A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: thedeanies

San Francisco - Day Twentytwo

Sunday 25th April 2010

sunny 22 °C

Last day of our holidays and we can’t believe it has gone so quickly. We have loved every minute of it and being able to share such a long holiday with the boys has been magical. I know we all feel that we could have kept on travelling and also could have stayed longer in each place along the way. Thank you to all the people we caught up with for making us feel so welcome and at home. We will miss you and hopefully it won’t be so long until we see you again.

On our last morning in San Francisco we had to have a ride on a tram. We caught one at the start of the line, near our hotel, but unfortunately so did everyone else so we started off inside the tram As soon as someone got off we headed outside and at least managed to have part of the journey sitting on the outside, Andy even hung off the side holding tight to the handrail. We stopped off at Union Square again where we had spotted an American diner. We had breakfast in the diner and the boys were impressed by the real parts of cars and motorbikes hanging on the walls. They also had great fun playing with the individual juke box in our booth! We then caught the tram back to the hotel just in time to check out and head to the airport.

San Francisco airport was a dream and the staff at the Virgin check-in were so lovely. The boys were so chuffed when an American cop on a segway and one on a bike stopped and had long chats with them, they even gave them junior police officer stickers. Then it was onto our last long flight for the journey home.
Back to reality in old blighty and Andy’s Dad greeted us at the airport with a name card….cute! The boys were so pleased to see him it was quite emotional. Amazingly nothing was much different back home and it was hello to the awful jet lag again.

The end of an amazing trip and possibly the start of many more….where to next year…….who knows!

Posted by thedeanies 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

San Francisco - Day Twentyone

Saturday 24th April 2010

sunny 22 °C

Woke up in San Fran, no time and so much to do. We headed for Denny’s for breakfast where the boys were fascinated to watch as a man next to us had burger and chips for breakfast. Don’t you love America!! Andy and I had the healthiest thing on the menu, a bacon and avocado burrito that ended up being ginormous! The boys although lively managed to schmooze the waitresses and Fin did them a lovely picture. They still can’t get used to the portion sizes and all they really want is cereal so Mummy had to finish off their pancakes….hard life!!

We headed for the open top bus and found out when the Golden Gate Bridge tour was, then passed the time in between on one of the piers looking at the old ships and boats, very impressive and the boys loved it. Unfortunately we had to drag them away but it was worth it to see the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather was amazing and the usually foggy San Francisco had crystal clear skies. The bridge was overwhelming and Andy literally wet his pants at the engineering. He had to keep pinching himself! We stopped on the other side and took pictures then the bus took us to a beautiful suburb called Saulsilito where we grabbed an ice cream during the brief stop before we headed back.

Back in San Fran we caught the city sightseeing bus to Union Square which is famous for shopping and Maceys. Oliver was asleep so we managed to look in a couple of shops. Fin is slowly getting into shopping for himself and it was cute to see him wander round Gap touching clothes and saying ‘I quite like this Mummy’. When Oliver woke up we realised he had done a huge wee and was wet through so luckily we were still in Gap and could do an emergency trouser buy. If he wanted some new jeans he only had to ask!! Our very brief shopping time was over as Olly-Bolly was wide awake now and in no mood for sitting. We headed back to the bus stop only to see the last sight-seeing bus drive off in the distance. With too much stuff to be able to hop on a tram it was walking for us.

If anyone reading this has been to San Fran they will appreciate that walking around the city is not simple and I myself did not appreciate how steep the hills were until we got there! We arrived back at the hotel exhausted after pushing Fin in the buggy and carrying Ollie on our shoulders up and down the steepest hills you’ve ever seen! A quick change and then a beer in the hotel bar to try and refresh our tired legs! We headed out again, this time in search of chowder. After trying a restaurant that turned out to be too posh for relaxing with children, very nice people but the warning sign was they didn’t have a children’s menu! In the old days yes but these days we decided it was less stressful to apologise and make a sharp exit!

We found a lovely restaurant on Pier 39 and enjoyed fresh seafood and a delicious chowder, the boys tucked into fish and chips again whilst colouring, much more peaceful. After dinner we took a wander down the pier and watched a magician/street performer, he was amazing and not only made his daughter disappear but set fire to her and stuck swords through her before she magically re-appeared unharmed. All three boys were transfixed! A quick look at the famous seals at the end of the pier and then it was a leisurely stroll back to the hotel to put the boys to bed and frantically re-pack our bags for the journey back tomorrow, yes after careful planning and packing in NZ we arrived in America to find out that our last leg back with Virgin has a totally different luggage allowance to Air New Zealand who we have travelled with so far…happy days!

Posted by thedeanies 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New Zealand / San Francisco - Day Twenty

Friday 23rd April 2010

sunny 22 °C
View Unnamed Trip on thedeanies's travel map.

Up early and a short walk for breakfast at a place called Joes Garage, a cool café done out in a diner style, very happy days! With old tin Tonka toy cars and retro annuals everywhere the boys were in heaven and Andy and I actually had a peaceful breakfast. Great food and very reasonable, would defo recommend that place.

We then hiked a couple of miles at an amazingly fast pace to the nearest supermarket to grab some nappies and stock up on pinkies, perky nanas and tim tams for the folks back home. A couple of mile hike back to the hotel and then it was time to head to the airport.

Firstly we had a transfer flight from Christchurch to Auckland. Then bizarrely we caught the flight from Auckland at 19.30 but landed in San Francisco 10 hours later at 12.30 on the same day. Weird!

Celeb spotting we saw Dom Jolly at San Fran airport but unfortunately that was it! We searched the airport to find a cash point as we had no dollars what so ever but found everyone in the airport friendly…..a big difference from LA airport. After checking in to the hotel and a lovely refreshing hot shower we were ready to do a spot of exploring. America was an attack on the senses after chilled out NZ and Andy and I did take a while to acclimatise to the fact we were in America.

We decided to take the boys to The Rainforest Café, they completely freaked out at first! But after we explained that the gorilla, snake, elephant etc weren’t real and were just models then they relaxed slightly! We forgot how surreal the Rainforest Café was but when the boys warmed to it it was great fun and they gave us a table right next to a giant fish tank.

We thought the best plan would be to buy a ticket for the sightseeing bus as a way of seeing the city’s main sights quickly considering we only really had just over a day and a half in San Fran. It was good value as Andy and I got $10 off each and the boys got to travel for free…score! We started with the night tour, which was actually the early evening while its still light and not freezing tour! Fin fell asleep during the tour and Ollie flirted with the lady behind all the way through but Andy and I enjoyed getting a proper glimpse of what San Fran was all about.

At the end Fin woke up and asked for a Mcd’s so after the boys had shared a happy meal in Mcd’s surrounded by down and outs we headed back to the hotel and hit the hay. Luckily, although they ended up in a bed each with me and Andy the boys slept well.

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New Zealand - Day Nineteen

Thursday 22nd April 2010

sunny 25 °C
View Unnamed Trip on thedeanies's travel map.

Frantic scrabble as the campervan is due back today. We couldn’t pack before as nowhere to store full cases so it was literally a case of throwing things into bags. I really felt like we were doing a moonlit flit. Bags full to bursting I left Andy to empty the nasty bits whilst I kept the boys entertained at the park. Ten minutes later and the van hadn’t moved, craning a look from the climbing frame I found Andy and yes you guessed it he was talking!! A couple of hand signals later and he was back into action!

The journey back didn’t seem as bad in the daylight but it gave Andy the opportunity to see what sheer drops I had been talking about and finally I got some sympathy. It was sad to hand the van back although Andy was ready to give it back as it was so heavy to drive. He was getting a bit stiff!

We headed into Christchurch to our hotel. We booked a hotel for the last night so we could pack properly and sleep in a proper bed with a proper shower. After dumping the bags we walked into town and did a bit of sightseeing. In the town square we chanced upon a Maori youth performing group and were able to see the Haka again. The boys love the Haka and we are more frequently finding them practising it in front of the mirror!!

Feeling tired we found a pub with tables outside under heaters and ordered seafood pizza and nachos with a pitcher of lager (lemonade for the boys). It was cool being in a place frequented by workers and students rather than just tourists. We then headed back and put the boys to bed whilst we spent two hours packing and re-packing. I hate packing!!

Posted by thedeanies 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand - Day Eighteen

Wednesday 21st April 2010

sunny 23 °C
View Unnamed Trip on thedeanies's travel map.

Oliver is back into a routine now so is therefore waking up really early. With him being in the top cabin and also with the small space available in a camper van it is impossible to ignore him. When I go and collect him he is usually facing the wrong way totally disorientated calling out Mimmy, bless. He actually let me snuggle with him for a bit this morning which is very unusual so we spent half an hour doing Eskimo kisses and Butterfly kisses allowing the other boys a bit more peace!

When Andy did finally open his eyes we opened the curtains to be welcomed by an amazing view. The camp site is on top of a hill overlooking Akaroa and the bay, stunning. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to admire it for long as we had booked a harbour boat trip on the net previously. We hiked down the hill to the town which the boys managed amazing well and squeezed in a blueberry muffin and chocolate croissants with coffee and Fluffys (brilliant invention, just a little cup of froth for the boys which stops them dipping their fingers into our froth!) before boarding the boat.

The boat trip was wicked although a bit hairy with Oliver wanting to climb up the railings, he really wanted to go for a swim! We were able to see all sorts of native sea birds, seals, penguins and luckily for this time of year a few shy hector dolphins. I got very excited when I saw something in the distance so I asked a german with a big lense to look for me, felt a bit of a blonde when he informed me it was a boat!

We got off the boat exhausted from clinging on to the boat and the boys but refreshed from the sea air blowing in our faces!! Luckily we found an amazing bar/restaurant with a courtyard area out back. The boys could be noisy and not disturb anyone and also there was a play corner with lots of toys. We were joined out back by another family and we wiled away the afternoon drinking Akaroa Chardonnay and eating fresh seafood with chips whilst the boys tried to impress the little girl and also do a show for us on their ‘pretend stage!’ Heaven.

We then stocked up on supplies and grabbed a few last souveniers. Oliver has a new game where whenever we walk into a shop he shouts out a big hello to the whole shop, luckily for us people think this is cute. We hiked back up the hill with a promise of a treat for the boys if they made to the top. Ready to retire for the night we were pleasantly surprised when the next door campervan offered us food. We explained we were taking the campervan back the next day too so happily set about finishing up crisps, crackers and beer! Wayne and Mardy were from Australia and so lovely, the boys took to them instantly and fin sat happily in a camping chair explaining that he was from the other side of the world! Wish we could stay longer in Akaroa, a really beautiful place.

Posted by thedeanies 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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