I had always known that when I finally made it to California, I would go to Los Angeles (LA) and San Francisco (SF). Sacramento wasn’t part of the original itinerary as I actually didn’t even know Sacramento. Did you know that Sacramento was California’s capital? I didn’t, until 2 of my friends told me that they actually live in Sacramento, the state’s capital.
We had not decided whether we would drive, or fly, or take the train from LA to SF. I used to think that flying within the United States would be pretty reasonable, like in Europe with Ryan Air or Easy Jet.
Actually, flying with the small airlines in Europe is not advisable for people who are not capable of traveling light. The baggage allowance is limited and the hand carry could mean one piece, including a woman’s handbag.
Flying was not going to be the best option for 4 adults and 1 toddler so I checked out the bus/train. Apart from lack of convenience and freedom to go wherever whenever, taking the train was not as affordable as I thought it would be. The car rental option was the best for us and here are the reasons:
- Convenience and freedom of movement – we were not reliant on anyone (or anything) anywhere at any time
- Not only do I like to haul everything with me to make sure I have everything I might need during the trip, my mother likes to shop so we would definitely be carrying more coming back than going there
- The same shopaholic mother is a senior citizen and has needs
- We’re traveling with a toddler who, like a senior citizen, has needs
- There are 2 people in the group with odd sleeping pattern (also reads: sleep very late, as in early hours of the morning, and wake up around lunch time, if at all)
- We always have family and friends to visit so why not take trips that fit them in the our plans
- We were going to hire a car to drive to Las Vegas anyway and the weekly rate is much lower than the daily rate
So, we got a Chevrolet Equinox from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Alhambra, which is not at all far from Pasadena. I had first booked via Expedia but it didn’t quite work out and fortunately, Expedia refunded my money. Both Expedia and Enterprise were extremely helpful and accommodating so despite the hiccup with the confusion with the Enterprise booking via Expedia, we sorted everything and we were on our way an hour or so later.
- We didn’t need an international driver’s license to rent a car
- What we paid for daily insurance basically doubled the rental rate; insurance is a MUST!
The drive from Pasadena to Sacramento was good, I suppose. We did stop more than planned and we did veer off course from one of the stops but we found our way back on to the I-5 North. Other than that, even with the stop in Stockton to say hello to my father’s cousin, it was an effortless drive.
I must say that I am quite charmed because I have a friend who’s most gracious and kindhearted. We went to high school (for 1 year) together but we’re special because we share the same surname even if we’re not relatives. We’re better than relatives. She organized our accommodation at Vizcaya, which is a truly lovely bed and breakfast in midtown Sacramento.
We did have a bit of a hassle locating Vizcaya. We couldn’t see the number on the building and I don’t remember the B&B name being conspicuous. We should have checked Vizcaya’s website as we wouldn’t have missed it.
One thing I love about California, based on what I saw in Pasadena and Sacramento, is not worrying too much about safety and security. Houses don’t even need to be enclosed in high walls. I saw no electric fencing. People don’t live like prisoners in their own homes as we do in Johannesburg.
Without wasting any time, I met up with my two friends for dinner on our first night in the city. My better-than-a-relative friend took us for a lovely dinner at Tower Cafe. I liked the restaurant so much that we went back for lunch the next day.
Dinner with friends
Back at Tower Cafe for lunch with family
We were in Sacramento for just one day so we only managed to go to a museum and Old Sacramento. It was a great day although a little rushed.
OLD SACRAMENTO and the tourists 🙂
I would not mind going back to Sacramento, for sure. I might even want to live there… if Pasadena isn’t kind to me. 🙂
It was awesome to see old friends whom I had not seen for more than 20 years. This is what traveling does; it doesn’t only introduce us to new places and experiences but it reconnects us to old friends, too. It’s fantastic!