OK here’s the last of my holiday blurb. I’ll stop boring you all with it after this :P Also, be warned, there are a lot of pictures on this page. If you have a slow connection (or are using IE) I’d recommend going and putting the kettle on, go make yourself a nice cuppa then bring it back with you :)
I don’t think I really mentioned where we were staying. A friend from work recommended trying to get apartments through a few web sites she has used in the past, renting accommodation directly from the owners. We did this last year when we went to New York and, although that apartment was a good size and great for transport, the apartment itself wasn’t great.
So we booked an apartment I had seen for San Francisco that looked great and had great reviews, but decided if this one turned out like the New York apartment, we’d be going back to hotels.
But it was nothing like the place in New York. The apartment is located in the Marina district, so it’s the northern area of San Francisco and quite close to the Golden Gate bridge. In fact, we could see that from our window :)
Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures at GenCon. For some reason I decided not to get the camera out, used my phone instead and even then I didn’t take very many. So Torrance has kindly let me raid her pictures :D
There are also a few that I posted on twitter, so if you follow me you’ve probably already seen them
Today was probably the day we were most looking forward to in San Francisco. Up early, we had to be at the pier by 7.30am to set off at 8am. We were off to the Farallon Islands in the Pacific to go looking for whales!
It was cloudy when we set off, but reasonably warm. That changed as we got further out to sea. The cloud stayed with us and it got colder. But the sea was calm and the journey lovely.
We didn’t get to go over the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday, but we sailed under it today :-D (um…… you guys know its red rather than golden – right?) On the way out to the islands we spotted several pods of porpoises, a few sea lions and lots of sea birds. Once we reached the islands about 90 minutes later we were told to be on whale watch, we were heading in to deeper waters. It took a while, about 30 people all peering about looking for the telltale water spout or fin, but somebody eventually spotted one. We had found a female humpback whale and her year old calf.
We had plans for today. We were going to look at the Palace of Fine Arts then go across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then we woke up.
I slept badly because of this bloody cold I’ve picked up. Rachel slept badly because of this bloody cold I’ve picked up :-\ We were both knackered when we got up this morning – so we decided to have a lazy day.
We wandered around the neighbourhood a bit, making sure to find a pharmacists to pick up cold remedies for me, bite remedies for Rachel.
And we did go look around the Palace of Fine Arts later today. It is just down the street from us, after all. But mostly we have chilled out and taken it easy, which I think we needed as we do have a busy day planned tomorrow – whale watching!
Definitely a mini blog today :-D
Thursday was another day with a pre-planned event. I had bought tickets for the California Academy of Sciences nightlife tour. This means the museum is open from 6-10pm for people with tickets and over 21 years of age.
Because the museum is situated in Golden Gate Park we decided to spend most of the day there. We had a leisurely breakfast at the Squat & Gobble (much nicer than yesterday’s although we noticed they too do the blancmange like omelettes – must be a west coast thing). Then we caught a tram back to Union Sq. While there we did what we should have done while we were in Indianapolis, bought a burner phone. We’d tried to book a taxi online but we need a US phone number to do so. So I now have a nice cheap little smart phone for emergencies over here and can bring back with me for the next GenCon we go to. I have been really tempted to send Samius some weird texts while I’m still here… :-D
Wednesday was not our best day. For starters I woke up with a sore throat and sneezes. I’m fairly sure I picked that up from a French tourist stood near us on the ferry back from Alcatraz :-(
Then we went for breakfast and the omelettes we ordered looked more like blancmange and weren’t that great. We did manage to work out the bus journey to Union Sq easily enough. It’s a nice area used to show off various performances on different days. From there we walked a few blocks to the cable car terminal where you can purchase bus passes. No more needing exact change :-)
We caught a tram over to the Castro, which was a place I was really looking forward to seeing again. The Castro is San Francisco’s gay village with pride flags hung up around all the streets. We stopped for a coffee when we got there at a Starbucks and sat outside drinking it. Rach lit a cigarette and then got told off by an old guy who informed her it was a no smoking area, though he waited until she had almost finished her cigarette. She apologised, put out the cigarette, then sat there quietly ranting for 5 minutes about the no smoking signs being hidden :-D
There are a few things we have planned for while we are in San Francisco and Alcatraz is the first of them. The tickets sell out several weeks in advance, so if you intend to visit you need too get them beforehand. Also this meant we had paid for them a month ago, which always makes me feel like the holiday is less expensive :-)
The night before we had logged onto the San Francisco Muni website http://www.511.org to plan the buses needed too get out to Pier 33, where the ferry goes from. We are having a bit of a confusing time with the buses, so that site is very helpful.
We get to the bus stop early – good thing we did, the bus was early – and arrive at Pier 33 with plenty of time to spare. The ferry is large, clean and a really smooth ride over to the island. We got some lovely pics of San Francisco from it.