This blog covers our trip around the world in 2006. We will post here with news of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy! Ang & Jane

Wednesday, July 12

Location:  Las Vegas, baby!
Miles Travelled:  8286
Time Zone:  GMT-8

Yeap...we hit San Francisco and the view of the Golden Gate bridge wasn't what we had hoped for as it was layered in fog and we could just about make out the bottom of each of its columns. Apparently its just the way San Fran is...foggy and about 10 degrees cooler than all its surrounding towns...very strange! We managed to find our way to our hostel and checked in - unfortunately it was more of a hotel than a hostel so we didn't have alot of the amenities we were hoping for like a kitchen and a common room but it was ok as we had a tv and that saved us!
Our first day was spent walking round the area and finding our bearings. We went down to Fishermans Wharf (the major touristy area) by street car which was fun and had a quick look round and booked some activities for the next few days. We had dinner and went to the cinema and then to a local irish bar for a few drinks before heading back. The next day we were up bright and early for our collection by the bus tour company - we were off to Napa and Sonoma Valleys for the day. Once out of San Fran the weather cleared up and it was a fantastic clear and sunny day for our trip...we stopped at 3 different wineries (as they are called here) and got taught how to taste and drink wine properly (we is poesh we are) which we did alot of at each tasting is good. The wineries we visited were all quite different to each other both in size and in style, the smallest was the Madonna winery which is also organic, the next was a medium sized winery called Viansa, the grounds of which made the California countryside look like Tuscany and is used for weddings all year round. The final winery was the largest and was called Cline, who also have a museum, avaries and fish ponds on their property. It was a fabulous day and ended with us finally getting an almost clear view of the Golden Gate bridge on our way back into San Fran.
No rest for the wicked as they say and so we were up again the next morning to catch our boat to Alcatraz. What an amazing place, we ended up staying there for almost the whole afternoon enjoying all the tours and experiencing the creepy atmosphere of the cellhouse. Even though it was kinda creepy I have to say it was one of the coolest places I have ever visited and I really enjoyed it. It was really weird to look through the windows of the prison and see the view the prisoners had of the city just 1.5 miles tempting it must have been. Very tempting in fact as 5 people managed to escape the island and are still missing to this day! However most of the 14 escape attempts did fail and didn't end well for the escapees. On arriving back at the wharf we were delighted to see that the local residing Sea Lions had come home and were sunning themselves on their rafts in the marina. We spent some time watching them before grabbing dinner and then wandering round the shops and amusements. We headed back to get changed and then headed out to another bar on the recommendation of our waitress - very useful people to ask for suggestions we've found! The bar was celebrating Canada Day 3 days early which made for a good night with some boogeying etc. Friday was our last day so we did the atypical touristy things. We went to see the Painted Ladies (loverly row of victorian painted houses often seen on tv) in Alamo Square and then hopped on a bus and a streetcar to go see the crookedest street in the world Lombard Street which gladly we didn't have to drive down - crazy! Then we jumped, literally jumped on to a cable car for a spin down the famous San Fran hills. I have to say hanging off the side of a moving vehicle was a new experience for me and one I'd do again especially when you whizz pass other vehicles and have to breathe in to get past them! We had an early start the next morning as we were hitting the road and so we hit the cinema again. And that was it for San Fran.
While on the road we decided to take a little detour and do the 17 mile drive via Pebble Beach Golf Club. The drive itself was pretty nice as it had some beautiful views and lots of very big houses. One of the sights on the drive was the Signature tree of Monteray - the Lone Cypress. Abnd of course us being us we didn't learn from past experieneces and decided once more to try the coastal route on highway 1 - which yet again ended up in lots and lots of rallyesque driving and very slow progress. So we hit the 101 again. We had planned to stop roughly midway to Los Angeles in a little town called San Luis Obispo but hadn't planned accommodation and had thought camping would be fine but unlike Flint Ridge the campsites closed pretty early and by the time we got there it was too late so we had to hunt round for a motel for the evening. Luckily we found one just before it became full and grabbed a room. It was pretty late and we'd had a long day driving so just vegged for the night. Next day it was on to LA. We decided to stop in Santa Barbara for brunch as recommended by our guide book - which yes we were now finally reading in advance. Santa Barbara is so ridiculously beautiful and looks just like you'd expect California to look. Palm trees lining the roads, beautiful white buildings with red terracotta roofs all set against a mountainous background and a clear blue sky. It was heaven! The recommended brunch was fab as we got to enjoy it on a lovely patio surrounded by plants and flowers. Yes, we had decided we had really hit the true california we had expected and we were liking it! After brunch we continued our drive to LA along the 101. We hit the outskirts and had a great time trying to navigate our way to our hotel especially as we didn't actually have a map that showed where the street was - but hooray for us we found it without getting lost or being involved in a drive by shooting! As we couldn't get accommodation for the whole week in one place our first 2 nights were in a hotel which was kinda in the middle of nowhere but that kinda suited us as we needed a day or 2 off to recharge. So we camped out in our hotel, only leaving it to wander round the local shopping centre to buy food and various other bits and pieces.
It was a nice few days and afterwards we were ready to hit the beach - Venice beach to be precise which was where our next hostel was located. We also somehow managed to find the hostel with a little help from a nice police man and yet another waiter. The hostel was a big house and has the friendliest staff and atmosphere I have ever experienced. We settled in almost immediately and joined the masses vegging in the living room to watch the football and then headed to Hermosa Beach (with an accidental detour to manhattan beach - don't ask!) to meet up with Ang's friend Karen and her husband Eanna for some fourth of July festivities. We all went to their friends Conor and Mandy's apartment where a gang had gathered for food and drinks which was really nice and once well fed we all headed to Redondo beach to watch the fireworks. We managed to get prime positions along the wall by the beach from which to view the fireworks...however one of the positions wasn't as prime as the others...John (Eanna's boss) thought he felt his shorts get damp and so stood up to discover a little puddle of liquid behind the wall...further investigation led up the embankment behind the wall to a partially empty catheter bag...ouh ouh ouh...John quickly derobed and went for a nice cleansing salt water bath in the sea...once again...ouh ouh OUH!!!! But that didn't dampen our spirits and we all enjoyed the brilliant firework display that was put on, before heading back to the hostel. We got up the next day and watched the 2nd semi-final before heading to dinner with Karen in the Cheesecake factory overlooking the Marina. The cheesecakes were amazing! We decided to jump on the LA City Tour the next day and see a bit of everything. The tour started at the beaches, Santa Monica and Venice, before heading to Hollywood where we stopped for lunch and a wander round. We got to see the chinese theatre and the stars hand and foot prints outside it, we walked along the walk of fame and spotted the stars of lots of stars we knew and then we got to see the Kodak Centre which hosts the Oscars every year. After our little stop we headed for the hills (Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills and Bel Air) and went star house spotting. We saw loads but here are just a few: Britney Spears, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lopez and Billy Crystal(who are neighbours) and the estate of the late Marlon Brando...oh and the Fresh Princes house too! While on our house hunt we went to a viewing point and got to see the infamous Hollywood sign and take the obligatory photos. After that we stopped off at Rodeo Drive for some shopping (ha ha) and some star spotting but stars were spotted while we were there...we were kinda hoping to bump into Colin Farrell but hey! Following our tour we headed back and chilled on the couch for the evening. The next day we moved to another hostel down the road and then hit the beach and did some sunbathing, some wave jumping and some rollerblading. Yeap...major cheese with the whole rollerblading along the beach thing - but we liked it! We rushed back as we had arranged to meet Karen for dinner and a movie and were running late! We just about managed to have time for a fab dinner buffet in the Soup Plantation for a huge $10 and then headed to the cinema to meet up with two other girls (Danielle and Laurie) for a chick flick. The next day we headed for a yummy pancake brekkie in IHOP (International House of Pancakes) to set us up for the day. We headed to santa monica pier that evening and went on the roller coaster and ferris wheel which was great fun and provided some fabulous views of the beaches. And that was our last night in least for the time being! The next morning we packed up and checked out and headed back to our first hostel to watch the World Cup Final with the guys there. And what a final...luckily we weren't on a deadline for time so were able to stay right till the end before having lunch and hitting the road again for Las Vegas.
And thats where we'll leave it for now...tune in next time, same bat time, same bat channel.


sonja said...

hi there it´s sonja.

It´s great fun to read your adventures. sounds like you girls are having lots of fun. :)

Hoping to get more of it!

Take care and have a great time!

6:34 PM, July 15, 2006  
trisha said...

hi girls,

god ye wrote a thesis! very bold reading them at work il get fired. bet ye have watched all the films in the cinema over there at this stage that prob aren't out here as of yet.


2:23 PM, July 25, 2006  

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