United States
Fisherman's Wharf

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    • Day 45

      San Francisco, Day 2

      February 18 in the United States

      Tag 2 durften wir wieder mit strahlendem Sonnenschein begrüßen🌞
      Für uns ging es heute als aller erstes zum Girerdillhi Square mit seiner Schokoladen Manufaktur. Weiter ging es zum Fishermans Warth und Pier 39 mit seinen vielen kleinen tollen Läden und natürlich den Seelöwen. Spontan haben wir uns für eine Schiffsfahrt entschieden, die uns unter der Golden Gate Bridge und um Alcatraz geschippert hat - diese Eindrücke waren echt beeindruckend!Read more

    • Day 4

      Golden Gate double

      October 12 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Last full day in San Francisco, and still a lot to cram in, started with a late breakfast as tired from a long day yesterday, the boys went out to experience a “real” American breakfast, once breakfast was done we caught the hop on/ off bus and took in the full route (nearly) the route included a trip over and back of the Golden Gate Bridge, this was made extra special as Janet was on FaceTime to Gracie as we crossed the bridge.
      Shortly after this we split up the adults (Janet, Andrew and Susan) getting off the bus to visit Mrs Doubtfire’s house, me Joe and Rhys finished the tour and picked rental bikes up to head back to the Golden Gate Bridge to cycle over it, the ride over didn't disappoint, well worth the effort for the views and the experience, I also the enjoyed kicking the lads arses on the bike (they are so unfit) Whilst we did this the “adults” went on a tour of a WW2 submarine, we waited for them in a local hostelry. Once they were done they joined us and we ventured to Applebee’s who were advertising $5 Cocktails, whilst talking to a couple of local girls they tell us about the $1 margaritas, all this meant we were late venturing to China town for food, the lads taking a scooter and the four adults (I graduated) taking a Tram, something we had wanted to experience. We order far too much food in the Chinese and are all stuffed, so we walk it off on the way back to the hotel for a nightcap but service is very slow, so we give up and call it a night.
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    • Day 15

      San Francisco an Overview

      September 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

      Rome is built on seven hills, goodness knows how many make up San Francisco and they are seriously steep. In particular The Lombard St crooked street of Steve McQueen car chase fame! We have had the bad luck to be here in the week that the cable cars are out of commission for an overhaul, so sadly no cable car ride. As a consequence we took the Big Bus tour to give us an overview of the city, which did the job, but was excruciatingly hot (in the 90s today) on the top deck and filled with really irritating people who seemed unable to sit still for more than five minutes at a time. I know, I’m being unreasonable, but every time I had a photo opportunity some sweet soul jumped up in front of me, but some photos did come out as you will see. At the end of the three hour trip it was back to the hotel for a cool down. It is apparently going to be much cooler tomorrow.
      The San Franciscans are very proud of their home as a city of charm and culture. They are not wrong. It is quirky and In general I like it. Like all big cities there are parts that are less than salubrious and they clearly have a huge homeless problem, particularly in certain areas. Fisherman’s Wharf is rather too like an upmarket Gt Yarmouth for my taste, but the seafood is divine.
      The architecture around the city is outstanding from all eras and the buildings sit juxtaposed to one another with great effect. There are still some pre Earthquake and lots from the twenties and thirties. Downtown and the Financial District are ultra modern and there is the largest China Town here in the USA. Haight-Ashbury is as attractive and bohemian as you would imagine the home of flower power and the hippie culture to be. This a very green city. Trees line the streets and there are parks everywhere. The Golden Gate Park is larger than Central Park in New York. There is an very classical Opera House, Ballet Theatre and a brand new Symphony Hall built in the shape of a Grand Piano, key windows and all. As you approach the Golden Gate Bridge, the breeze picks up and the temperature drops. Once on the bridge itself, you need to hold on to your hat and anything else that may be taken by the wind. It is as spectacular a structure close to and from a distance, in its rust coloured glory. (Apparently, this colour is called international orange?! ). I can see why it has become iconic. The views are magnificent and on a majestic scale; looking back towards city, the Wharfs and out to the open ocean. A plethora of little sailing boats cut backwards and forwards, together with larger sea going vessels on their way to goodness knows where. The Bay is made up of a variety of microclimates due to the interaction of the landforms and the sea and whilst it was 80 degrees on the Golden Gate Bridge, it was 93 on the Wharfs and 105 in East Bay. It has a reputation here, similar to the UK, in that you could experience all four seasons in one day. At the moment though it is definitely Indian Summer and this is normal apparently. You are unlikely to suffer the sea fog that can blight the earlier summer months. Having said that we haven’t lost the chance!
      There is much talk of this being the most expensive city to live in, rental and real estate wise. Rents are high and some of the beautiful houses change hands for millions it is true, but the same could be said of Chelsea and Knightsbridge. I suspect it is like many a prosperous city (and it is riding a techno bubble at the moment), it is the place to be and the law of supply and demand rules.
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    • Day 14

      San Francisco

      September 12, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      It is not far from the Napa Valley to San Francisco, but it could be a different universe. On a good day it might only take you just over an hour, traffic being the deciding factor. It was a two hour drive today and we were scarcely out of the Napa Valley before the clear blue of the vast tracts of ocean that make up the Bay area came into view. This is a city in an extraordinary setting. Three lanes of traffic became five and six, vast petrochemical plants lined the waterfront at one point and signs indicated names that belong in fiction, newsreels and on the movies: Berkeley, Oakland, San Jose, Haight-Ashbury (of flower power and hippie fame) Stanford and Sausilito. This is the home of Levi’s, Twitter, the genesis of the United Nations and Silicon Valley, a little to the south. The city itself is only 47 square miles, but the suburban sprawl extends all around the Bay Area. Tantalising glimpses of the famous Golden Gate Bridge glittered in the distance reminding me of the explosion of the population from 1848 onwards with the beginning of the California Gold Rush. Within a year fifty thousand pioneers arrived (the 49ers) and transformed a muddy village to a thriving supply and transit boomtown. As most of you will know a massive earthquake wiped out three quarters of the city in 1906 and the city has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes, bigger and better than before.
      We are staying in the Fisherman’s Wharf Area, which we walked round this afternoon. A good lunch was taken at Boudains, founded by Isadore Boudin, a master baker who arrived here from Burgundy in 1849, hoping to make it rich off Gold Rush miners. He perfected the modern Sourdough loaf and the original starter yeast-bacteria culture developed during the Gold Rush is still being used. We had been warned that the Bay Area would be cool in comparison to the Napa Valley. It was eighty in the shade and thronged with people. We retreated back to the cool of the hotel and an iced drink. This evening we ventured out in search of supper. This a fish and seafood lovers paradise and restaurants line the wharfs. We were spoilt for choice and chose one almost on the eeny meeny miney mo method. It didn’t look that encouraging from the outside, although the menu looked promising (in particular the truffled halibut). We were directed upstairs in the elevator and stepping out was a surprise. Here was a well set out room with panoramic views over the marina and the Golden Gate Bridge. As we ate a flaming sun set behind the bridge, turning the sky crimson with the bridge silhouetted against it. It was quite a first night and the halibut was delicious!
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    • Day 16


      September 14, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      A mile out into San Francisco Bay lies a rocky outcrop known the world over as Alcatraz Island. It has a long and notorious history and began life as a civil war fort in the 1850s, built by the US Army as part of its western defence plan against Confederate raiders. By the 1900s the civil war was long gone and it’s defences had become obsolete, so it was decommissioned, but Alcatraz has been a prison since those early days both for Confederate soldiers, Yankee deserters and Native American warriors captured during the the various Indian Wars. It was not until the Great Depression of the 1930s that the Department of Justice took over responsibility for Alcatraz, opening it as a Federal Penitentiary
      In 1934. Of the 1545 men who did time on Alcatraz, only a handful were notorious, among them Al ‘Scarface’ Capone, George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, Alvin ‘Creepy’ Karpis and Robert Stroud ‘ the Birdman of Alcatraz’. The vast majority of the inmates had been escape risks and troublemakers in other prison populations. Possibly because of its isolation, few visitors and secrecy, Alcatraz earned the reputation of being tough and with miserable living conditions. Certainly the routine was hard and the building stark and bleak, this being a maximum security facility, but it was clean and the food good. Only 14 prisoners ever attempted to escape and none succeeded. Prisoners arrived in chains and were issued with a blue uniform after showering and taken to their 9’ by 5’ cell. On the bed were the rules and regulations of the prison and
      No 5 stated “You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege.” This was the reality of life within the toughest of US Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island.
      The island is now a National Park and managed accordingly. There are over a million visitors annually. Your journey begins at Pier 33 along with a boat full of visitors and the journey across the bay takes approximately 10 minutes. The crossing is choppy, currents vicious, the water cold and the island is foreboding on approach. The concrete cell block sits high on the citadel of the island with a variety of facilities placed around it. There are electrical sheds, the guardhouse, military chapel, a morgue, a lighthouse, the warden’s house, a general store and officers club, barracks and apartments for the guards and their families and perhaps most surprising of all gardens, planted by the families who lived here in a tight, small, village like community. Most of these are now in quite a dilapidated condition and as you make your way up the long steep walk to the cell block, it is hard to imagine children playing and normal life continuing around this Penitentiary, so far removed from everyday living. As part of your visit you are given an audio guide which is first class in the picture it paints of life here and the inmates incarcerated within.
      I was reminded of our visit to Robyn Island off Cape Town, although there the conditions were undoubtedly harsher, but the principle is the same. In each cell is a lavatory, a rudimentary bed, blankets and pillow, a metal stool attached to the wall and a similar small ledge like table.
      No personal belongings were allowed unless you complied and behaved, when some privileges were then introduced. Two communal showers were allowed per week and meals were taken leg shackled in the dining room, where you had 20 minutes to eat your meal. The wind whistles through the building at all times and bad behaviour resulted in solitary confinement or even locking up in one of the six hell holes permanently in the dark. It is chilling, but men found ways to survive and cope. Surprisingly, bridge was a popular occupation and those men allowed to do so, would spend hours outside in the cold quadrangle playing.
      In many ways, I think one of the most difficult aspects of being imprisoned here would have been the close proximity to one of the liveliest and attractive cities in the USA. The views across to the mainland, the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge are beautiful and it is said that on New Years Eve after lights out at 9.30, the inmates could hear the revelry onshore, voices and laughter carried out on the wind, only reminding them of their isolation. The prison was closed in 1963 by the then Attorney General Robert F Kennedy, due to increasing costs and maintenance. This was a fascinating visit, well worth making and we arrived back on the Wharf perhaps rather more thoughtful than we had left. In search of a restorative cup of coffee we came across the latest dog episode. A seemingly normal couple pushing a largish brown bull dog type dog in a candy pink pushchair, with matching harness and frilly headpiece. If I had had the nerve, I would have asked if I could have taken a photograph, but feared I would have been unable to keep a straight face!
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    • Day 17

      All Around San Fran

      September 15, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      This has been our final day in San Francisco and we attempted to cover just a few high points of the city. A difficult feat, when in truth you would need to be here a month to come close. Getting around is reasonably easy, as there are a multitude of public transport options. We started off with a trolley bus to market street, which is the main commercial street, walked two blocks north to Union Square. Here you have Saks Fifth Avenue on one side, Macy’s opposite, Tiffany’s to the left and The Francis Hotel on the only side left. Window shopping is by far the best option! We picked up a bus to the Golden Gate Park. This a huge green space bigger than and based on Central Park in New York. This part of the city was originally sand dunes, before being reclaimed and stabilised with natural flora. With in its bounds are the California Academy of Science, the deYoung Museum, a Bison paddock, yes with real bison in it, a large Kew style conservatory, the Botanic Gardens the Japanese Tea Gardens. We neither had the time or energy to explore all, but did our best to cover a small section! Being garden lovers, I suppose it was inevitable that we would eventually gravitate towards the Japanese Tea Garden. It is a legacy from the Midwinter Fair of 1894. It was beautifully landscaped by the Hagiwara family, who looked after the garden until the advent of World War 11, when like all Japanese Americans they were interned and after the war the city would not let them return. Fortunately, their beautiful creation has continued to be be nurtured and has matured into the largest such garden outside of Japan.
      Tired out, we caught the Big Red Bus back towards Fisherman’s Wharf via downtown. ‘Oh look’ says Peter ‘a shop called Good Vibrations-
      after the blog!’ ‘Not a total surprise’ says I, ‘this is California and being a Beach Boys fan, I named it after one of their songs that would set the scene’. It was only as we drew closer that I thought the window display seemed rather odd and on closer examination the wording over the door became readable. Here was the San Francisco Museum of Vibrators! You will probably not be surprised to hear that we did not jump off the bus to investigate further. A final supper at Scoma (very good seafood restaurant in the fishing marina) beckoned and somehow seemed more appealing. A quirky place San Fran, as stated in an earlier episode!!
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    • Day 13

      San Francisco

      June 20 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

      Am Morge hets früh uf stah gheisse da mer uf e Waltour gange sind in Monterey😀🦭 und mir hend da zechlich Buckelwale, Delfin und Robene gseh🦭🐳🐬 nacher simer los gfahre richtig San Francisco als erst womer a cho sind und euses Hotelzimmer bezoge hend simer an 39 Pier mal eis go trinke🍹 am abig simer nach lidel Italy🇮🇹Read more

    • Day 14

      San Francisco Tag 2

      June 21 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      Hüt am Morge hets als erst Crepes geh zum zmorge🤤 dena simer mit de Cable Car gfahre den simer sehr wit zumene usichts punkt gloffe womer uf eren turm ufe sind wo 245 stegetritt ka het🤪 nach dem simer mit em Bus in Golden Gate Park gange go spaziere womer use gfunde hend das intro fu Monk ganz i de nöchi dreiht worde isch hemer das au no müesse gseh😆 am Fishermans Wharf hemer nacher fein geseh und wider zrug id Hotelbar glofe🍸🍹Read more

    • Day 15

      San Francisco letzter Tag

      June 22 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      Hüt sind de Amaro und ich uf Alcatraz gange das berühmte gfängnis go aluege😀 es isch mega spannend gsi und vorallem gfüehrt isch es uf Dütsch gsi so dasi alles verstande han😆 am schluss isch sogar eine dete gsi wo es buech drüber gschriebe het wiess gsi isch im Gfängnis zii in Alcatraz da er selber 3 Jahr dete gsesse isch👤 dena simer wieder zrug und hend mini Eltere wieder troffe zum Aperöle🍹 spöter hets den wieder es feins znacht esse geh🤪Read more

    • Day 3

      Gefängnis-Insel San Francisco

      July 2 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Heute Morgen machten wir einen Spaziergang zum Pazifik. Am Pazifik angekommen stiegen wir in ein Schiff und fuhren zur GefängnisInsel Alcatraz.
      Diese Insel diente früher zum Schutz von San Francisco. Ab dem Jahr 1861 war es ein Kriegsgefangenenlager. Anfangs des Jahr 1930 wurde die Insel zu einer wort wörtlichen Gefängnis Insel umgebaut.
      Vom Jahr 1934 bis 1963 war das gefängnis voll im Takt .1964 musste man das Gefängnis aufgeben weil die Betriebs kosten zu hoch waren und heute ist die Insel unbewohnt.Auf der Insel gabes eine Feuerwehr eine gärtnerei Bibliothek Wassertank und einen Elektronikladen.
      Die Insel war 2 Kilometer vom Festland entfernt und steht meistens im Nebel sonst würde man auf die Golden Gate Bridge sehen. Das gute daran war kein Verbrecher konnte fliehen wegen den Felsen und der Strömung.
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    Fisherman's Wharf

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