5 December 2016

A road trip through the US of A - part IX: Niagara Falls, NY - Des Moines, IA

Just above the Niagara Falls
The legendary Niagara Falls. Why are they legendary? Because the Americans know how to do marketing. Properly. Too much! When we arrived there we expected the Niagara Falls to be bigger than we could ever imagine. We expected to be blown away. When we arrived from the Canadian side, we looked at the American part - and had to smile. The Canadians mention the Niagara Falls, maybe, sometimes. And when you see their part, well, we actually were impressed. But the American part is a waterfall, not that impressive. But we had the impression it would be super big and important as it is in every movie and advertized a lot.

5 September 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part VIII: Canada

Liquid Canadian gold
We know Canada is not just another part of the United States. But as 11 out of 12 weeks of our North America road trip were in US territory, we decided to include our quick trip across the border under the same theme.

We hadn't crossed any land borders recently (the last one was between Laos and Vietnam) but everything went smoothly. Only one question at the border caught us a bit off-guard: where do you live currently? In order to keep things simple, we said Switzerland. Getting to Montreal from the border was a piece of cake.

29 June 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part VII: New England

Bernie Sanders
After two weeks in big cities, it was time for us to get out and enjoy nature again. The morning before we wanted to leave Boston, Senator Bernie Sanders launched his campaign for the US presidency in his home city: Burlington, Vermont. Curious about his campaign trail, I went online and checked out his next campaign rallies. And we were lucky! There would be two events right along our route north the day we planned to move anyway.

One was a campaign rally in a rural area, at a supporters private home and the other one at a local church in Portsmouth, NH. We quickly RSVPd for both of them, packed our bags and drove north. On the way, we got hungry and stopped at a local dinner, where we ate a delicious lobster brisket. Thanks to our many friends, we knew that New England was the best part of the US for fresh lobster.

11 May 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part VI: Boston and the Ivy League

Yale university - on the way to Boston
Harvard, MIT, and all the other important universities. Boston seemed to consist mainly of universities. We were incredibly lucky to stay with Marcelo, the brother of our friend Marcela (whom we stayed with in Georgia). He invited us to come and see what he and his wonderful family lived like. They were fantastic hosts and shared everything with us. We highly appreciated their enormous hospitality! One of the highlights was that we could also visit the MIT with Marcelo. He is about to finish his PostDoc degree there and took us on a tour through the labs, to meet his super friendly colleagues and to see the entire campus. That was very impressive!

30 March 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part V: New York City, NY

When we realized, that we were about to enter New York City by car I became a bit emotional. No clue why, but somehow I never dared dreaming about that. I don't even know why this should be a big deal for me. I have visited that place twice already. The first time with my dearest Mimi - we had 24 hours in this spectacular place - the second time I went there by myself. Now it was the third time. Well, 'murica is magic and weird and has strange influences on people, obviously I am no exception at all.

We entered the city from the west, through New Jersey and entered Manhattan by the George Washington Bridge, as our goal was Uptown Manhattan. We planned to stay with our former flat mate Eduardo, who lives next to Colombia University. You wouldn't believe it, but we immediately found a free parking spot, where we could leave our car for the whole week, for no money, right in front of Edu's house. All we had to do was move it when they planned to clean the street, twice that week. We were soooo lucky!

8 March 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part IV: Washington, DC

White house selfie
When we checked who of our couchsurfing friends we could visit in the USA we were surprised that our friend from Ethiopia, whose couch we surfed in Addis Abeba already, moved to Washington D.C. recently. The capital of the United States, so kind of the capital of the world, right? We watched House of Cards before we went there, and we read stories and we visited important places and we listened to the stories people told about this place. In a nutshell, expectations were extremely high!

7 February 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part III: Valdosta, GA - Washington, DC

In the swamps around Valdosta
After rushing from the west coast to the south-east, we were very happy to stay for a bit in the same location. I hosted Marcela and BJ back in 2010 in Bern and I was looking forward to see them again. Much had changed since then, as they were now the proud parents of two adorable girls. But they were still as welcoming as I remembered.

We spent quite a few days in Valdosta, hanging out with BJ and Marcela, visiting their workplaces, enjoying great food together, playing with the kids, helping to fix the fridge, going walking in a swamp and in general having a great time. We even got to celebrate one of the girls' birthday! When Marcela heard that we would probably go to Boston later on, she immediately called her brother who invited us to stay with him and his family. It's great to have such friends and we're already looking forward to host Marcela, BJ and the girls again in Switzerland.

11 January 2016

A road trip through the US of A - Part II: Austin, TX - Valdosta, GA

Green Austin, TX
The camper van we rented was great and indeed felt like home after a while. But the perspective of sleeping in a real bed was still super exciting. We planned on staying with Miriam, a former couch surfer of mine. She lives pretty close to the city center of Austin -  with her boyfriend and a puppy. It really felt like home, no, like being a very welcome guest. We had a fantastic time with our hosts, who showed us around. There are soooo many hipsters in Austin, sooooo many green and sustainable projects, and soooooo many vegan restaurants. We couldn't really believe it when people told us before. But when we were there, it was a lot greener than we could imagine, in every sense of the word.