We're big fans of San Fran

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Oct 27, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Finally made it to the West Coast and got to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, through a haze of fog which sits over San Francisco and rolls down to the ocean. It's definitely a nice change from the desert and great to be by the sea again, however it is a lot cooler as a result. We stayed in nearby Oakland, apparently in the Chinatown district. This would really pay off for us on our second night when we ordered the most delicious Chinese food we've ever had. Hand-made Pork & Leek dumplings and hand-rolled chow mein noodles mmmmmmmmmmmm! And put in those cute square cardboard boxes you see on the tv! Living the dream!

Anyway, on our first day we took the BART subway into downtown SF to do a little exploring. We arrived at the bay area by Pier 1 where the famous "Port of San Francisco" building is. Inside now they have a great food market where the shops are highly specialised (Olive Oil Shop, Salty Pork Snacks Shop). After wandering around this, we took the historic railway down to Pier 33 where the tour boats leave for cruising round the bay and visiting Alcatraz. Stanzi had the difficult job of paying for our tickets whilst the train was in motion and then ended up getting a whack in the face from me when the train started again unexpectedly lol. Poor Stanzi!

We did a good hour long tour around the bay with was real nice and allowed us to see the whole of the downtown area, Alcatraz, and of course the Golden Gate Bridge. It's impressive to say the least... see pictures below.

From there we walked along the (breezy) coast to Pier 39 which is a tourist spot with wierd shops and great restaurants. It also had a merry-go-round which made Stanzi's day, some good street theatre like Covent Garden, and some resident wild Sea Lions which stay in the harbour throughout the year. We decided to have a nice treat for dinner here instead of the usual fast food we've been having so we went into a surf-themed place called Wipeout. The food was great and I had some delicious fish and chips... even better than Pete's Fish Factory back home haha. American-sized portions too! Delish to the mish mate.

On day two we discovered that we do know the way to San Jose as we travelled down there to visit the Winchester Mystery House. Built by Sarah Winchester who had inherited $20million and apperently had nothing better to do with it. She believed, after talking to the spirits, that she was going to die living in a house that had never been finished, and as a result continued adding construction to the house all year round... for years. So now the house has 160 rooms and some very interesting features - the door to nowhere which opens on the second floor into the garden (2 floors down of course), the staircase into the ceiling, the cupboards with about 1 inch of storage space, the door which opens to reveal a concrete wall, and the room with 1 entrance and 3 exits (figure that one out if you can). http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

Then we went back to the hotel room to plan out the next 2 weeks of... camping :-( Oh, and to eat a load of chinese food of course :-D
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