We decided to take a trip to Palo Alto and Stanford University as it was near San Mateo where we were staying and were interested in seeing how Palo Alto actually looked considering it is one of the most expensive cities in the USA and is one of the central points of Silicon Valley. Interestingly enough Palo Alto is home to more than 7000 businesses employing in excess of 98000 people.
The main downtown area (University Avenue) is lined with nice shops, bars, and restaurants, and has an elegant and refined feel about it – even the vast queue outside the Apple store was calm and orderly!!! We relaxed over a nice coffee and people watched hoping to spot any of the rich and famous Palo Alto residents.
We got back in our car and took the short drive to Stanford University where we parked up in the beautiful grounds of the University and we were immediately struck by the beauty of the gardens, grounds, and buildings. We were able to walk through some of the areas around the buildings, witness a wedding party exiting the university chapel, watch bridal parties in the gardens having photos taken, and admire some of the Rodin statues.
Stanford University was founded by railroad magnate, US Senator and former governor of California Leland Stanford and his wife and named in memory of their only child Leland Stanford Jr who died at the age of 15 of typhoid fever. Tuition was actually free until 1920 although the University did suffer financially after Stanfords death in 1893 and also with the damage caused by the 1906 earthquake. Today Stanford University is one of the top fundraising institutions in America.
Given the facts that the Stanford faculty and alumi have founded companies such as Google, Yahoo, Nike, Sun Microsystems, Paypal, Instagram and Hewlett Packard, it is the Alma Mater of over 29 living billionaires and 17 astronauts, has 59 Nobel Laureates affiliated to it, and has produced 18 Turing Award Laureates. You can understand why it is regarded as one of the most prestigious institutions in the world and it was a privilege to be able to walk through their grounds.