Golden Gate & George Michael

The flight to San Francisco was delayed due to a storm in the US midwest, but this just resulted in us arriving at the same time our family did. The plan was that we would stay in San Francisco for two nights to ease their jet lag and then journey on to Hawaii to spend 10 days on 2 of the islands. They would finish off their holiday back in San Francisco and we would carry on across the Pacific on our journey to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.


Open up your Golden Gate California, the gang's all here

All luggage picked up, we boarded the shuttle for the hotel, and some welcome food and drinks to start our time together. Next day it was an early start to catch the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system train to the Embarcadero station of the San Francisco’s bay area.

Honest Richie you'll love San Francisco's public transport

The plan was to show them some of the highlights of San Francisco and to familiarise them with how to get around the city. Richard would agree, by the end of the day, we  had certainly taught them how to wait for local buses!!

View of Alcatraz from the Embarcadero Bay front area in San Francisco

From the Embarcadero we walked along the bay front to the Pier that the trips to Alcatraz left from and then on to Pier 39, to see the seals that spent a lot of the year here, and where we could also take in some open air entertainment. On that day live auditions we being held for people who would sing the national anthem at the opening home game of the San Franciscan 49ers 2011 NFL season which would start in early September. Some great voices were heard plus some not so great!! Then it was off to buy a day city transport pass, which could be used on the famous ‘Trolley Car’ system as well as local buses. First call on the bus system was the Golden Gate bridge.

A San Francisco icon...the Golden Gate Bridge

It took a while to get there, but finally we made it and walked up on to the first part of the famous Californian iconic structure.

See Rich it didn't take a long time to get here....well not too long

A bit of a wait in the unbelievably small car and bus parking area at the end of the bridge, and we dispatched the ladies and Michael (or is it ‘George’?*) in a taxi to the Top of the Mark Hotel, to arrange for some drinks in a well known San Franciscan bar on the top floor which also had great views of the city.

Great view of the city from Top of the Mark hotel bar

In the meantime myself and Richard managed to squeeze ourselves on the next bus to start what turned out to be a marathon journey back to the centre of the city. Leaving the bus behind we then had to climb some of the famous steep roads up the hotel, which were, to say the least testing!! Richards views cannot be published here as they were removed by the censors. He was still recovering from knee surgery though to be fair.

The ladies had done a good job going ahead to get the drinks in ready for us

The very welcome drinks were consumed and then we took the short journey to a Trolley Car stop for our journey to a restaurant. The previous trip to San Francisco, had taught Linz and I, that it would be best to make a reservation at any restaurant in the city. Thank goodness Linz had taken care of this earlier in the day, as 2 Trolley Car journeys later we arrived at our very, very busy restaurant, to be shown to our table ahead of a long line of speculative visitors.

On our way back to the hotel for a well earned kip....we just had to take a San Francisco trolley car

We ha a great meal to round off our day in the city. Then it was back to the Embarcadero to take the BART back to the Airport hotel for some well earned kip before our early flights to Hawaii the next morning.


Jet lag takes its toll on Mick and Richie

[*Michael, had been registered as 'George' on his Birth Certificate when he was born, but a mishap at his christening, had resulted in him being called Michael for his whole life........later in the trip it would come back to haunt him!!]

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