California Journals

Planning to tour West Coast USA

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A June 2009 trip to California by MichaelJM

Alcatraz Island/The Rock Photo, San Francisco, California More Photos
Quote: We were planning a surprise trip to the US for a friend who was to celebrate his 60th. Some high and lows in the organisation

Fisherman's Wharf

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Attraction | "Is this the hub of activity?"

Fisherman's Wharf Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We were staying at the Radisson Hotel just a short walk away from the piers of Fisherman’s Wharf. It claimed in the information that it had "breathtaking views" of San Francisco Bay. Well not from our bedroom – we had not so breathtaking views of the car park! Still the room was absolutely fine with a couple of queen Sized beds and the usually expected facilities. Of course we were not intending to be languishing in our room and the hotel was perfectly placed for accessing the City. It was only a couple of minutes to the pier and the tram terminal was a 10 minute saunter in the other direction, although trams were closer than that if you didn’t fancy the walk.Just outside the hotel were tw...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 19, 2010

Fisherman's Wharf
The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California
415/956-3493

Golden Gate Bridge

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Attraction | "This red icon is well worth checking out in detail"

Golden Gate Bridge Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
As much as Alcatraz island is a "must visit" so is a journey down to the iconic Golden Gate. It is one of those sights that are world renowned and I believe is a wondrous one to cast your eyes over. But we didn’t just want to see it – we were in San Francisco so we were determined to walk it. Eve our friend who has a fear of heights was going to step foot on the bridge with the aspiration to walk its length we the rest of us.The four of us set off on our adventure to make our way there on public transport and had thankfully decided against hiring a cycle to "take the scenic route" along the water’s edge. I say thankfully because, due to the immense size of the construction, the distance tu...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 19, 2010

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco, California

Trams of San Francisco

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Attraction | "Surprisingly we were riding the outside of the trams"

A Trip on San Francisco's Trams Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We set off at a leisurely pace, having enjoyed our American Breakfast in a local cafe, to catch the tram from the terminal. We’d decided not to make use of the City Tour preferring to take the more flexible and cheaper option of a three day pass on the San Franciscan transport system. We were surprised to find a long queue of people waiting for the tram, but there again I suppose we weren’t the only visitors in town!Whilst standing waiting a couple of local buskers had decided to cash in on the waiting tourists and they alternated their performances to catch those who had reached the point of boarding. They weren’t too bad but had an extremely limited repartee so by the time we were gettin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2010

Alcatraz Island/The Rock

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Attraction | "We'd booked advance tickets to ensure our visit"

Alcatraz Island/The Rock Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Of course no visit to San Francisco is complete without taking the boat trip to the notorious prison of Alcatraz and we’d been determined to get there so we had booked and paid for our tickets in advance. On our first full day in San Francisco we headed off to the pier to pick up the Alcatraz cruise. We were in plenty of time so were able to check out the pier-side museum and read the chilling words "any convict who escapes, or who attempts to escape, when recaptured is obliged to wear a ball and chain for three months". Alcatraz was full of rules and we’d more of them as we went round the prison, but of course it was dealing with some of the most notorious criminals in the USA.The clean,...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 17, 2010

Alcatraz Island/The Rock
San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco 94133
(415) 705-5555

The Early Planning

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Story/Tip

Alcatraz Island/The Rock Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Back in 2001 we’d visited Vegas to join my American cousin and his wife as they re-affirmed their wedding vows and when a friend explained that she was planning a surprise holiday to Vegas and the west coast in celebration of her husband’s 60th we were more than happy to jump in and join them. Indeed as we were planning to go mid 2009 it would serve as an early celebration for my 60th later that year.I’ve never planned a holiday this far in advance (it was only April 2008 when we started our discussions) and I wondered if we’d keep the momentum going to successfully arrange it. However, by June 2008 we were in "full blown discussions" looking at possible itineraries and more importantly w...Read More