Sunday, 30 October 2011

San Francisco 2

Now then. How are we all?

Well we left our perfectly positioned hotel in Monterey

and headed up silicone valley back to San Francisco, passing many well known tech company HQ's and making a few geek stops on the way.

-And I couldn't miss the opportunity to stop at my beloved 49ers HQ and practise facility.

We got back into the city and had fun with the sat nav. Not! Most of San Francisco streets are one way, and the sat nav kept trying to get me to go the wrong way up a one way street. Turned it off in the end.

Went out with the camera and grabbed some shots as the light was better than last week.

Then we went out for pizza so i could watch the last game of the world series in baseball. I can't believe that Texas threw it away again.

This morning we did a bit of shopping, mainly for darling daughter, as a thank you for house sitting the pets. Thanks kiddo. We couldn't have done this without you. Mwah! X

This evening we took the ferry across the bay to Sausalito

which is where my friend Roger lives. It was great to meet his wife Cathy. Before dinner they took us up the Marin headlands. It was dark by then so we went to get a night view of the city but I managed this with the camera on a fence and leaving the shutter open for three seconds.

We had a great evening eating out on a deck with essentially the above view from sea level. Thanks for the great company Roger & Cathy.

Tomorrow all my Christmas' come at once. 30 years of being a fan I finally get to see 49ers home game. Not only that but my friend Roger has delivered on his promise of a press pass and I am on the sidelines with my cameras. I can't wait and so with that I'm signing off for the night except to say thanks to all who are reading this but especially Beth Shiels who has deemed it "a good read". Fanx Beth!

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Location:Hardie Pl,San Francisco,United States

Friday, 28 October 2011

Massive Catchup!

Hey kids!

Well it's been pretty dry on the old blogging front, combination of having too much fun, technical mishaps and simply couldn't be bothered. ;-)

Here goes with the catchup.

We left you as we arrived in LA. We spent the night at the Hilton at LAX and then picked up the hire car on Saturday morning.

We headed for Hollywood boulevard but stopped at a Walmart to buy some supplies. The neighbourhood was called Crenshaw. Let's just say that it was a "real" LA suburb. I was ok but Julie had a couple of challenging moments. The big bonus for me was finding a sports store where I picked up a 49ers jacket at a snip as it was off the beaten track.

Onward to the walk of stars. To say that we were underwhelmed wouldn't cover it at all. We stayed exactly 20 mins. I love the movies but this was just tourist tat. Although Julie did seem impressed with one set of paw prints.

We did stop at the Fossil store on the way out and made a couple of purchases.

Next stop was Griffith Park on a recommendation of a friend of mine Mr Matt Binns. (Good advice, sir). Julie and I both loved it. Griffith as well as being a park is home to an observatory. You get great views of the sprawl that is Los Angeles from up there. It has the added bonus of being next to the Hollywood sign. Tick! Not bad especially as it is free, unless you visit a planetarium show which we did. The best $7 I've spent on the trip in my view.

Mid afternoon we jumped back in the car and headed south to Long Beach and our lodgings for the night the RMS Queen Mary. For those out there who do not know, the city of Long Beach bought her when she was retired as a liner and moored her as a hotel. Well, we were both impressed. Julie so much so, that she asked to stay for an additional night, which also had the benefit of slowing the trip down as the next two stops were to be for two nights.

We had a great time in Long Beach. On Sunday morning we rented a side by side tandem and rode the shore path. Ate some ice cream and took it easy. That night we went to a sports diner where I got to eat pizza while watching American football and baseball simultaneously, which for those who know me, made me very happy. We then hit the cinema at the ladies request and watched Footloose. Wouldn't have been my choice but I enjoyed it although it's not a patch on the original.

Cabin on the Queen Mary

Up early on Monday. The extended stop in Long Beach meant I had a long drive ahead. So we picked up California route 1 and headed for a place called Cambria stopping at Venice Beach and Santa Monica on the way.

Just after we drove through Malibu I received a phone call from my friend Roger to inform me that he had secured the press pass for Sundays Game. I am writing this three days later and it still hasn't sunk in that I will be on the sidelines of an NFL game! Humbled!

Cambria is a small town with one street and lots of charm, we loved it. Julie especially as she was able to slow right down and recharge the old batteries. First night there we ate at a diner again and again simultaneous sports.. Ahhh bliss. The second night we had a curry at a restaurant called Robins. I mention only because it was one of the best curry's I have ever eaten. Should you ever find yourselves in Cambria try it. They also have a quant tradition in that they have a scarecrow contest each year. (see photos)

Our "house"

Wednesday saw us wave goodbye to Cambria and head up the coast. We stopped at Hearst Castle which was one of the vacation homes of William Randolph Hearst. We enjoyed it and found it interesting if a little gaudy, but did have to laugh at the gasps from our American cousins when they heard that some exhibits we're 200 years old etc!

Further on up route 1 you come to a part of the coastline called Big Sur. Amazing, no other word for it. It really is beautiful and stunning. If you are a fan of scenery you have to see this.

We arrived in Monterey last night and I was happy to see that the hotel had not "cheated" on it's online pictures. It really is right on the beach in fact here is my view as I sit and write.

We are shopping tonight and heading on tomorrow. We haven't made our mind up about where as there are choices. So stay tuned folks!

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Location:Sand Dunes Dr,Monterey,United States

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Heading for LA baby!

Hi all

Thought I should catch up on the old blogging front. It's been a busy few days.

We left you after seeing the salvation army at work. Well we were going to ride a cable car that night, but our brilliant host Claire invited us to her home in Pacifica where we met her friends. They took us on a tour of some stunning sights such as twin peaks, which we missed on the go car tour because of the cold. (I'll add the photos of that later when I upload them from the camera.) We then headed to the mission district where we had an amazing dinner in a Southern Indian restaurant. Julie and I both had Dosa which if you have never had I can recommend. For those of you in Nottingham I have already checked and there is a restaurant on Broad St serving it. After dinner we went for a walk in the mission district. It was great day where we got to see the real San Francisco with residents. If anything it made me want to move here even more. Claire, Eleanor and Jessica "Byrd" thank you for one of the most enjoyable days of my life.

On Thursday we rose early and went to Alcatraz which is one of those attractions where it was interesting but I know I will never do it again. Julie and I then went to fisherman's wharf or pier 39. Again won't mind if I never go again. ( think Skegness on steroids!) We then went to the Ghirardelli chocolate factory and shared a sundae. Hmmmmmmnnn.

We then rode the cable car back. I stood on the running board all the way and I have to say it was a lot of fun. There would be photos but J is not the most agile of people or great with a camera so didn't want to jump out at one of the stops to take the pic! Seriously, if you come to San Francisco you absolutely have to ride a cable car.

We had an earthquake here in the bay area yesterday centred on Berkeley but we felt it here. The official guidance tells you if you are outside to move away from tall buildings.


This morning we went on a walking tour of San Francisco's architecture. This was something I picked but we both enjoyed it immensely. Our guide Rick Evans was extremely passionate and knowledgeable.

So San Francisco round one done. Here we sit awaiting our Virgin America flight to LAX. We are staying in the airport Hilton tonight and picking up the car tomorrow. What's tomorrow bringing I hear you cry. Hollywood baby, Hollywood!

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Location:Terminal 2 San Francisco Airport

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Jet lag torture.

Well guys the flight over was torture and I didn't sleep although some did!

Only just recovered enough from the jet lag to put some words down. We have both woken at 2am on both mornings thus far.

Breakfast here helps of course, as does the endless supply of coffee.

The GPS car yesterday was a laugh but it turned into one of San Francisco's foggy days so we cut it short. You can see J looking suitably impressed!

We have had a great day today touring the amazing work the Salvation Army does out here. It was important for us to see the great work but also it drove home the gulf of divide that exists here in the states between rich and poor.

Cable car ride tonight all being well and tomorrow Alcatraz.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


Well now who would have thought that a drive down the old M1/M25 could be enjoyable? But, when you are in holiday mode and travelling at 60 in lane one watching the carnage go by it really is!

Arrived safely at the Park Inn, had a thoroughly enjoyable dinner and now a spot of TV. NFL for me, Downton Abbey for J.

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Location:West Drayton,United Kingdom

Excitement Building

Well folks only a couple of hours to go until the much awaited departure for on our holiday to the California.

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Location:Brookhill St,,United Kingdom