San Francisco

Trip Start Apr 15, 2009
Trip End Jul 10, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, May 1, 2009

Hi all!

We flew from Las Vegas to San Francisco on Friday 24th April (yes, I know I am behind a bit at the moment - days are passing by very quickly!!).

When we arrived it was pretty chilly compared to Vegas - difference of about 10 degrees! We took an airport shuttle into the city to our little hotel, where we had a very quaint and cosy room. Being late afternoon, there wasn't a lot of time to have a look around, so we went over the road to the massive Westfield shopping centre - I'm talking 7 floors of 2 major department stores (Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom), hundreds of other stores, and the best food court and gourmet food market you've ever seen! We had a look around there, then went back to the hotel, where we had some dinner at the restaurant downstairs (best wild mushroom ravioli I have ever tasted!). We retired to our room after a big day, knowing that we had another one ahead of us.

Saturday we walked up the road to Union Square - shops shops and still more shops! Macy's, Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton, Prada...oh the list goes on! Pity the credit card wasn't up to the job. Anyway, we jumped on the hop on-hop off sight-seeing bus, and took the Downtown loop. Fisherman's Wharf, the piers, Chinatown, Nob Hill (where all the rich people live) were all on the list. We had spent quite a bit on dinner on Friday night - the dollar is quite deceiving, you think that the meals are decently priced, then you convert it back to Aussie $$ - and realise you have just paid $18 for a drink! By the way, Americans obviously don't drink Midori and pineapple juice - I always get asked to repeat my order, and then get a strange look! They do make them well though....strong!! So anyway, we ended up going to the amazing food court again in Westfield for dinner (and back again for the next 2 nights!!). Best Thai curry EVER!

On Sunday we had a sleep in, then jumped on the bus to visit the Golden Gate bridge! Perfect day - no fog at all, and we could see the entire bridge!! The tour was fantastic - we drove over the bridge, and stopped for a photo opportunity on the other side. Then it was back in the bus, and we toured around the back of the city, where we saw plenty of old war buildings (still in use today as a university), and even a eucalyptus forest (donated by our beautiful country to the city of San Francisco!). The tour finshed at Fisherman's Wharf, so we had a proper look around there. It really is a skanky place - I suppose just a typical harbour - seagulls and poop everywhere, weird characters and the homeless camped on every corner. I think the recession must have really hit hard on San Francisco - we lost count of the homeless people, they were just everywhere. Sad really, but a little scary as well. We found Fisherman's Wharf was nothing really to write home about - basically San Francisco's version of Fremantle!

We caught the ferry on Monday over to Alcatraz Island. We followed a free audio tour around the prison, narrated by some of the ex-prisoners. Such a cold and harsh place - no wonder most of them went a little crazy!! Back on the mainland, we caught one of the old trams back up to Market St, where we did a little shopping to fill in the rest of the afternoon. Monday night we packed up our things, ready for an early start the next day - 7.45am flight to New York City.

I'm not sure if we had high expectations of San Francisco from everyone who had visited it before us, but we were a little disappointed with the place - we will give them credit for their food though :). It doesn't matter so much, as the next place will make up for it - hello NYC!
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