the all the way to San Francisco day

Saturday 26 November 2016

For someone whose goal is to go someplace new once a year I am doing well, and about to embark on the third someplace I haven’t been, this year.

Today I am going to San Francisco to visit my wonderful, brave daughter, K. She left home and left Australia just over four months ago on a twelve month US work visa to San Francisco. On her own. She has a good job with a start up company, lives in a share house with great people and I am so proud of her for doing this. What a fantastic experience for her.

This will also be a solo trip for me as Peter is unable to take leave from work. K will be working during the days but I will see her in the evenings and on the weekends. The days are mine to explore San Francisco.

Anyways, I am flying Perth to Sydney, then Sydney to San Francisco, with over 17 hours flying time to get there. I leave at Perth at 5:50am,  flying backwards in time to land in San Fran at 9:30am on the same day – today.

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I left home around 3:30am, my daughter A driving me to the airport, dropping me off and went home to her bed. Peter was working and often has to go to the airport as part of his job, so he was able to come say goodbye to me for a few minutes. This was a domestic flight to Sydney so there was no immigration and customs to go through, just security, so it wasn’t long before I was in the departure lounge. Seeing as summer starts next week the days are longer (yay!) and the sun rose while I was waiting for my flight.

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As always I had a window seat and spent a lot of time looking out the window and taking photos.

Shortly after take off

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Somewhere over the south west of Western Australia

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Crossing the south coast of Western Australia, to the Great Australian Bight

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Flying over the coast of South Australia, I think near the Port Lincoln area

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I believe, though I could be wrong, we are flying over the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. It was so beautiful to fly over but the photos really don’t do it justice

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Approaching Sydney, New South Wales, it is such a pretty sight

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When the plane landed in Sydney I only had two hours before my flight to San Francisco was due to leave. It took quite a while before we were allowed to start leaving the plane and then quite a while longer before I was able to finally get moving. I had to go to another gate to catch the shuttle bus to the international terminal, that was another ten minute wait. Luckily I already had my boarding pass and my luggage was checked in straight through to San Fran so I didn’t have to worry about that.

When I got to immigration it was just an hour before my plane was due to leave so I asked an immigration officer if I would have enough time as there were a lot of people. She seemed to think I would be fine and didn’t need to be fast tracked. After immigration it was time for the customs and security. By the time I got to the departure gate it was around 30 minutes before boarding was due to start. I was so stressed that I would miss my flight but I needn’t’ve worried. My flight was delayed by about 45 minutes due to passengers on a incoming connection coming in on a delayed flight. I was so relieved. But I also had time to get some munchies for the flight.

Looking down the runway at the beginning of a 13-and-a-half hour flight

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Sydney sure is pretty though I was on the wrong side of the plane for a glimpse of the bridge and the opera house.

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Once we left Sydney behind there was nothing but ocean and as we were flying east it wasn’t too long before it was getting dark. Thirteen hours of trying to watch movies and trying to sleep, then finally we were almost there.

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Approaching the California coast

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I zoomed in to the max to get a glimpse of San Fran

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The plane landed about 10:30am then there was the long walk to immigration and another long walk. Then I saw my baby daughter. And she was taking a photo of me and snapchatting it to her siblings. Then I got to hug her. Tight.

We took an Uber to my hotel, the Herbert, on Powell Street. It is a fantastic location, very close to Union Square and public transport. The world famous cable cars run right out the front of the hotel with a stop right out the front and the end of the line just 150 metres down the street.

I was able to check in straight away and though I was tired I didn’t want to waste any time. I had a shower to freshen up and got some warm clothes on as it is cold here where it is coming into winter as opposed to home where it is coming into summer. We decided to go to Fisherman’s Wharf so the first stop was to Walgreen’s, which is next door to the hotel, to get myself a seven day travel pass for $40 US which gave me unlimited rides on the cable cars, streetcars and buses (not the BART trains) which I think is a really good deal.

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We walked to Market Street to catch the F which is the line with the vintage trams streetcars from other US cities and even some from overseas. I absolutely love these vintage trams so much I made it my mission to take photos of as many of them as I could.

Forgot to mention that it was a bit of a rainy day.

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We went to lunch at Boudin Bakery in Fisherman’s Wharf and had a clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. It was so yummy.

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Here with the first of the random streetcar photos. Each one had a sign on the side saying where they originally came from and a number. It was like train spotting, only tram spotting 🙂

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After lunch we just walked around the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 area.We found some seals and found some rain too. I also got my first look at Alcatraz and I was surprised by how close it is, somehow I expected it to be further out. Part of the building are under maintenance and covered in white covers.

Alcatraz, with Angel Island behind it

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Found the seals

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Had a bit of a wander through Pier 39, saw a sock shop and a lefty shop. Being the mother of a lefty I was interested in what products they stocked.

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When we had enough and decided to head back to the hotel I wanted to go by cable car so we walked to Beach & Hyde which is the beginning of the Powell-Hyde line at the Fisherman’s Wharf end. To get there we walked past the beginning of the F line and there were several streetcars lined up there.

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A few photos and we kept on walking to the cable car

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We got to the cable car and there was a long line. We waited for over an hour through rain and shine. Lucky there was a kind young woman in front of us who shared her umbrella with us when it rained.

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Turning the cable car around

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Finally we managed to get on a cable car. The cable runs continuously under the road and the driver uses the levers and pedals and stuff to grip it tighter or looser to stop or go. Not sure of the ins and outs of it but this is the what it looks like

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My first cable car ride was exciting. I don’t think I have ever been anywhere with hills like in San Francisco so some of the downhills were a little hairy, but this was just the first time.

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The top of famous Lombard Street, aka Crooked Street

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Going past Union Square

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We got off at the end of the line at the bottom of Powell Street

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We got some Mexican food at a van, Senor Sisig. K was excited to see it as she has had it before. We took it back to the hotel and it was ok. By this time I was knackered and was falling asleep by 7:30pm. K left me to it and took herself off home. She will be back in the morning for a day trip to Angel Island.

 

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