True Tales Of San Francisco

Trip Start Apr 16, 2010
Trip End Jul 24, 2010

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Where I stayed
Comfort Inn

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Well would you believe it? This is our 23rd blog and we've technically less than a week until we're back on British shores.

Stef's birthday fell on the 12th and my my, didn't we spoil him! He was awoken to the sound of a fully laden tray of breakfast/presents being placed next to him - the piece de resistance being a candle burning in the middle of his bowl of Cheerios... We spent the day at the beach, having another surfing session (improvements were severely limited) and topping up our sunburn. Special mention goes to the rear of Tim's thighs. As you can see, quite something. After a hearty dinner back at the Larkins' house, the whole party assembled in fancy dress (chosen from their comprehensive dressing up library) and left for an evening's bowling. We turned every head in the alley as we entered and were soon throwing some outrageous moves on Dance Dance Revolution (arcade game) in full costume.

On Tuesday we had a wander around Ollie's old neighbourhood (noticing the impressive Ferrari sitting in his old garage!) and had a quick walk to Back Bay before returning to pack for San Fran! We finished of the evening with some lovely Tacos from TexMex. Diamond.

We left for San Fran the next morning in the Larkins' 4Runner (car) which they kindly loaned us for the trip. We were delighted to be rejoined by Jon (yes, the same Jon that took the reins in China with us). With the car packed and the sun beating down, the time had finally come for a road trip to San Francisco! The barely suppressed excitement we felt when setting off caused us to overlook a vital element of driving long distances - the petrol gauge. A quick glance down revealed that we were running on empty, and another glance revealed that our route through barren mountains contained little or no gas stations. Somehow, the petrol gauge now ran below empty. By this point, panic had settled well and truly amongst our midst. All we could do was keep on driving, turning off the AC and pray the wheels would keep turning. Finally, the Chevron symbol appeared along the horizon. We had done it! We hastily filled up the tank, feeling young and reckless once again. It was great fun. Back on the road, and we enjoyed 6 hours of monotony, driving through barren Californian countryside and farmland.

Eventually we arrived in San Fran and checked into our Comfort Inn for the next 3 nights. It was a rather cosy affair, with two tiny double beds and someone on the floor, but it was cheaper and included a free continental breakfast. That evening we hopped over to Valencia Pizza Pasta and enjoyed 18 inches of breath-taking pizza. Feeling on top of the world, we were in the mood for a groovy bar! This was more difficult to manage as we were 2 years below the entry age. All we wanted was a game of pool, so we snuck into a nearby venue. Needless to say, the 10 minutes we had were short lived before a giant bouncer kindly told us to leave. As he explained, we needed to be 21; we played the 'ignorant British' card, but this did not get us very far. We all decided to find an over-18's venue for tomorrow night. It's a shame that we can travel the world, but can't go into a bar in America. Oh well, plenty more to do in America!

On thursday we gorged ourselves on the 'all-you-can-eat' breakfast, cramming in muffins and waffles galore! A truly calorific start to the day. Our first stop was to be the Golden Gate Bridge, but on arrival the bridge was shrouded in a cloud of mist, so we thought it best to return when we could actually see the Bridge! We headed to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 where we had a nose around the shops and stopped at the end of the Pier to take in the views of Alcatraz and the famous Sea Lions. Next stop was the Ghirardelli Square where we visited the chocolate shop, enjoying brownies and free chocolate samples. These treats were not enough to ward off our hunger, so it was time for lunch. We headed back to Pier 39 to grab some famous Clam Chowder in a gorgeous bread bowl. En route we were pounced upon by a Silver Giant - one of the many performers along the Wharf. He requested a photo and then, inevitably, a tip. We promptly made an exit, which was greeted with just a little bit of disgust. We only had eyes for lunch, and were soon tucking into the delicious Clam Chowder. It was in a bread bowl - can you believe it?! You probably can't, so we provided a picture for you.

Union Square was our next stop, with our aim to catch the Powell and Hyde Tram for a true San Francisco experience. It turned out to be so, and the Tram trailed us around the steep streets and back to the Wharf. En route however, we took a quick stop as our tram got stuck on an intersection, requiring a tow truck to push us back on track. After getting a taxi back to Union Square, we ate at a Thai restaurant, upon recommendation of our veteran taxi driver, with 34 years of driving experience under his belt. It turned out to be a great recommendation - great job, mate. Shame about Dan losing his t-shirt though. It was probably because he was distracted by the awesome food; maybe the only bad thing about the restaurant. It was now time to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. The mist had cleared and the views were phenomenal!

That evening, we found our over-18's venue so we could experience some of San Fran's famed night life. We headed to 330 Ritch Street to watch 'Imagine Dragon' and 'Hey Champ' perform. We still felt like kids as all the over-21's had an official wrist band, but we still had fun, preferring 'Imagine Dragon' - a cool band with a great vibe. It was also nice to get out of our Hotel room for the night.

Friday came, and another filling breakfast ensued. First stop was the Museum Of Modern Art, (MOMA) and spent 3 hours mulling over the meanings of countless, abstract pieces. We felt very cultured. Seriously, we did. Tim even bought some art, pretentious git! We look at it, and, quoting Stef, "we don't know WHAT it is!". Next stop, more food. And this time, Buca Di Beppo. Solid Italian food. For all those culinary wizards out there - Putting Pesto on a pizza is a definite no-no. Following on our rapid tour, we headed to Haight Ashbury District to check out cool music stores, including Ameoba Records, which had every record you could ever dream of. After that, we drove through Castro Street before heading to Twin Peaks, hoping to get a panoramic view of the city. Sadly we were hit once again by San Fran's micro climate and howling winds and thick fog gave us a glorious view of...nothing! Cheers! To boost morale, we got some frozen yogurt. Much better. It was then back to Pier 39 for a great dinner to round off our time in this wonderful city.

It has been quite the experience! The city is so lively and full of all sorts of characters. It's crazy how many homeless people there were walking the streets. We managed to find a lot of qwerky shops and the venue we saw the band at was a pretty funky joint!

DOTS Verdict = Great city. Thumbs up.

We're back to Newport after a long day's driving and are shortly off to our new residence in Anaheim, to spend our last week here. With a heavy heart we leave the Larkins family.

DOTS Verdict = They're awesome! Thumbs up.

But we're now all hugely excited about our last week of our trip.

Time to sleep. Enjoy the plethora of photos. Big love y'all!



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Franks on

Ah looks amazing you guys! So jealous of your california times brings back memories. Enjoy your last week, can't wait to hear all the extra stories and see more phots when you get back! xxxx

Simon and Julia on

Fantastic photos, what a gas! San Fran looks wonderful and the pics brought back a few memories. Was "Bushman" in evidence down at Pier 39, I wonder?
Don't worry you'll love Guidford, great cultural centre , stunning architecture, fabulous weather, a buzzing and exciting city in the heart of some of England's most glorious countryside ( well, anyway, it's home) - can't wait to see you all.
We're finishing our hols in France today back to work tomorrow, so know a bit about that end of an adventure feeling , but for you after nearly four months and such a huge variety of amazing experiences, it must seem very strange to be contemplating "normality"!!
Enjoy your last week!!

Loads of love

Si and Jules xx

The Messengers on

Aah...happy times,happy memories......the Larkins kindness knows no bounds, loan of Kate's car as well! Looks like you're a hit with Lily, Stef! As for those crazy costumes, you guys certainly know how to make an entrance.
Loved all the photos of San Fran, such a beautiful city.
Fancy a Ferrari residing in "our" garage! Just a little upmarket from our VW cabriolet :)
Don't wish to publicise it but Alan's 50 today so just off to celebrate...
Have a wonderful week, we can't wait to see you all

Loads of love

Sue on

Wow! Looks great. More kindness from the Larkins.
Guildford may not be San Fran but we ARE sitting at Guilfest in the sun! Just rocked out to Level 42 and awaiting Status Quo. I know that will make at least one of you jealous!!!!! Xxx

nick, ewa and christian on

nice one, make the most of the next few days and when we meet on saturday can you pretend that you are happy to be back !!

Nick ,Ewa and Christian
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ( beat that for kisses Ursula)

Eric and Pat on

Come back - all is forgiven!!
Can't wait to see you after your life changing experience.
Safe journey on your last leg home.
As ever
Poppa and Nony

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