Friday, September 9, 2011

Cali Vacation: San Fran Pt 1

During the last week of August and the first few days of September, our little family took our first real family vacation . . . to California! I was so excited because I had never been to California before, plus I couldn't wait to vacation as a family of three. We were away for 11 days, so of course I have too many photos to blog. However, I have so many photos I want to share that this blog will be part one of three :-).

The first day of our vacation was quite a rough day. Our flight was scheduled to leave the nearby airport at 6:00am, so we had to leave our house at 4:15am to give ourselves plenty of time (we live about 30 minutes from the airport). Everything went smoothly at the airport. We had really talked up the whole flying experience to Brianna, so she was excited and taking it all in as we prepared for take-off.

Here we are on the plane (remember, it's EARLY . . . about 5:45am in this photo):
However, after we had boarded, pulled away from the gate, and waited 45 minutes for take-off, the pilot pulled back to the gate and had us all get off the plane due to a ground stop in Memphis, TN (our first destination). Brianna was so funny when this happened! She just kept looking at us like, "Really?!? That's what flying is all about?", especially after we had made such a big deal of the whole thing. We did eventually get back on the plane and make it to Memphis. However, this delay caused us to miss our connecting flight to LA (and from there we flew to Sacramento), so instead of making it to Sacramento at 2:00pm, we didn't make it until 6:30pm. There was also a two hour time change, and we still had to drive about two hours to our hotel in San Francisco for the night. Honestly though, B did GREAT the whole day. She was a trooper!
This video was taken in the Sacramento airport on our way home, but I love how excited B is about the airplane :-)

We thought that B might have a little trouble with the two hour time change, and we were right. Our first morning in San Francisco, she was awake and ready to go at 5:45am! Since it had been a late night the night before, we weren't quite as bright-eyed as she was, but we went with it anyway. It ended up working out really well for us because we were able to get out and start sight-seeing early before the crowds became too bad.

Our first stop was Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf in San Fran. We spent most of our first day there. It was extremely foggy and chilly for most of the morning, but around noon the fog cleared off and the sun came out.

The photo below is of Alcatraz. The sun had peaked through the clouds just enough to illuminate the island. It was beautiful.
One of the {many} things Pier 39 is known for is the Sea Lions. Brianna LOVED them. I thought they were smelly, aggressive, and loud, but I was very glad we got to see them :-). It was fascinating to watch them bark and bite at one another, yet they were all crowded in each other's space. B loved them so much that we went back for a second viewing a little later in the day.
Are you wondering what this next photo is trying to capture? I was too until I remembered that this was our first view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was so excited to see the bridge, but we never really got a clear view of it. The fog never cleared over the water :(
Brianna was having a great time sight-seeing! I love the view of the city in the background.
If you have ever seen photos of San Francisco, you have probably seen the famous sign in the photo below.
We really wanted to eat somewhere authentic for lunch, so we chose a kiosk at the Wharf (as seen in the photo below). Most of the kiosks sold FRESH fish and crab. And by fresh, yes, they were moving until they were thrown in the fryer. I - not being a seafood lover - opted for a corndog. Chris was brave and had a fresh crab sandwich. Of course, Brianna eats anything, so she shared with both of us :-)
After our somewhat early lunch, we decided to Ride the Ducks. We were ready for a sit-down activity, plus
we wanted to see more of the city than our walking feet could cover. Brianna was EXCITED for the ride!
But . . . about 10 minutes after it began, she conked out. It was that time change again! (She thought brother made a nice pillow :-).
If you have never ridden "the Ducks", you should do it sometime! The best part is that they are land AND water vehicles, so we were able to ride around in the San Francisco Bay for a little while. Notice, the fog has really lifted by this time (it was about 1:00pm). I love this view of the Bay Bridge!
We also got to see a GORGEOUS view of the SF skyline!
Brianna woke up just as the 90 minute ride came to an end, so we decided to do a little more sight-seeing before heading back to our hotel (our original plan was to head back immediately after the Ducks so she could take a nap). We walked a few blocks down the road to Hyde Pier because we had heard it was one of the best views of the Bay. It did not disappoint! Plus, it had a little beach area that allowed tourists to walk right up to the water.

Brianna was FASCINATED by the water, especially when it lapped up on the shore. She did not like the sand, though. This was her first experience trying to walk in sand (with shoes on of course . . . it was chilly!)
There was also a  beautiful view of the city from Hyde Pier. Did you know that SF is home to Ghirardelli Chocolate?
All along the Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 tourist area, there were HUGE flower beds. The flowers were just beautiful, so I had to get B's photo in front of them.
We made it back to our hotel about 4:00pm that afternoon. After a bit of relaxation and dinner, we called it an early night. We had scheduled a three hour tour of the city on a tour bus the next morning, so we wanted to be nice and rested for that!

The next morning, our first stop on the tour bus was The Golden Gate Bridge. I was so excited about this, but the fog once again got in our way :-(. Our tour guide said that this was one of the clearest views of the bridge in several days, so I should be thankful.
Poor Baby Girl was still trying to adjust to the time change, so she slept through the majority of our visit to the Bridge . . . including our short walk out on it.
She woke up just in time for a family photo:
More beautiful flowers:
The next day (our last in SF), we ventured out in our rental car and drove the Bridge. The fog was even worse on this day, so here was our view for our drive:
And lastly (for today), below is a short video of our drive across the Bridge. Even with the fog ruining our view, I am still so glad that we were able to be there and drive on the Bridge.

I'll post about the rest of our San Francisco visit soon! Stay tuned :-)

1 comment:

Lisa said...

That looks great! I would love to see the Golden Gate Bridge!