A Travellerspoint blog

Cold, windy, foggy San Francisco

Much, much colder than it should be

overcast 13 °C

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A very lazy morning and then a mini-tour with Alexis. Jeni insisted on seeing the seals at Pier 39 and to be honest they are good entertainment for 1/2 an hour. It is much colder than we were expecting!

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From there we drove to Fort Mason to check out Greens Restaurant (we have a booking for Sunday evening) and also look around the set-up for the weekly Food Market called "Off the Grid". We were going to have a walk along Chrissy Field towards the Golden Gate Bridge but it was so cold and windy that we retreated to the historic Officers' Club in the Presidio for margaritas and guacamole. The Presidio was a large military base but is now in the hand of the Presidio Trust who are restoring buildings such as the Club. They have free concerts every Friday evening (a violin quartet this time)

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Finally, we headed through the Golden Gate Park to Irving Street and had a Chinese Vegan (and Kosher) meal

Posted by kforge 14:13 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Waiheke Island

What a beautiful island

sunny 15 °C

Up early for the 9:10 ferry from Devonport to Waiheke Island, just 40 minutes away past dozens of small islands. 2 weeks before this trip I was lucky enough to spend a week on Magnetic Island near Townsville and here I was on another stunning island. Unfortunately, our return trip had been brought forward an hour but it gave us enough time to wander around the village of Oneroa with its glorious views of the Hauraki Gulf (the 1st picture is the view from the Delight Cafe). It would definitely be a place to visit again if it were not for the Auckland traffic - I can't say I've seen worse traffic anywhere else in the world and to get to Waiheke, you have to go into the city or over the bridge to Devonport

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Our 7:35pm flight from Auckland to San Francisco was in Premium Economy class with Air New Zealand and it really was very roomy and comfortable, pretty much the same as Etihad's Business class. And so we landed in San Francisco 7 hours before we left Auckland and took the San Francisco City Shuttle Bus (not recommended) to my friend Alexis' place in the city

Jeni and I were both shattered by the flight, so had an early dinner with Alexis at the Gracias Madre Mexican restaurant (organic and vegan!) and just made it to our room when we got back to the house

Posted by kforge 13:31 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Devonport, North Auckland

A great location and a very charming village

semi-overcast 14 °C

A quick walk along Narrow Neck Beach NZ_-_Devon.._Neck_Beach.jpg and then, because it was overcast, we decided to walk around the old parts of Devonport which was first settled by Europeans around 1840. There are still many beautiful weatherboard houses both small and very large and an extremely well-preserved high street called Victoria Road. At Torpedo Bay, we visited the really excellent Naval Museum which celebrates the 1st Naval Base in New Zealand (1841). And a great cafe overlooking the bay

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Then it was up Mount Victoria and wonderful 360 degree views of the Hauraki Gulf and also the strange "disappearing gun" which hydraulically lowers the gun after a missile is fired

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We spent a couple of hours in the evening at the elegant Esplanade Hotel where I discovered the tasty Moa Pale Ale from Marlborough in South Island

Posted by kforge 19:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Byron Bay to Auckland

The easy way

rain 14 °C

What a great start to a trip to the USA

Jan and Greg kindly drove us to the Gold Coast Airport in just 45 minutes. Our Air New Zealand Premium Economy check-in took 2 minutes and just 2 minutes later we were in the Virgin Lounge. An hour later we strolled to the international scanning area and 5 minutes later we were at the departure gate, Our Premium Economy tickets on a new A320, gave us a 3-seat row with a guaranteed empty seat between us and the flight was excellent. The only slight problem was that like so many other airlines, Air NZ couldn't manage to load to special meals for us despite getting a confirmation with them just a week ago

It was all smooth-flying until we picked up a rental car at Auckland Airport (Apex Car Rentals for $44 per day) and started the drive to Devonport. We knew it was going to be a slow drive but it was 90 minutes before we could check in at Ivanhoe Suites - a very comfortable apartment just moments from Narrow Neck Beach

Posted by kforge 03:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Where we'll be

Where we'll be for 2 or 3 months in USA and Canada - come and join us somewhere along the way. Thanks to Christian and Alessandra for house-sitting and dog-minding

all seasons in one day 25 °C

May 26-28: Byron Bay to Auckland (Devonport)

May 28-June 1: San Francisco

June 2: Leave San Francisco in a rental car on a slow drive to Port Angeles, Washington State

June 6: Portland, Oregon

All the dates from here are approximate:

June 8 to 18: Victoria on Vancouver Island, meeting up with Alan Heffer and maybe Steve Adams

June 19-24: Vancouver

June 25-27: Vernon in the Okanagan Valley, meeting up with Gavin Bett

End of June and beginning of July: The Canadian Rockies, then Glacier & Yellowstone & Grand Teton national parks in Montana and Wyoming

July 8-15: Big drive through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and California back to San Francisco

July 16: Currently booked to fly back to Byron Bay but this will quite possibly change

Posted by kforge 12:18 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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