Joe's Travels - Round the World 2003

 Diary - Week 9
Friday 11th April – Flights Rarotonga – Tahiti – Los Angeles – San Jose

 Air New Zealand Boeing 767

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 Angeles.

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

 Beer store in 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 photos).

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

 Golden Gate Bridge

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

 Stanford University

In the morning we drove a few miles south to Palo Alto, and Stanford 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)