Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Well, hi there all, we finally made it to San Francisco!
After an emotional leaving of Ulverston last week we arrived at our fabulous friends in Berkhamsted who so generously put us up for the few days before flying. So a big, big thank you to Stuart, Jayne, Sadie and Alice! The few days we spent down south were busy whilst Fran saw loads of old friends in Berko and London and I made a trip up to Norfolk to see my Mum who sadly lost her partner last week. There was a grand lunch at the Old Mill in Berkhamsted with yet more tearful goodbyes where it was especially emotional for Fran saying goodbye to her Mum and Dad. All of a sudden it was Tuesday and we were on the way to Heathrow Airport through the drizzle on the M25.
We flew from BA’s new Terminal 5, a massive hangar full of the usual shops, but the 3 hour wait wasn’t too bad. There was a Giraffe restaurant where we had a hearty brunch which was pretty yummy and before we knew it we were filing on to a Jumbo Jet and off to the States.
Although nearly 11 hours, the flight went quite quickly and we were soon stepping out into the sunshine of California. We left the UK at 2pm and arrived at our hotel at about 7.30pm, a long time in hours but actually not too bad for the jet lag. We managed to stay up till about 10 and had a drink in the bar downstairs, watching the Giants play baseball on the TV. I got the lowdown on the team and the basics of baseball from a guy sitting next to us at the bar, completely forgotten it all now though! We slept good although at 4am Fran was ‘insomniating‘ about various plans and exciting things. We’re staying at the San Remo Hotel in Downtown SF which is a charming old fashioned place with lots of corridors branching off everywhere and quirky details. The room’s small but comfy with a big old rattly ceiling fan which is lovely and cooling, ah…
Today we had a good walking tour taking in a stump up to the Coit Tower with fantastic views over the city and the bay. There was an ominous looking rolling fog obscuring the Golden Gate Bridge completely, but to the South the sea and sky were as blue as can be. The Coit tower is a monument built in 1931 and has some interesting murals, some inspired by Diego Rivera in the lobby. The elevator ride was accompanied by a bizarre Chinese lift operator who gave us a potted history of the Coit Tower in a kind of weird sing-song voice which was barely understandable yet somehow enlightening. We walked down from Telegraph Hill to the Embarcadero and along the front to the Ferry building before going up to China Town and some welcome chow mien and crispy prawn balls, mmm. China meets Italy at Columbus as we walked back down past the enticing bistros to our hotel in Mason Street, often passed by the clanking and ringing of a Cable Car.
I love San Francisco, it’s a city with so many personalities, but seems relaxed somehow. We are both looking forward exploring it some more.
So at last we’ve arrived and started what is hopefully going to be another grand adventure. Check out our itinerary for an idea of where we’ll be from now until next August…
That’s it for now, see you soon, Matt.