Sunday, 24 September 2017

Day 1-2 - Heathrow to San Francisco


We left home for the 215 mile drive to our hotel near Heathrow Airport at 17:10, stopping off at Solihull on our way.  Really strange being back in Solihull, Mark worked there for years and Touchwood was my favourite place to go shopping, it's not often we have a reason to go there now.


Up very early, breakfast wasn't served in our hotel until 7 so we opted for Maccys breakfast then off to the airport for our flight at 11:25 but first....

Parked at Terminal 3 long stay parking
then a shuttle bus to Terminal 3
and then lastly the Heathrow express train to Terminal 5
Whose idea was it to bring the bikes?

A real struggle with 2 bike bags, 2 suitcases and our carry on bags.😓

Sounds complicated but we were flying out from Terminal 5 and flying back to Terminal 3 so it was easier to leave the car at the parking for Terminal 3 to speed things up coming back.

10 hour flight in World Traveller Plus - comfy wide seats with lots of leg room.

Lovely meal, wine and a movie

Tried to sleep but had a splitting headache which I was expecting as I did the last time we flew long haul.
Wow!  Greenland.


The views from the plane were simply stunning.

Mount Shasta
San Fran!

Flying over San Francisco we could clearly see Golden Gate Park and the bridge and also Alcatraz! Amazing!

Landed SFO - 14:00 local time - 30 degree heat and glorious sunshine.

Picked up the hire car and headed straight to Vista Point, North of the Golden Gate Bridge as it was such a gloriously sunny day with good views.

Not surprisingly a lot of other people had the same idea and Vista Point was extremely busy.

We soon headed up the Conzelman Road to the other view points which were equally as crowded. Once the sun had set we headed to our motel to check-in.    By this time we were struggling to stay awake as our bodies were still on UK time.

It's been such a long day.


Up early ready for our ferry to Alcatraz Island.  Breakfast wasn't served until 7:30 so we waited but very soon realised it wasn't worth waiting for.

So later on we stocked up on porridge and milk to make our own for the next couple of days.


Arrived at Pier 33 in plenty of time for our ferry crossing which was booked for 9.10am.

While we were queuing a few flies kept landing on us so we just brushed them off and didn't think much of it but when we arrived at Alcatraz Island the Guide explained that it was 'fly season' as a result of the cormorants nesting there... and there were a lot of flies - funny how this wasn't mentioned in their promotional bumf 😉.  Luckily, although annoying, the flies didn't actually bite and they didn't venture into the buildings.

We followed the audio guide while doing the multi-stage virtual cache and it was very interesting and informative - can't believe we were actually on Alcatraz Island, the stuff of legends from our childhood.

After that we headed off for lunch and then visited REI, a really cool outdoor store, a brilliant shop and really well stocked with just about everything you would ever need in the great outdoors - really wish we had one back in the UK.

After finding a webcam and stopping off at Panera Bread (our favourite place to eat in the USA) for tea we headed up to Twin Peaks to see a night time view of the city - amazing views, the photos don't do it justice.

Tomorrow we're exploring San Francisco

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