including us, only see a small fraction of that. They see the giant Sequoia trees and Yosemite Valley. Our guide at the local tourist office told us that if we only had one day to see the highlights, these two points were the must do’s.
We have a visitor from Denmark at the moment. My mother has flown to the US and thus “threeonthego” has turned into “fouronthego” for a few weeks. She arrived shortly before Christmas, and will travel with us until early January. We have already had many great experiences together with her, and we still have some to come, before she heads back home. All three of us are excited that she wants to come all the way over to spend some time with us. Christmas just got a little more cozy and warm. Needless to say Anton is over the moon to have his grandmother on tour and he could not really understand that she was actually here, when we picked her up at the airport hotel where she spent her first night after the long flight over.
Apart from a very short trip back home in order to attend a family funeral, it has been a while since I was in Denmark. My home country. Like many other danes living or traveling abroad over a longer period of time have probably experienced, I too have come to think of certain, very particular things that I miss from home. Things that are quite unique for Denmark. And then there are other things that I certainly do not miss at all. At least that is how I feel!
Even though the US has a total of 317 million inhabitants, and the larger metropoles can be rather crowded and overrun, the country is actually not that densely populated. Because the landmass is ENORMOUS! And there are many long stretches along the highways and vast areas of the country where you will find only a small number of people, if any at all. The wild nature here is stunning! We come almost directly from New Zealand, and I would like to think that we have high standards when judging beautiful nature. That we are hard to impress! But America can certainly impress in terms of beautiful nature! And this on a large scale!
California is hard to describe in just a few words. There are so many words that come to mind! On a few occasions I have had flight stopovers in San Francisco, but that is all I personally know of the mighty state on the US west coast, which by the way is the most populated US state with it’s 38 million people living here. Everything I know, I know from the medias. This is the center for film production, superficial human interaction and extravaganza on a large scale. We like to indulge ourselves in just all these things, back home in Denmark, on our couches in front of our TV´s
After a total of more than two weeks by Daniela in Tumwater, Olympia, it was time for us to move on, and to say goodbye. This time for real. We have absolutely enjoyed our time with her and her family, but all good things must come to an end. We think it is an incredible gesture when people open up their home to us. A show of trust! And even though Daniela and her family live in a big house, you get to know each other quite well over the course of a few weeks. Back home in Europe we do not have the same space, but we certainly hope that we will be able to repay this gesture somehow, when we meet next summer in Germany!
The state of Washington has a reputation for being a rather “liberal” state, in American terms. There are many “alternative” groups of people here. But actually, the state is rather divided into two half's: On one side of The Cascades - the mountain range dividing Washington State - people are mostly liberal. On the other side of the range there is a higher concentration of rightwing voters than elsewhere. It was quite clear during the last mid-term election a few weeks ago. On the TV screens it was all blue on one side (Democratic) and all red (Republican) on the other side. In my native Denmark the party colours are vice versa... It takes some getting used to! :-)