Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay
Trip Start Jun 15, 2008
8Trip End Jul 07, 2008
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Our flight to San Francisco was with Virgin America and quite cool (Thanks Mr. Branson) as out plane had leather seats, enough legroom even for Martijn (Which was a first) and funky touch-screens to play with during the flight. Trude noticed they had LIVE TV on there so for the rest of the flight she watched the soccer match between Croatia and Turkey. Just a shame the match went into overtime so we had to get off the plane before the match fully ended. She still doesn't know the end result!!!
Another benefit of flying with Virgin America was that all our luggage arrived together with us at the end destination :D However they only allow 1 piece of check-in luggage per person, but 2 pieces of carry-on. So this time Martijn's tripod WAS allowed on the plane as carry-on. (Isn't a 2ft/60cm set of metal tubes just the kind of weapon they have all grown so scared of?)
We won't bore you with a step-by-step of our 3 days (5 with travelling included) in San Francisco, but rather stick to describing the most interesting events and sights
In our case however that is true as when we arrived it was very, very hot. However, being excited to get out and see the sights and enjoy San Francisco, we forgot to properly prepare our very white bodies for their first encounter with the sun. (Pale computer-users unite!) And we both ended up looking like our closest relative was the yummy and tasty lobster. Frank on the otherhand was just fine (even without sunblock), how DOES he do it?!
We spent the first morning in the Golden Gate Park. It was too big to see all of it as we had many other sights to go see in our short time in such a gorgeous city. The bits we did see were beautifully kept and enjoyable in their variety. The Japanese Tea Garden (inside the Golden Gate Park) deserves special mention and we can wholeheartedly recommend that anyone ever in the vicinity checks it out. Not very American maybe, but gorgeous to behold as the pictures will no doubt attest to. In addition to the Japanese Tea Garden we also found the time to see the Rose Garden and try out the Paddle Boats on Stow Lake. The paddle boats were great fun and we even got to see some nesting birds fairly up close.
Going to see the Golden Gate Bridge while in San Francisco is of course a must for everyone's first visit there
The Golden Gate Bridge might look calm and nice on all the postcards and pictures, but it really is amazingly loud (a 6 lane highway will do that ;)) and windy there. It is however very cool that you can actually walk across it all the way (although we didn't bother since the bridge is over 1 km long) and get a great view of the San Francisco skyline from there.
One of the most famous landmarks of San Francisco is the prison island of Alcatraz. It is so popular that going there required booking at least several days (if not weeks) in advance. We went on the early-bird tour (the first boat of the day to the island), which allowed us to take some nice pictures without having huge crowds blocking everything in every shot. The corridor of the prison cell-blocks shown in the picture was almost full of people a mere 30 minutes after we got there. When the building started filling up we headed back outside to see the rest and take some pictures of the island's current residents: breeding seagulls
Alcatraz is currently a national park and we enjoyed listening to the park rangers talking about the island's history. The island wasn't always a prison island and scattered around the place is lots of evidence of that. It started off as a military base and for a time was occupied by native americans (indians!) during the time when they started losing their reservations. And, as was evident during our time there, it is now a breeding ground for many, many seagulls and other birds.
After the early-bird tour to Alcatraz hunger-pains were starting to set in. So we went to Fisherman's Wharf and had a really nice clam chowder in a bread bowl for brunch. Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf is a place that seems to be dedicated to one of the seven deadly sins: GLUTONY!!! Some of the highlights of Pier 39 definitely include Chocolate Heaven, The Fudge House and of course Trish's Mini Donuts :P
Our brunch however was at Boudin Bakery And Cafe and, just for the experience of eating the bowl your soup comes in, is well worth going to.
Taking one of the famous cable cars to Lombard Street (The Crookedest Street In The World) is also an experience to be had
Now we are off on the more hectic portion of our holiday as, for the next 7 days, we will only be staying 1 day in each location before moving onwards. To do this we have picked up our rental car. We initially had reserved a compact, but due to our puchasing of tacky souvenirs (!) we needed a bigger vehicle. For those who are interested it is a Hyundai Sonata, automatic of course.
Wish us luck braving the american highways where everyone from 16 years and up is allowed behind the wheel!!! ;)