Tuesday, December 6, 2016

USA Trip - Part 2: Fog City - San Francisco

Day 6
We woke up super early in the morning as the tour departs early from the hotel. We took the tour from Take Tours, and during our first morning, we were already so paranoid. We realised that they were a big tour group with lots of tour departing/arriving daily to different cities. We have to ask two tour guides in the hotel lobby before we found out which bus we were taking.

Once our bus began their journey, we were being told that there will be a meet up place in LA for all the tourist buses under their company, and we were told to change bus accordingly to our tour booking. We were kind of unhappy with it, but no choice since we've already made our decision and paid for the tour. So, we tuned our minds and make the best out of everything. We decided not to get angry or frustrated, but to just go along and only remember the great memories.

So after all the fuss, we finally began our journey to San Francisco! A change in weather as well as we journeyed using the Pacific West Coast where cloudy weather with almost no blue sky was spotted.

Our first stop was Santa Barbara. Just a quick stop next to the beach.


This stop was also for us to grab some snacks for our growling tummy for breakfast. So we walked around the area to hunt for food, but most of them are proper restaurants that requires more time spent for breakfast. There was only a mini market there, so nothing much to buy except for chocolates or sweets. Only some of us bought a bar of chocolate to ease our hunger. We walked around nearby before it's time to depart.
Spotted a cute looking vehicle
Palm trees, checked! Confirm in California!
Hot wheels spotted
We continue our journey towards San Francisco. Nothing much to do in the bus. We chatted, we listened to music, and mostly catching up with our sleep. LOL
That's me hiding under Ting's scarf in the bus ride to avoid sunburn #SurvivalSkills
In between, we stopped to have lunch. The tour took us to a place that has Asian buffets, but we opted out and had Subways instead. #SayNoToExpensiveLousyAsianBuffetsInUSA

We reached our next itinerary - the 17-miles Drive in Monterey. We passed by one of the most famous golf course in the world. Too bad it was a windy and cloudy day, so we didnt manage to spot any famous golfers along the way. We also passed by Pebble Beach which turns out to be quiet day. 

It was slightly drizzling when we arrive at Bird Rock, where we stopped and had a few photo opportunities. 

After that, we drove pass many homes of big names in Monterey as apparently the houses there costs millions! Even a small house would be like US$10million or something like that.

After 17-miles drive, we continue our journey to SanFran, which we continue our music/chat/sleep journey in the bus. We only arrived in our hotel in the evening.

Day 7
It's touring around SanFran day! Another super early day in SanFran. Our first itinerary for the day is Stanford University. We also passed by Silicon Valley and saw many big multinational companies along the way. 
Early morning jumpshot in front of Stanford Uni #FeelsLikeGraduationPic
Stanford Memorial Church
After that, we headed towards the SanFran City, by visiting the main landmark of SanFran - The Golden Gate Bridge. 

SanFran was living to its name - Fog City. Look at the fog at the top of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Then we visited the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.

We continue to travel deeper into the city. Our bus stopped at a few blocks below, and then we had quite a hike up the steep streets before we reached the crookedest street in the world - Lombard Street. 

Lombard Street has eight sharp turns to reduce the hill's natural 27°. 

But because of such hilly roads. We get to see a very beautiful view of the houses in SanFran.

After Lombard Street, we headed off to Fisherman's Wharf / Pier 39. We decided not to take the Bay Cruise ride but to wonder along the streets ourselves to explore instead. 

Our first stop upon reaching Fisherman's Wharf is to look for clam chowder. So we headed towards the street with lots shops/stalls and order from the ones with the most crowd. The longest queue should be the best right? LOL

After the clam chowder, we also decided to have a seafood lunch here. So we bought lobster, fried squids, fresh prawns, etc for our meal. 

After a full tummy, we headed off to walk around Fisherman's wharf. Many shops and brands can be found along the pier.
Nice pier
Random shopping
SanFran Tram Ride

Also spotted some quirky shops that sells pretty or odd souvenirs. 
Top Left: SanFran on plates
Top Right: Bacon flavoured toothpick
Bottom Left: All kind of flavours of Soda. Peanut Butter to Bacon to Hitler to Fog from SanFran to Lemon Meringue
Bottom Right: Fried Egg gummy
One of the ferry cruise if we were to take the Bay Cruise Ride
Alcatraz Island which houses the prison in the olden days
One of the must try fast food in California is In-N-Out so when we saw the sign that there is one in Fisherman's Wharf, we decided to go for it. The place was so packed that it was difficult to even find a place to wait for our food after ordering. 

Can't remember what was our burger order, but I remembered we ordered the secret menu - Animal style fries!

After spending around 3 hours and 2 meals in Fisherman's Wharf / Pier 39, we continue our journey to the Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption. 
Above the main door of the Cathedral
The door from the inside of the Cathedral
The chandelier
A man was playing the organ

After the visit to the Cathedral, we proceeded uphill of San Francisco. We passed by Castro District, the famous rainbow neighbourhood in San Francisco. To me, that street is just one of the normal street, besides same gender lovers were holding hands. Until one of the tourist in the same bus as us pointed towards a guy. Turns out that a guy was only wearing a cloth to wrap his private part. Full naked for the rest of the body. Talk about being open in this cold weather, have to give him respect lo!

We continued our journey to the coldest place we've experienced so far in USA - Twin Peaks. The tour guide told us that they will stop here for 30 minutes. He says he knows it's short, but believe him, everyone would come up the bus after 10 minutes because of the cold wind. 30 minutes is more than enough time. 

Upon hearing that, when we almost reach the peak, we started wearing all our jackets and braced ourselves for the cold wind!

The moment we stepped outside, yes, we almost froze. Although it was a sunny, the wind was so chilly and strong. We hand difficulty walking to the front without bending our bodies. We do not dare to stand too near the edge as the strong wind will sometimes bring our feet a few steps away from where we were standing!
Hugging for dear life!
Yes, we have the same jackets
When then 30minutes are up, we noticed that we are the last ones who went inside the bus. The rest were already hiding inside for the past 20minutes. 

We headed back downhill and headed to our last tourist destination - City Hall. Glad to be away from the cold wind at that time. Plus the fog seems to be going away slowly and the blue sky is beginning to be seen. 

Just right before we left City Hall, the blue skies appeared.

After the trip to City Hall, we departed from SanFran and headed towards Modesto. Along the highway, we passed by a place with lots of modern windmills and they were just so beautiful. 

We even managed to end our long day by trying one of the famous food-chain of USA - IHOP (International House of Pancakes)!

Day 8
Early morning, we headed off from our hotel in Modesto direct to Yosemite National Park. Fun fact: Did you know that "Yosemite" means "killer" in one of the Native American language?

Our first stop in Yosemite was El Capitan. El Capitan is famous for its massive bulk of largely unbroken rock and its sheer, vertical face soaring 3,000 feet into the air.

Just opposite, we can spot the Bridal Veil Falls which is 617 foot high waterfall, which flows year-round. Only little water flow during our visit though.

Then we continue our journey deeper towards the Yosemite Falls.

The guide told us that there might be no water flowing from Yosemite Falls at this time of the year (Sep'16), so instead of walking towards the Yosemite Falls, my friends and I decided to leisurely just walked around the area to admire the pretty scenery surrounding us.
I find these designs on the tree trunks fascinating and pretty
Then we headed off to Tunnel View, which I think has one of the most beautiful overview of Yosemite.Love it here!

After Yosemite, we headed all the way back to LA. Yeaps. the tour take us all the way back to LA instead of directly to Las Vegas, which is kind of annoying. But since we couldn't do anything to change the fact, so we just go with the flow and enjoy ourselves!

Overall, although it would've been better if we have more time to slowly explore and experience SanFran, we still enjoyed ourselves in these short period of time in San Fran. I guess it's the company that matters! =)

Stay tuned for the next part!

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