Friday 11th April – Flights Rarotonga –
Tahiti – Los Angeles – San Jose
Flew with Air New Zealand just after midnight from Rarotonga
and after 1 hr 25 mins we were in Papeete, Tahiti. Being 2
a.m. there's not much you can do except look around the airport
shops for an hour (at least the postcards were nice) before
boarding the same plane for the 7 hr 30 min flight to Los
After clearing immigration flew with Southwest Airlines to
San Jose at 16.50 - just under an hour to the north (and 40
miles from San Francisco). Took a shuttle bus to friends'
house in San Mateo. A great welcome & lovely dinner were
waiting for us.
Saturday 12th April – San Francisco
A wet day all day – over an inch of rain fell. Caught
the bus into San Francisco. Took the Powell & Hyde cable
car in torrential rain to Fishermans Wharf. Anyone hanging
on to the outside got completely soaked! The rain was so heavy
you could only just see the Golden Gate Bridge across the
Bay. Spent some time in a few shops, including one that sold
many hundreds of different beers from around the world (see
the beers section for more
Caught a bus to Chinatown, where we had lunch and did some
shopping. The smells of Chinese cooking are superb and it's
a fascinating place to browse around the shops. Walked to
Union Square and had a look around the huge Macy’s department
store. Returned by bus to San Mateo.
Sunday 13th April – San Francisco
Fortunately a big change in the weather - it was mostly sunny
today with just a few clouds and occasional showers.
After lunch drove up to San Francisco and went through Golden
Gate Park - first stop was at Wilhemina’s garden (a
Dutch garden with large windmill). Stopped off to watch the
surf at Ocean Beach, then to take a look at the Palace of
the Legion of Honor. Drove through Seacliff (where there are
lots of very expensive posh houses) then stopped at two viewpoints
on the S.E. side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We crossed the bridge and drove up the Marin headland for
great views back over the bridge to San Francisco. Returned
over the bridge southbound then drove past the Palace of Fine
Arts then down Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the
world). Along the Embarcadero, we then passed Pac Bell Park
– the home of the San Francisco Giants. Returned to
San Mateo for the evening.
Plenty of sunshine and lovely views of the city made up for
yesterday's dismal weather!
Monday 14th April - San Francisco then flight to London
In the morning we drove a few miles south to Palo Alto, and
University. Had a look around some of the campus which
is huge and has a very spacious feel about it. First we stopped
for a look at the Rodin Sculpture Garden, then walked to the
Memorial Church, which has a wonderful colourful mosaic façade.
Weather was again warm and sunny.
After lunch we drove to San Francisco airport and caught our
Virgin Atlantic flight (Boeing 747) to London Heathrow which
departed at 16.45. Had great views of the Golden Gate Bridge
just after take-off then saw lots of snow as we flew over
Nevada & Oregon.
Tuesday 15th April – Arrival home
Flew over Canada, Greenland, Northern Ireland and Liverpool,
and touched down at Heathrow on time at 10.30 (8 hours ahead
of San Francisco) after a 9 hr 45 min flight. Caught the coach
back to Leicester. Warm sunny weather in England today.
So that's the end of the travels... for the moment!
Back to: Week 8 (Fri 4th Apr - Thu 10th Apr)