We walk amongst the Giants (fans).
Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
16Trip End Jul 22, 2011
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Thanks for tuning in to another big fat blog (we have both stacked on a few pounds). This entry is powered by Coors Light...
Day 9 - 14 June 2011:
This morning we had to leave Aunty Barb's. We said our farewells and thank yous (how do you like that grammar Pappy Jim?) and hit the road about 11 but not before a false start. We left without the camera... duh. By the time we realised our mistake and had turned the car around, Aunty Barb was hunting us down like the Terminator. Thanks to Barb for ensuring we could take more bloggy photos!
"Lucky the flower in my hair slowed us down." - Shelly Nowland
The drive up to San Francisco took us about an hour. The scenery on the drive was really nice but the traffic in the heart of San Fran was a bit stressful to negotiate. We dropped our bags off at our hotel - The Hotel Triton, then raced over to drop the hire car back since we were running late.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and made our way back to the hotel. The concierge had informed us of a tour package that we were keen to get amongst. The package included four double decker bus tours with guide to different parts of the city. The different loops available were:
- the Downtown loop;
- the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausolito loop;
- the Golden Gate Park loop; and
- a night tour.
So instead of the night tour we headed to Fino, an Italian restaurant recommended by our hotel's bell man
Good feed, good night :)
Day 10 - 15 June 2011:
We got up really early to make the most of the day. Our first activity would be the downtown loop that took us around the city and stopped at Fisherman's wharf. Along the way we saw Union Square, the Financial District, the Hotel California, Chinatown, City Hall, Pier 39 and Lombard Street just to name a few.
At Fisherman's Wharf we were able to change buses and head off on the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausolito loop. The Golden Gate Bridge is actually the smaller of the two bridges in San Fran but is the most famous as it is the "Gateway to the West". The other bridge is the Bay Bridge which is actually one of the longest spans in the world. We got a really good view of this one too.
We stopped in Sausolito for lunch. Sausolito is a cool little town full of arty types. We had lunch and wandered around the shops. Shelly bought a cool mood ring. Since then it has been stuck on hungry, grumpy and sneezy..
"Ahhh choo. Bring me some icecream Ross, you dork." - Shelly Nowland.
After catching the bus home, we had dinner in Chinatown which was another hit. Two outta two for dinner in San Fran so far.
Day 11 - 16 June 2011:
This morning we decided to take another one of our pre-purchased tours. Today's tour would be of the Golden Gate Park. The whole park was built on horse poo, literally. Back in the day a law was passed that forced everyone to dump all horse manure in the area that would become the Golden Gate Park.
On the way we saw the Painted Ladies, which are some examples of the colourful Victorian homes that are common for the area. These homes could be selected as a kit from the Seears Roebuck catalogue. One street known as Postcard Row actually appeared in the sitcom Full House.
"It's just lovely to see where Mary-Kate and Ashley grew up." - Shelly Nowland
Now in the Golden Gate Park, we saw such sights as the Conservatory of Flowers, the Botanical Gardens, the Portrait Museum and the California Academy of Sciences (which we would return to tomorrow).
The night's adventure was a trip to Alcatraz. The ferry ride out to the island was great. You really get a good view of the island and a feel for just how treacherous the waters are, not to mention the ice cold wind. There were many escape attempts but only three inmates (unaccounted for) could possibly have escaped.
Once we'd arrived we took an audio tour which was interesting and informative. This went for about 1 hour and we got to walk ourselves around all parts of the prison, including the library, dining hall and the Warden's headquarters - which had a great view of San Fran from the windows and outside area. We also sat in on a presentation about James "Whitey" Bulger, was still at large. He was recently caught after 15 years on the run. The bounty was $2 million...
We also got to see a demonstration of the locking of the cell doors which was pretty cool. All in all we thought Alcatraz was awesome and very glad we made the night trip out there
We headed back to the hotel after escaping Alcatraz and with a big next day planned we hit the hay.
Day 12 - 17 June 2011:
We jumped on the Golden Gate Park loop again this morning. It took us down to the California Academy of Sciences. This place had really cool interesting exhibits including a brand new planetarium (we watched an awesome presentation in here) and an indoor butterfly rain forest. One butterfly made friends with Shelly and perched itself on her new Chicago Cubs hat (such bad taste) and stayed there for about 20 minutes as we walked around. Shell thought this was pretty cool and we took some good pics.
Following this, we moseyed on over to the Japanese Tea Gardens. We were both really impressed by the design of these gardens. The yin and the yang were perfectly aligned. There's plenty of pictures to tell the story better than I can.
After the Tea Gardens we headed over to the Conservatory of Flowers. This was boring.
These activities had taken up the majority of the day so we headed home after. We were happy to find a complimentary bottle of wine from the Hotel which we put a dent in before heading out to dinner.
We'd had a recommendation to head to the Fillmore Marina to search for some live music, but this turned out to be a bum steer as the live music is actually found in the Fillmore District. We were able to eat dinner at a really funky sushi place (the name escapes me).
After dinner we made our way to Sheba, a funky little bar in the district with live music. It is here where we would meet our companions for the night. Harrison and Jude... We made an interesting group. Harrison was a legend but Jude was just weird (although this amused me so we kept him around). We had a pretty awesome time drinking, chatting and getting to know our new San Franciscan friends.
After discussing politics over a few libations, we all decided to head to the Starlight Lounge where we had been the other day. The Starlight is in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on the 21st floor...the dancefloor overlooks the city and beyond, a pretty spectacular view while you have a boogie
After we were done at the Starlight Lounge we ditched Jude finally. Harrison was awesome and walked us right the way back to the hotel. After some hugs goodbye we went in and apparently talked to the concierge (although neither of us remembered this till we saw the photos the next day...).
We went to sleep and concluded what had been one of the best nights of our trip so far...
I bet Shelly's gonna be hungover tomorrow...
Rose and Sheldon.