Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Summer Vacation Part 4: San Francisco

I apologize in advance for how long this post is going to be.  I couldn't narrow it down anymore then I already did haha.  

We accidentally made our first stop at this amazing view point right near the Golden Gate Bridge.  We were actually looking for the parking lot to park so we could ride across the bridge but this was pretty cool to come across.  The girls were so excited.  This was Penelope's first time here since she was in our belly the first time we came and Finley was only like 20 months old so although she claims otherwise, she doesn't remember any of it.  

We finally found the parking lot and got our bikes off the journey and started biking across the bridge and back.  Although you can't tell from this photo, it was insanely busy and the worst part wasn't even all of the tourists but the angry locals who tried to squeeze through anything and everything.  It was the worst.  Finley and I cruised pretty fast through the crowds.  It was very cold over the water.

Greg and Penelope finally got to the other side eventually.  Penelope struggled with the cold but they did get to see 2 whales which finley and I never got to see.  I can't lie, this made me a bit jealous.  The ride back to the car went way faster and was much warmer.  

We detoured to Lombard Street on our way to the California Academy of Science.  Greg drove down in the car while the girls and I walked down it.  

There was so much traffic near the academy and roads were already closed for the San Francisco Marathon the following day so after driving in circles or attempting to anyways, we decided to just park and ride our bike to there instead.   It's located in Golden Gate Park so it had several accessible pathways and roads to get there easily and far quicker.  

We came here the first time and some of the exhibits have changed but most of it was the same.  The girls really enjoyed it and Greg did too.  The giant bubble like thing in this photo is the Osher Rainforest.  It is a living 4 story rainforest which is home to birds and butterflies that fly around to their hearts content.  There are too many snakes that aren't easy to get by without seeing which makes me unhappy since I hate snakes. 

This is Claude, an albino Amercian alligator.  It was one of my favourite things of the academy.  

This was also pretty cool.  It moves as the earth moves and every time it moves it knocks over one of the domino like things.  We never got to see anything get knocked over unfortunately.

What I think is a very random water fall in the middle of Golden Gate Park.  I have no idea where it was sourced from but we enjoyed seeing it. 

After our academy adventures, we headed to our hotel to check in and shower and have a bit of a rest before heading to fisherman's wharf for supper.  We went to Joe's Crab Shack which is a chain, which we try not to do but it's affordable and really good and really busy.  We had to wait awhile for a table but the view and food made it worth it.  

After supper we walked to Ghiradelli's for dessert.  Penelope and I had their traditional elaborate sundae while Greg and Finley's was chocolate mint version.  I don't like mint.  I wanted to try something a bit more fun but Penelope was not willing to do that so I was stuck with that.  It was still good so I guess that is good haha.  We had a long day so we headed back to our hotel for an early bedtime.  

The next morning, I was up early so I could get my run in.  The San Francisco Marathon was going on and it was crazy busy.  I ran 10km along side them and it was super foggy but really cool to see.  I headed back to the hotel to shower and have breakfast before we made our way to the bus stop to get to the cable car station.  We made it on the first one of the day and managed to get seats too which was exciting.  Penelope was loving it big time.  When we got off of  it, Greg did a classic full house moment which I shared on Instagram if you haven't seen it.  The girls have never seen it and had no idea what was going on haha. 

Here is the cable car we were on.  We also rode a bus, took an uber, took a trolley, took the muni, took a trolley car, biked and walked plus we drove our on vehicle.  I think we did everything possible transportation wise haha. Once we got off the cable car, we took the trolley to the embarcadero which was crazy busy because of the marathon.  

After waiting at a very long line at the closest starbucks for the best drink I have had in ages, we finally got to the California Exploratorium.  This is another super cool science centre in San Francisco but it is more interactive then Telus Spark.  This is how Telus Spark should be done. 

Posing to see themselves on a big screen.  The girls loved this.  

This was a pretty cool exhibit.  Although I have no idea what it meant or what it was for or anything like that haha.  We just put this globe over our head and pushed a button to get it change colour.  I think it was kinda mood ring like but not really since it was controlled by a button.  Regardless, all 4 of us tried this and liked it hhaha. 

This is where all the magic comes alive.  This is where all of the exhibits and displays are created and imagined.  It was fun to see a couple of people hard at work.  

This is a vintage type writer taken a part and then glued to a canvas and displayed to be seen.  I absolutely loved this and would have loved to to have brought it home to hang in my house.  I have no idea why I love it as much as I do but I really love it. 

This is made all out of toothpicks and glue.  It was ridiculous.  It was so large you can't even see the bottom portion of it since it was too tall for my iPhone to capture it.  We spent almost 3 hours there and although science centres are not my most favourite thing to do in the world, I enjoyed this one far more then the California Academy of Science.  We went with Finley when it was at their old location 7 years ago and this new location at Pier 13 was wayyyy bigger and geared towards kids both young and old.  

After we left the Exploratorium, we headed down to the wharf and went to In + Out for lunch.  This is one of our favourite places to eat when in California.  We have also ate at one near Las Vegas and I think there are also some locations in Arizona and Utah. If you ever come across one , you must stop and give it a try - even if there is a long wait because it is so delicious.  When we got there, they were serving number 74 and then it resets at 100 and starts at 0 again and we were number 67.  So there were a lot of orders ahead of it.  Penelope and I found a table outside in the courtyard and she kept peeking in the window watching the In N Out staff work and make french fries.  It was a great way to pass the time while we waited for the lunch.  

After lunch, we walked down to Fisherman's Wharf and used our city pass to get passes to the Rocket Boat later that afternoon.  We could do a 30 minute rocket boat or a 60 minute cruise while packed in like sardines so we chose the rocket instead. 

Checking out the sea lions who call the wharf home.  They were so cute and showing off.  They were loud and playful and really fun to watch.  

We went to the Aquarium of The Bay and it was a freaking zoo.  They are a non profit but cram as many people as they can inside the aquariam that you can barely move.  The wait for getting on elevators and between floors is insane and the whole experience was just plain awful.  I am really glad this was included in the city pass because it was $26 for adults and so not worth it.  Penelope and I did see a shark swim over top of us and eat a bunch of dead fish in front of him without missing a beat.  It was pretty awesome. 

We walked through the main shopping area of the wharf and it was insanely busy.  People were everywhere.  Penelope bought a sea lion and a san francisco themed snow globe. 

Finally it was time for our rocket boat ride and we were able to escape the crazy crowds for a little bit.  Before we got on the boat, we went onto Open Table to see what we could find for supper so we didn't have to wait for dinner which was a huge relief to be able to do.  The boat ride was so much fun.  Penelope didn't want to go on it at first but asked to go 50 more times once we got off.  We didn't get too wet and we had some amazing views of the bay area from the water.  A way better option then the boring boat ride. 

For supper, we had reservations at Boudin Bistro and Greg and I shared 2 pounds of dungness crab and it was pretty good.  We walked through a few more souvenir shops before taking the bus back to our hotel since our kids had become nightmares to deal with.  It was another early night to bed for us 4.

On Monday morning, we took the bus downtown and did some shopping and looking around at the little street markets that they have set up.  

We had lunch at Gotts which we have done all 3x that we have visited San Francisco.  We had tried to go the day before but it was far too busy with all the people and family of the marathoners.  This day, we got there right after it opened and it wasn't too busy but it didn't take long before it was completely full and the lines were long again.  This place is so good and everything is locally sourced and organic.  You won't be disappointed. 

After lunch, we took the muni to Mission so we could hang out at Delores Hill.  Greg and I were here alone 2 years ago and we came here and it was crazy busy with singles, friends and families hanging out.  You can drink open alcohol while here and as long as you don't get loser drunk or cause a scene, the cops won't ticket you.  It was petty awesome.  The playground is really well done too with areas for all age groups. 

Both kids got bored at the playground and mine and greg's relaxing afternoon with this view was short-lived.  We hopped back on the muni and headed down to the embarcadero so Finley could find a souvenir for herself at the wharf.  We stopped at a starbucks for a caffeine and washroom break before taking the trolley from the embarcadero to the wharf.  

We explored every souvenir shop from the wharf all the way down to the end of the touristy area.  Finley bought a stuffed seal and we picked out a onesie for Aunty Kristy's new baby and I bought myself a new bunny hug (hoodie for those who aren't from Saskatchewan).  We stopped and took photos at all the statues and grabbed some ice cream for the girls before heading back to the hotel for a quick nap and to get ready for the Giants Baseball game. 

The first time we came to San Francisco, the giants played in oakland so we went there for the baseball game.  We were so disappointed that we weren't able to go to AT+T Park and then last time, it wasn't baseball season.  We were really excited to come to the game.  The stadium was beautiful and the views from inside were amazing.  I don't think there is a more beautiful place to watch professional sports from.  The Giants lost 10 - 3 but we still had a good time.  We took am uber home and it was pretty cool to finally get to ride in one!

This was taken on our final morning in San Francisco.  We slept in a little and then got some groceries and then stopped here to say good bye to the golden gate bridge.  We were all sad to leave.  I ran along here on Sunday and it was so foggy that I couldn't see anything so it was nice to be able to see everything so clearly.

A rare photo of Greg and I!!  Taken by  Penelope!!

We left San Franicisco and headed to Yosemite National Park but before that we took one final drive down Lomabrd Street and the girls loved it.  We can't wait to come back to San Francisco again but it definitely won't be during the summer - it was wayyyyy to busy for us.  

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