Western, US Travel Diary

Day 6—LAS > SJC 

Rundown:

  • 8:00am – Left the Bellagio for the airport
  • 9:50am – Boarded flight/ left for San Jose
  • 11:00am – Kevin picked us up from the airport
  • 11:30am – Arrived at Google for lunch with Kevin’s co-workers
  • 12:30pm – Toured all of Google
  • 3:00pm – Walked through the Municipal Rose Garden
  • 3:30pm – Drove to the Winchester mystery house (too expensive to go in)
  • 4:00pm – Went to Kevin’s to drop our stuff and see his place
  • 6:00pm – Went to downtown Mountain View for dinner
  • 6:30pm – Ate dinner at an Italian restaurant
  • 8:00pm – Went to a bar and had beer
  • 9:00pm – Went back to Kevin’s to figure out a plan for San Francisco, then sleep!

This morning we woke up around 7am to get ready and pack. Really rough after going all out on our last night in Vegas. Our flight was at 10:00am, so we hopped in a cab at 8am and headed to the airport.

The flight to San Jose was about an hour. When we landed, we headed to the tiny baggage claim to grab our massive bags, then Kevin picked us up shortly after that. Once we were in the car, it was on to Google!

Hey San Jose!

Not sure why, but in my head I was expecting Google to be in one giant building. It was actually in a bunch of small buildings spread out over a very large campus; like a college.

Entering le Google

We parked then walked over to one of their many cafeterias. Kevin explained that we weren’t allowed to take pictures in any of the buildings so I don’t have as many pictures as I would have liked to get, but I did get a few!

We ate lunch with a few of Kevin’s co-workers. They were all really nice! I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was sitting with a bunch of techy geniuses, but other than that it was fun. I had a fancy salad and Eric had a bunch of random things including sushi. All the food at Google is free for employees (and accompanied guests). They can choose from many different cafeterias and have {what seemed like} limitless options. Jealous yet? I was.

After lunch, Kevin walked us over to one of their coffee shops (also free). I got a caramel latte. Not only was the coffee free, but they even had biscotti and Ghirardelli chocolate for free where you picked up your order. I tried to set up camp, but I started to get judgey looks from a quiet, coffee-sipping nerd army and decided I should stay with my party.

My Googley free caramel latte

We took our coffee over to another building where Kevin told me they had desserts. They, in fact, had desserts. Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t work here; I’d be a whale. Snickerdoodle cookies, Biscoff cookies (the Delta ones), pistachio shortbread, all the candy you could ever want, ice cream, and the list goes on. They also have break stations everywhere with fridges full of any type of beverage your chubby heart could desire and, of course, more snacks. Eric had a Mexican Coke in a glass bottle. Not just a Coke, but a Mexican Coke… IN A GLASS BOTTLE.

I liked this Googley bison in the dessert building (it wasn’t officially called the dessert building, but that’s what it was to me)

 

This is starting to sound like we visited Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory instead of Google.

After we left the desserts, we hopped on some Google bikes to get back to Kevin’s car. Technically we weren’t allowed on them (liability or something stupid like that), but we did it anyway!

Next, Kevin drove us to the peasant tourist area of Google. I could feel the anger in my iPhone at our traitorous antics. Especially when we took this picture with the Android WITH said iPhone. Oh the betrayal!!

Our last stop was to another building where we were told there was something really cool to be seen. We walked in and there was yet another break room with snacks, but next to that were these 5 or 6 rectangular screens side-by-side each about 4-5 ft tall in a u-shape. Kevin turned it on and we saw Earth sprawled across all the screens. It was Google Earth! A GIANT Google Earth! I seriously could have played with this for hours. We were looking up different places around the world which anyone could do, but not laid across 6 giant screens! That was awesome.

Before we left that building, we grabbed some snacks to go. This time I gathered dark chocolate covered espresso beans, gummy worms, and a bottle of fruit water. If it sounds like I was a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, you’d be correct and that’s exactly what I looked like. Eric and Kevin got some spicy snack mix. Can we make a law that requires all companies to give their employees tasty snacks? Can someone get on that? Thanks.

Speaking of squirrels, California has black squirrels! The first one I saw was at Google and I was like, “OOOHHH KITTY” and Kevin goes, “Lauryn NO. That is a squirrel!” It honestly looked like a small cat. So, Google doesn’t have it all it seems.

After gorging ourselves with Google food, we asked Kevin what else there was in San Jose worth seeing. He had no idea, THANKS KEVIN. So we consulted my trusty TripAdvisor for some ideas. The number one thing to do in San Jose is to visit the Municipal Rose Garden. So that’s where we started. Basically, it’s a public park with a zillion roses. I’m sure it would be better if it were sunny and the roses were in full bloom. Not saying it wasn’t pretty, but I think we spent 15 minutes there and 7 of those minutes were Kevin and Eric going to find a bathroom. If you are a flower enthusiast, this is your place (looking at you, MOM).

Next on the TripAdvisor list were 2 museums; meh. One was Egyptian and the other was all about technology. If you didn’t guess it, we skipped those.

4th down was the Winchester Mystery House! Oh man, of all my years watching the Travel Channel during Halloween, I had always wanted to see this in person. When we arrived, I was so disappointed. $40 per person for a tour?! OF A HOUSE?! It was more expensive than the Hoover Dam! Needless to say, that was a little out of our “random tour” budget, so we settled for a few pictures outside and were on our way.

Don’t know about the Winchester Mystery House? Educate yourself then go watch a YouTube video on it. You’ll be fascinated.

After our thrilling adventure through San Jose, we decided it was time to drop our bags at Kevin’s place. We had already met one of his roommates, Ben, since we had lunch with him; super nice guy!

Kevin lives in a townhome with 2 other people in Mountain View, CA. It’s located steps from VTA (their {very efficient} transit system). We hung out for a little bit then decided to go to downtown Mountain View for dinner.

Originally, we were going to go to a hummus place because it’s one of the only places Kevin has eaten at, but at the last minute we decided Kevin needed to broaden his neighborhood horizons. We settled on a nice little Italian place called Doppio Zero. Food was good, service was not. We ordered wine and the glasses she brought us were wet and smelled like bleach. So unappetizing. We did get new wine glasses, but after our food came we didn’t see her until the check appeared. Maybe my standards were raised significantly by the fancy places we went to in Vegas.

Appetizers: Meatballs and some kind of fried potato ball with gruyere cheese
White pizza and a sausage pizza with mushrooms
Our California wine

After dinner, we went to a bar and each got flights of beer. I got the light flight and I think both Kevin and Eric got the dark flights. Most were local beers which was cool to try.

We wrapped up the evening around 10pm. Lyft had brought us downtown, but Eric really wanted to take VTA home. So Kevin bought us tickets and we hopped on the train. I think it was a 3 minute train ride. The cool thing was, the stop we got off at was literally at their neighborhood. We got off the train, went through a little gate, and we were back! Very cool. I wish we had something like that in Atlanta (*COUGH* MARTA *COUGH*).

We planned to get up pretty early the next day to drive to San Francisco, so it was straight to bed for us when we got back.

À la prochaine!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Let's talk travel! Add to the conversation or tell me hello here...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.