Monday, 31 October 2011

Thurs 27th Oct A visit to Alcatraz

Early start for us today, despite the late night at Yoshis. We got the ferry at 9am across the bay to the infamous prison, Alcatraz. As we docked we got a warm welcome from the park rangers. I don’t think the previous occupants were so keen to look round.
The inmates had a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge and I bet they spend many an hour gazing at the horizon.
Charlie, it looks as though they have got the tank ready for  your inspection!
I’m not sure I want to go in here.
And I definitely wouldn’t want to share this shower

Someone was having a laugh when they named the rows of cells, Broadway, Times Square and Michigan Ave.
After being cooped up for 20-22 hours you got the enjoyment of the exercise yard

We thought we’d try out the cells for size I felt a bit nervous, remember the fim The Rock!!
Who’d have thought that these  big, bad men would crochet (pink blanket)

Or paint/sketch

On the way back from Alcatraz we walked along Fishermans Wharf and saw these pieces of topiary decorating the flower beds

We popped in our local bakery for a coffee and…… a piece of cake, sorry ate it before I could snap it!

Once refreshed we headed downtown to finish off our Bus tour. First stop was the Martin Luther King Memorial. They have built a beautiful waterfall, which you can walk behind and inscribed on the wall is his famous "I have a dream" speech. it was very moving.

It's situated in a very pretty park surrounded by some amazing buildings.

Early night tonight because tomorrow we're off on an awfully big adventure.....we're cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tues 25th Oct Off to San Francisco

Next stop San Francisco. The first strange thing was we had Tuesday twice! We set of from Auckland at 6.15pm and arrived in San Francisco at 10.30 am!! A Groundhog day.
We quickly dropped of our bags and checked out Fishermans Wharf. The sun was shining. First impressions…..lots of restaurants! First meal was a local dish Cioppino, which is a type of fish broth, Phil had shrimp pasta.

San Francisco is a foodie’s heaven 3 eateries per person and there’s approximately 850,000 people here. Good job we’re only here 4 days as I’m down to one pair of stretchy jeans that still fit…..just!

The next day we take the Big Red Bus for a tour of the town. The sky is bright blue and not a trace of the fog that San Francisco is famous for. Lots to see, a fabulous skyline.

The young lady who poised for this statue on Union square, married a very rich sugar merchant who was twice her age and coined the phrase “Sugar Daddy”
Chinatown was fascinating, crowded, noisy and so colourful.

We got off the bus in Chinatown and had a good look round before walking on to Little Italy. There were some great restaurants and delis

It’s almost Halloween here and people have begun to decorate their balconies.
We walked on towards Coit Tower.
We thought
Baldwin Street
was steep in Dunedin but hey this was definitely steeper!
The views from the tower were spectacular. The famous Golden Gate Bridge
And then the lesser known Bay Bridge which was built before the Golden Gate.
Also Alcatraz, which we are visiting tomorrow.
Tonight we went to a Jazz club we had been recommended, Yoshi’s

It was a jamming session and the trumpeter was brilliant
Fabulous music, stunning food, what more could we want.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sun 23rd Oct Game on

4 million Kiwis have been waiting 24 years for this. The atmosphere is electric, the anticipation, the hope, the belief that the All Blacks can do it this time. To fail is unthinkable, so close so far. Now the All Black fans know how it feels to be an England fan!. The All blacks are so successful that they can’t believe that they will fail, but history is playing on their mind. The haka is so powerful especially when the French stand up to them and advance towards the haka.
But don’t worry after a really close game despite the strength of the French the All Blacks succeed!!! The first sensation is of relief it’s over the 24 year long wait to rule the world then jubilation. I’m really glad we can say that we were there when the All Blacks won. It was an amazing piece of sporting history. Having said that if I was a French supported I would have felt robbed, but that’s sport.

When we emerged from the train at the waterfront we were confronted with a mass of mental fans just celebrating this massive achievement. Well done New Zealand for putting on a fantastic World Cup I hope we can do the same in 2015 .

OK off to San Francisco on Tuesday on the way home.    

Sun23rd Finals day part 2

Ok after al that adrenalin we need a drink. So it’s off to the Rendezvous Hotel for our final hospitality party. We have seen the same group of people at the hotel. Mostly Kiwis who are very anxious about the impending game. On paper the All Blacks have it but their playing their nemesis France. The food has been delicious and the drinks free flowing and I would definitely do this again. We sat with a couple from Mount Wanganui who had travelled up for the games. The music was good and everyone was enjoying themselves
This guy had an amazing hair cut.

We decided to join in the fun

On the way to the bus we said our goodbyes to the landlord of The Playhouse, Dave

We hopped on a bus to take us to the game and I think we joined the only French bus. They were full of song and it was very entertaining listening to them.
The whole atmosphere was fantastic. Plenty of entertainment on the way to the ground.
How about this for a glass of wine! I think it was a vase!!!!!!
Lots of outdoor sofas

Game on