Thursday, August 31, 2006
Check in wasn’t until 3pm, so we left our bags with the bell boy and hit the town. Walking down 5th Avenue we saw the new Abercrombie and Fitch store, which looked amazing. There was a great buzz about town as the MTV Video Music awards are being held that evening from Radio City Music hall.
We decided to see the film “World Trade Center” in AMC Cinemas on 42nd Street. It’s the new Oliver Stone film, documenting 9/11 from the viewpoint of two cops. It was okay.
Heading back towards Broadway, we picked up tickets from the “relocated” TKTS stand for that evenings performance of the new musical “The Wedding Singer”. The tickets where 50% off and where for the 8pm performance.
We headed back to the hotel to check in. By the time we left, it was after 5pm, so we took in some food before heading to the Musical. Afterwards to headed to Therapy on 52nd Street for a drink then back to the hotel for an early night.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
We spent the early morning/afternoon in the Castro, where we had lunch in Harvey’s. Making our way back to Union Square, we finished our shopping/site seeing.
Packing our cases took quite some time, once completed we checked out and took the BART to the airport. Our allowance is 50lbs per bag; I was over by 16lbs with mine, so I had to unpack these into a second case which I packed. Our flight left a little late around midnight, flying overnight into New York.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Washing done, we headed off to complete our site seeing of San Francisco. We walked throughout the financial district. I was left very emotionally distraught when I witnessed a Seagull attack a pigeon. It grabbed it by the neck, killed it with several blows to the ground, and then proceeded to eat it. I’m still in shock.
We headed down to the pier to be treated with amazing views of the Bay Bridge. We also got to sample some fresh local produce from an organic farmers market. The tomatoes where unlike anything I had ever tasted.
Taking in a route via the Transamerica building, we headed north through North Beach where we sampled some Italian/French pastry treats, we climbed the hills to telegraph tower to take in the sites of the city from the Coit Tower.
Heading west, we walked across town and up to Lombard Street, most famously known as the Crooked Street.
Returning back to Union square via China town, we eat more Thai Food and retired back to the hotel for a rest. That evening we headed to the “Stud” to take in the world famous “Trannyshack” drag show. Again we weren’t bowled over with the show. It could have been more risqué and longer. Nevertheless we enjoyed. We also managed to meet with Rentecca!
Tomorrow is our last day in San Francisco, we head to New York tomorrow night, taking in an over night flight to the City.
Monday, August 28, 2006
We visited the botanicals gardens which where very well kept. It included many trails allowing you to get up close and personal with the plants from all over the world. We had to be careful as squirrels jumped over our heads in some of the most confined areas.
Located adjacent is the spectacular Japanese Tea Gardens. They consisted of a splendid array of Japanese gardens including a Zen one. Located in the heart is a Japanese tea room where Vin and I rested for some refreshing green tea.
Taking the 5 bus from Flosum Street, we headed back into the city for Thai food and some more shopping. We headed to the local gym to relax in the steam room before heading back to the Castro for a drink.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Today we dusted off our biking skills, strapped on our helmets and biked the 1mile across the
The day started with breakfast down in the hotel restaurant. We noticed there was a gift card in our room for the restaurant, so we decided to try it out. Turned out it was pre-loaded with $25 of credit. Thanks so much Wes, the manager here! Breakfast was on him. Feeling very stuffed we boarded a trolley down to Fisherman’s Warf to hire our bikes from blazing saddles bike rentals. It’s about $40 per person to hire the bikes, insurance and ferry tickets back to
The bike route took us along downtown
Once across, it was downhill all the way to the town of
That evening we walked through
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Macys had a great sale on shoes which Vin and I couldn’t resist.
The evening was spent back in the Castro, at the Monster Drag show in
Friday, August 25, 2006
Vin had noted a few good diners from tripadvisor.com, one such is Dotties. The review mentioned to ignore the queue outside as the food is classic. Not taking in the advice on queuing, we headed of to Jones St.(between Geary and O'Farrell),. What, there was a queue half way up the block to get into this small city dinner in the Tenderloins District. After 30 minutes waiting in line we where escorted to our table. Inside, the diner accommodates around 30 people max. Bottomless coffee was promptly served. We both ordered from their “blue” plate, including eggs (any style), bacon, potatoes, toast and juice. The portions where massive and the food certainly lived up to the reviews. Whilst we wouldn’t rush back due to the time it took to get seated and served, it is a must experience if you’ve got the time.
Time was a little tight and queue for the bay trolley car was massive, so we took a cab to pier 41 to collect our prepaid ticket, boarded the 12:15 “Blue and Gold” fairy to Alcatraz Island. The ride was smooth enough. After disembarking, a national park ranger introduced us to the island outlining where everything is including the talk schedule for the day. The prison is located at the top of the island, some 10mins walk, up hill from the dock. The views of the bay and San Francisco are outstanding.
We have paid for the audio tour, a must. It’s self led using a digital audio device. The narrator provides complete background to the history of the island/prison whilst haunting sound effects and voices of prison guards recollecting their experiences all recreate a chilling atmosphere.
A talk entitled “escapes” was held in the main dinning hall, which we attended. We spent some three hours on the rock. Well worth it.
Back on dry land we ventured onto the famous Pier 39, much to the delight of Vin when he found the resident sea lions! So cute! Heading back into town we took the trolley car as far as China Town gate, where we meandered back to Union Square at our leisure. Another word of warning, the queues for trolleys are on average 20 minutes if boarding at the terminal!
China Town was an experience, like the Castro, it’s full on. Everything is Chinese, including bakeries (don’t try the custard tart, it ended up being scrambled egg in pastry!) to schools. The area is massive and deserves an afternoon in itself to explore in-depth.
We headed back to the hotel for some shut eye before heading out for the night to the Castro. We ended up in a great bar/night club which played videos for ALL songs where being played. The music was very pop/dance based, with a fantastic mix of modern and 90s/80s. Prices where very reasonable, with a vodka/coke costing $4 only!
We left around 1:30 and couldn’t work out the timetable for the night owl bus service. We walk home, a good 40 minute walk, but we stopped in massive Sainsbury’s around 2am for some well needed grocery shopping! Hilarious!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Today we based ourselves around Union Square, its shops and malls. First on our list had to be Abercrombie and Fitch. Our Mecca! Vin spent a small fortune on items! Well worth it though! From here we eat lunch in Panda Express, situated in the food court of the San Francisco mall – their two entrée plate is well worth it!
Some more shopping followed, as we hit American Eagle, Old Navy, Apple Store and Virgin. This area has so much shopping there simply isn’t enough time in the day. We will return! It’s great that the hotel is situated right in the heart of all this activity.
We took the muni metro (subway) to visit the Castro area. We where both shocked by its openness. It was full of bars, clubs, and stores including a massive Diesel! After a little walk around the area and coffee in Starbucks we headed back to the hotel to relax.
Tomorrow we’re off to Alcatraz Island.