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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Lisbon fromThe Other Side

Yesterday we took the second of two tours with Lisbon Spirit a small walking tour company run by Nuno who studied urban design and his partner Joana, an architect. As we've spent a lot of time in Lisbon itself we opted for their "Lisbon from the Other Side" tour which took us across the bay to see the city from another perspective. It was a grey day and we kept hoping the clouds would clear and thankfully they did. Like most places Lisbon looks like a different city in the sunshine. 

There is so much here that reminds us of San Francisco, the views, the hills, the trams, the bay, the bridge, clearly modeled on the Golden Gate. Crossing the bay reminds one of San Francisco too because this is the working class side of the bay, the old ship building center now down at heel with the economic changes that have come with modernization and integration into the European Economic Community. Minus the EEC it sounds strangely familiar for those who know Oakland and it's second city status.
Of course you can't help but be reminded of Rio when you visit the Christo Rei statue towering across from the city. Built in a direct response to the image of Christ in Rio this version has less impact because it feels referential and doesn't have the same power, size or elegance of design. However, the views from the city are fabulous and it was well worth the visit.

In addition to a lager number of post-war apartment buildings there are some older tranquil and very attractive part of the town. Which give you an idea of how the area looked before the urban expansion. 

The tour takes you on a very nice loop, across the bay by ferry, up to the Christo Rei by bus and then a walk down to a viewing point where there is a cafe and a lift which takes you back down to the waterfront. Here Joana was showing D, some of the changes between the historic city and they modern one. From across the bay it's easier to see things like the line of the original city walls and the layout of the early fort city.

We returning home by ferry after a lovely day out. I took the photo above when we arrived but by the end of the tour it was glorious. D. headed out to get pizza at Casanova which Joanna recommended and he said was excellent. I passed on the jaunt across town in search of pizza and spent a lazy afternoon in the January sunshine admiring the view on the terrace at the Noobai cafe which I recommend for a casual bite in glorious surroundings.