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Old 07-17-2003, 04:13 PM   #1
Claire L
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Talking California days 1 to 5 - San Francisco - long post

Well here goes my first attempt at writing a trip report.
Cast -
Me - 29 and America/Disney nut
DH - 27 and also caught by the America/Disney Bug

California June 14th to July 5th 2003

Day 1
London Heathrow to San Francisco.
Arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Checked in at the Virgin Premium Economy desk and got given exit seats due to DH's height, 6ft 4in tall!!
Said goodbye to DMIL and DFIL as they had taken us to the airport. Had a quick look around Duty Free and shops before time had come to board the plane.
Left nearly on time, think it was about 10 minutes late. Good service on the flight and arrived at SFO about 1.30 pm. Disaster strikes at the baggage carousel my suitcase has had its lock broken,but luckily nothing missing . After several unsuccessful attempts to report damage finally find Virgin rep and report is taken. Oh well that means a trip to the outlets to find a new suitcase like I need an excuse!!!
Getting to Dollar and finding the car was easy and then it was off to the City.
Arrived at our hotel the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf by mid afternoon and checked in. Feel asleep shortly after and woke up the following morning - what an exhausting day it had been.

Day 2
Had a Virgin meeting at nearby hotel and upgraded our helicopter flight to the Full Monty for June 16th our wedding anniversary. Then headed off to Pier 39 and saw the resident Sea lions.



Well you could hear them before you saw them. Had an enjoyable twenty minutes or so watching their antics as there must have been several hundred on various floats. Then after looking around the pier headed back to the hotel via Safeway which was the next street over to get vital supplies - water and beer!!!
In the afternoon went swimming in the hotel pool nice and sunny but rather windy. After this got ready for evening and went down Pier 39 to Bubba Gump’s restaurant - which is themed around the film Forrest Gump. Had a good meal except they forgot my appetizer. Then headed back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.


Day 3
Collected at our hotel for the helicopter flight at 10am. Nice sunny morning but a little hazy. Had a drive back to SFO for the flight!! Once in the helicopter it was amazing the views were terrific as we headed out over the coast towards SF and the went over the bay, under and over the Golden Gate Bridge before finally flying back to the airport. Hopefully my camcorder got it all as I haven't checked it yet. Once back at Fisherman’s Wharf decided to go to the cable cars. Took the Hyde Street car to the other end of town near Union Square and did a little bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel after a full day out and about. A note about the cable cars at each end of the journey the queues are usually very long so allow plenty of time for your journey if you have anything else planned at either end.

Day 4
Again collected at our hotel for the Deluxe Tour of San Francisco and Alcatraz. A bit disappointed as we were taken straight to the ticket office where we had to exchange our voucher for the actual tour ticket. Got on the bus and our tour started and the sky was still thick with fog!! We had a good tour and stopped off at the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park for a 20 minutes or so which was not enough time to fully appreciate the park but at least it gave a taster for a return visit sometime in the future.




Then it was off to the highest point in the city – Twin Peaks - which was shrouded in mist/fog. The highlight up here for our fellow tourists was the illegal street traders selling fleece jackets who ran off down the hill when the Police car arrived. After this it was off to the Golden Gate Bridge and finally some sunshine. Upon arriving at the bridge we had had 30 minutes so were able to walk a fair way onto the bridge and by the time we got back to the bus the sun was out.





It was then time to head back to Pier 41 for lunch before our departure to Alcatraz. Had a quick McDonalds and then went to get the 2.15pm boat.
Arrived at Alcatraz and walked up the hill to the old Cell block where upon arrival we were issued with personal stereos for a guided commentary. The stereo was actual very informative and gave you a feeling of what Alcatraz was like when it was open as previous guards and inmates gave various accounts of the prison. We then spent about two and a half hours on the tour and just walking around the island.



It is a shame that a lot of the building are left to wrack and ruin considering the history behind them.



All in all what fantastic views of San Francisco and the Bay from the Island .



After this headed back to the hotel and went to Pier 39 for dinner as it was so close and we had had a long day.

Day 5
Today we decided to do our own thing and headed off over Golden Gate Bridge towards the Marin Headlands. After going up a narrow, by American standards , road we came to a lovely area for views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. We stopped here for a short while before continuing along the headland and then back towards Sausalito. Arrived around lunchtime in Sausalito which is a very affluent town on the opposite side of the Bay to San Francisco and had a look around the various art and craft shops before deciding to get back out into the countryside and Muir Woods.
Our journey to Muir Woods was again interesting with narrow winding roads. Once there we decided to take the medium length trail and were just amazed at the size of the Redwoods. The woods themselves were quite empty of people walking so the effect of the trees seemed that much greater as all you could here at times was nature.



Having had a busy day we then headed back to the hotel as we wanted to see Lombard Street en route and then get to Chinatown for an evening meal. We found Lombard Street known as the most crookedest street in the world and drove down it which was quite and experience considering the gradient of the hill and the steepness of the turns . It was then time to take photograph which I think every other tourist had the same idea of doing as it was really busy. It was now time to head back to the hotel. After getting refreshed we headed of to the cable car and went to Chinatown. Having looked in a few restaurants we finally decided on one and had a very new style of Chinese cuisine which soon filled us both up so time to head back to the hotel as it was off to Carmel tomorrow and the start of our drive down Route 1...
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x Claire x
Aug 90 to Mar 98 - 6 visits to US and 20 states visited, inc 2 trips to WDW and 2 trips to DL Jun 01 - WDW Grosvenor DTD 2wks + TIG St Pete Beach 1wk Jun 02 - WDW WL 2wks Feb 03 - New York 4nts Jun 03 - West Coast 3wks SF to LA & DL for 3 days Oct 04 - WDW AKL 10nts + RPR 2nts Jun 05 - WDW YC 10nts + HRH 4nts + TIG St Pete Beach 1wk! Jun 06 - SF to LV inc Lake Tahoe, Yosemite + the Grand Canyon 3wks Dec 06 - NYE at WDW POFQ 11nts inc RPR 1nt Oct 07 - WDW SSR 2wks inc PBH 1nt May 08 - WDW AKV 15nts inc PBH 1nt + VB 4nts Feb 09 - WDW SSR 1wk + BWI 1wk Jun 09 - Washington DC for 1wk Dec 09 - New York for 6nts Oct 10 - Miami 3nts & WDW AKV KV 13nts inc HRH 1nt Jun 11 - LA to Seattle for 3wks inc 3 days at DLC Oct 12 - WDW AKV KV 2wks inc PBH 1nt Oct 14 - WDW AKV KV 2wks inc PBH 1nt

Last edited by Claire L; 07-12-2006 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 07-18-2003, 04:36 AM   #2
Minniespal

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Thanks for sharing ~ Wonderful reviews!!!!!
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Old 07-19-2003, 03:22 AM   #3
KayleeUK
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Very interesting :0 My friend is over there at the moment. Thank you for sharing with us.
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