United States
Strauss Playground

Here you’ll find travel reports about Strauss Playground. Discover travel destinations in the United States of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

8 travelers at this place:

  • Day166

    San Francisco

    June 1, 2017 in the United States

    Gestern bin ich früh aufgestanden und mit dem Zug nach San Francisco gefahren. Das Velo habe ich mitgenommen um mich in der Stadt besser fortbewegen zu können. Am Morgen war das Wetter super, später kam dann der typische Nebel... Es war ein super Tag, San Francisco ist echt dine geniale Stadt! Ich glaubd hier kann man locker eine Woche verbringen und hat noch nicht alles gesehen. Ich habe mich auf die Highlights wie Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, die Piers, Downtown und natürlich die Lombart Street beschränkt.
    Am Abend war ich dann ziemlich fertig, da es doch einige Hügel zu erklimmen galt... So war ich froh wieder zurück in Pleasanton zu sein und mit Rene einen Gin Tonic zu geniessen :D
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  • Day7

    San Francisco

    September 28, 2017 in the United States

    Nach der Alcatraz Tour sind wir zum Pier 39 und haben dort Fish & Chips gegessen und uns danach ein Fahrrad ausgeliehen, damit ging es dann zur Golden Gate Bridge. Vorher haben wir noch kurz am Strand gechillt und dann ging es weiter durch San Francisco zum Golden Gate Park - wo wir Kolibrie gesehen haben - und anschließend wieder zum Hotel. Jetzt sind wir fix und fertig und gleich geht's ins Bett, haben den Weg bisschen unterschätzt, da es hier alles doch sehr bergig ist.....Read more

  • Day17

    Hello San Francisco!

    December 29, 2011 in the United States

    Greetings everyone from foggy San Francisco!

    On Thursday morning we were picked up bright and early by our driver from Delancey's Car Service. It was cheaper to hire an SUV for $70 to take all of us and our goods and chattels to the airport than it was to get 2 taxis.

    It was a nice touch for our last views of New York to be in the morning sun though the photo opportunities were limited. The car trip was actually our first car trip for 2 weeks and it is terrifying. Apart from the fact every fibre of your being is screaming to get on the other side of the road the road rules are really viewed as mere guidelines. A red light means the person behind you has to stop, you don't. Want to change lanes, just do it. Speed limit ... what speed limit?

    Anyway, I digress. We were flying in a Delta 757 and we had the very back row to ourselves - 3 seats on either side. Don't know how we ended up in the back row but it was pretty comfortable. Dave took a few good photos of Manhattan from the plane as we took off from JFK.

    The trip across was interesting, I slept for the first bit, it was cloudy anyway. There were lots of farms across Iowa which gave way to snow into Wyoming and Nevada as we neared the Rocky Mountains. You could see the lakes were frozen and it looked damn cold. The mountains also meant a few patches of turbulence which always keeps it interesting.

    We could see the El Capitan mountain as we were getting closer to San Francisco. Really big, but we'll see it close-up on Saturday when we do our Yosemite tour so more on that later.

    We made it to San Francisco but landed from the south so there wasn't much to see except the typical San Francisco Bay fog. Our transfer was with Go Lorries transfers, it was warp factor 5 again but at least he didn't speak Klingon. We are staying at the Handlery Union Square Hotel which is quite old but very central. We went for a bite just up the road at David's Delicatessen which was one of those old style dinners where the waiter worked in the middle and everyone sat around the outside. We then went for a walk around Union Square and the main shopping district.

    The shops were much the same as New York but laid out completely differently of course, Manhattan has a very convenient grid layout which San Francisco doesn't - damn rude. One thing we did find was a huge Westfield! And we saw our first cable car!

    We have noticed that there are a lot of beggers. There were a lot in New York also but they were more spread out, in San Fran there seem to be a few on every corner. After wandering around in Nordstroms, the Ferrari Shop, American Eagle, Kate Spade, and even Walgreens we headed back to the Hotel. We are starting at 8am tomorrow morning for a tour of San Francisco and a trip to Alcatraz.

    More tomorrow!
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  • Day18

    Escape from Alcatraz

    December 30, 2011 in the United States

    Friday was a tour of San Francisco and then Alcatraz in the afternoon. We were scheduled for pick up at 8am so it was an early start. The truck was embarrassing to say the least, a huge white thing with zebra stripes - it was themed as an urban safari and we were on safari, pith helmets and all.

    Anyway we cruised around a few hotels to collect others and then we headed in the general direction of the Golden Gate bridge. The first stop was the Palace of Fine Arts, a huge Grecian palace with urns and godesses. This was originally built from chicken wire and cement for an expo in the early 1900s but was loved so much it was rebuilt using moulded cement and now it looks amazing. The large dome can be seen for miles.

    Then we headed out to the Golden Gate Bridge and stopped underneath the southern pylon. Needless to say the fog hid most of the bridge. There is a walk/cycle way from Fisherman's Wharf to the bridge and after 9/11 they stopped people walking around the fort so someone called Hopper put a set of hands up so people could touch the fence before they headed back, there are also a set of paw prints for the dog walkers (see the picture).

    Then we went for a drive through the Presidio. This is a large former military base that was returned to the people in the 1990s. It is also the scene of a movie of the same name starring Sean Connery and Meg Ryan. It was interesting driving around having a look.

    The weather meant we couldn't see a lot but the tour took us to City Hall, the Fairmont Hotel, Fisherman's Wharf, and past the Painted Ladies. A few interesting facts:

    - San Francisco Bay area (includes the cities of Oaklands, San Jose, Sausalito, and a number of other big towns) has a population of 8 million people
    - San Francisco itself has a population of 800,000 - a lot smaller than Adelaide
    - It has a very large gay population
    - It has a very large homeless population
    - Another huge earthquake is expected in the next 15 years
    - There are more dogs than children as it is a very expensive city to live in
    - Famous residents include OJ Simpson and Joe Dimaggio

    Anyway. The afternoon was Alcatraz. Before it became a notorious gaol this island, which is a short 12 minute ferry ride from the City, was a fort and military prison. Many of the buildings on the island relate to that past rather than the prison. We walked up the hill to the main prison block looking at the old fortifications and buildings, many had been destroyed by fire at sometime so the whole island has a sort of post apocalyptic feel about it.

    The cell block was really interesting. They give you an audio headset to listen to as you walk around so you know who was in what cell and something about the history. The Clint Eastwood movie is pretty close to the truth about the only escape, 3 of them disappeared so they don't know if they made it or not. There was also another near breakout that ended in some guards being killed and the Marines dropping grenades on prisoners from the roof. I'll add comments to the photos so you can get a better understanding.

    One interesting story was that Al Capone was brought across the country by train and the train carriage he was in was lifted onto a barge to take him to Alcatraz so he never left the train. Alcatraz wasn't real big with about 300 prisoners as a maximum but it sure was uncomfortable.

    We caught the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf and had crab cakes and I tried a corn dog ... and then wished I hadn't. It is very touristy but interesting regardless. We tried to get a cable car back to the hotel but there was a 1 hour wait so we caught a trolley bus instead. They have an interesting system here - Pop, you'll like this - for their trolley car network they have antique trolley cars from various US and international cities. So you might see trolley car from Philadelphia in a 1940's colour scheme, or one from an international city at a particular point in time - there is meant to be one from Melbourne but we haven't seen it yet. So rather than have them sit in a museum the old cars are actually used on the network - what a great idea. The fare was $2 to take you back into the city, vs $6 on a cable car.

    Tomorrow it's off to visit Sam ... Yosemite Sam that is.
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  • Day19

    An amazing place

    December 31, 2011 in the United States

    Saturday was an early start. We were picked up at 6.30am and were on the road by 7.30, before the sun was even up. The bus headed across the Bay Bridge to Oakland and into the San Joaquim Valley. This is a very large, very flat valley behind San Francisco, our destination was Yosemite National Park.

    The San Joaquim Valley would be a difficult place to live. Seems like there was a lot of unemployment and a lot of migrant workers. The current economic environment would not have helped matters and the ever-present fog did not enhance the area's appeal. Once through the Valley, and after a fat breakfast of burgers, we started to climb the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The scenery started to change with high mountains and granite outcrops starting to become common. Finally after about 5 hours driving we arrived.

    The Yosemite Valley was quite simply stunning. The pictures below do not do it justice, even when you are standing there looking at it you can't believe you aren't looking at a painting. The valley was carved in the last ice age and was not discovered until about 1851 as it is quite a remote place and you do travel through rough terrain to get there. It's surprising that while the Indians of course knew about the valley the Spanish and the Mexicans who settled this area at various stages didn't find it, it wasn't until the California Gold Rush pushed white people into remote areas that it was found.

    The first photo stop was at a look out called Tunnel View, named because there is a road tunnel close by. This is the typical view of Yosemite with the big peak called El Capitan on the left and the half dome in the distance on the right and a flat valley floor covered in pine trees. I'm not going to try and describe it have a look at the pictures, the white bits you can see around to top of the valley are frozen waterfalls and there was some ice along the sides of the river but it wasn't that cold at all.

    I was watching the news the other day and they were saying that last year the US had 125% of their average snow fall, this year they have had just 25% and everyone was commenting about how little snow there has been. Usually the valley would have had a lot of snow at this time of year.

    We were dropped at the visitors centre and told we had about 3 hours before we had to be back. We walked around looking at Yosemite Falls, headed across the other side of the Valley and did a walk up one of the many walking trails. It sure was steep and being bear, coyote, and mountain lion country you tend to stay alert. We then headed back down across the meadows at the bottom of the valley for the trip home.

    We arrived back in San Francisco at about 9.30pm. We managed to stay awake until midnight and that was that.

    Tommorrow we hang out in San Fran for the day.

    Happy New Year from all of us.
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  • Day20

    New Years Day in San Francisco

    January 1, 2012 in the United States

    New Years Day in San Francisco was a pretty quiet affair.

    We slept in for an hour or so to recover from the big trip the day before. The first thing on the agenda was to ride a Cable Car. These are the only National Monuments of the US that move, others are things like Statue of Liberty and a collection of National Parks. It's best to start early to ride one of these otherwise the queue is massive.

    The closest Cable Car to the Hotel was the Powell and Hyde Street line. Two of us sat on the outside and 2 of us stood on the running board. When another car is going past they call out for those standing on that side to look out. The Brakeman in the middle works quite hard and has to have a delicate touch to make the trip as smooth as possible othrwise it would be uncomfortable as the hills are quite huge. The brakes are lumps of wood they rub along the tracks so there is always the smell of burning wood and they are certainly applied early. The locals seem to accept the Cable Cars stopping in the middle of intersections as the brakes are a little soft or the tourists have a good photo opportunity. There would be a bit of weight on them as they are usually crammed full of tourists.

    The Cable Car took us all the way to Fisherman's Wharf where we strolled along with the crowds. There is a large group of Sea Lions that live in one of the docks, they have their own area and can get up to a few hundred in number. They have their own docks with pontoons and are pretty much left alone.

    You might have noticed something different?

    Look at the photos.

    Yes San Francisco really does exist! It isn't just some foggy place where they say there is a city around you but you can't see it because of the fog, there REALLY is a city there!!!!! This was our first really clear day so we could see the Golden Gate Bridge.

    We caught the trolley bus back into the city and walked along their main shopping street Market Street. We needed to buy another bag to cope with the additional luggage we seem to have accumulated ... dunno where it has all come from.

    In the afternoon we went to the movies. We saw Sherlock Holmes, it was quite good and at $10.75 for adults and big comfy seats it was a little different to the Australian version.

    After the movie we headed to Chinatown for dinner. I have to say it wasn't as good as the New York version but it was OK. They are allowed to have fire crackers so we bought a couple of packets and made a bit of noise throwing them on the ground as we were heading back to the Hotel.

    This was our last night in San Francisco, tomorrow we head off to Laid Back LA.
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  • Day1

    Crafty Fox Ale House

    October 23, 2017 in the United States

    Great place, maybe not my favorite location... Right under the 101. But a great beer list. Temescal Wade Out IPA was the winner of the day.

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Strauss Playground

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