Hot, dry, gorgeous - this is the summary of a unique trip to Phoenix, Arizona. No wonder that "Valley of the Sun" was established as its tag line. With some 40 C during summer morning hours already, one better plans any stay to survive in this heat. Downtown not a major challenge ... every building, including public buildings are cooled down to chilly 18-20 C - what a waste of energy! And a somewhat artificial experience of temperature shocks. Still, compared to other US downtown areas, I couldn’t fall for Phoenix. “I’ve seen it before” I thought most of the time – or did I miss unique spots? Still downtown architecture has it all …
The moment one leaves the downtown area, Phoenix's dull face changes to a far more likeable appearance. Personally I liked Phoenix’s artful murals most. Here a nice combo of local artists and municipal control has created an interesting neighbourhood.
Another cultural highlight of Phoenix are its museums: Notable the Phoenix Art Museum, the Arizona Science Center, and the Heard Museum (with an remarkable Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera temporary exhibition on display during my visit).
I was lucky that in the AZ Art Museum a Japanese Samurai exhibtion was on display: life, culture, and pageantry of the revered and feared Japanese samurai warriors through remarkable objects from one of the best and largest collections in the world.
Desert Botanical Garden
Not only for tree huggers and plant freaks: The Desert Botanical Garden! A very well organized and maintained area, where one can easily spend a day exploring various trails - relentless sun included. Not much more needed to get the real desert feeling!
Finally some street photography in one of the cleanest US cities I ever came across ...