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Comprising Spagus (derived from Asparagus), or Cam. Previously rural banker and farmer that has decided to ditch his tie and gumboots in exchange for a backpack and shaved head. Partnered with Shroom (derived from Mushroom), or Cat. Formally a country/city/country girl that has left behind the world of policy consulting and has ditched her high heels for some comfortable (yet stylish) footwear to support a wee bit of globetrotting through 2010 and 2011. We hope you enjoy following the travels of SpaguShroom through Europe, North America and South America!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

San Francisco (September 13 - September 17)

Most people who have visited San Francisco, love it. From hilly streets, to gorgeous Victorian homes, the infamous cable car and a lively waterfront; we felt at home. Yes this city is just like Wellington, weather and all, on a far bigger scale.
We were once again very fortunate to be accommodated by family friends, Richard and Kris, during our stay in San Francisco. After spending the last few weeks in relatively isolated areas it was exciting but perhaps a little daunting to be back in a big city. Fortunately Richard and Kris were excellent tour guides driving us around the city for the first two days and providing us with a great overview and history of the main sights and attractions. We drove across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge and visited Sausalito where we took a stroll through the quaint house boat community and enjoyed lunch in a seaside restaurant.

We enjoyed a visit to the California Academy of Sciences for both its’ live and stuffed animal displays; our favourite was the blind albino crocodile named Claude.

We also took a stroll through the Muir Woods, an old-growth forest of gorgeous Redwoods located relatively close to the city. This is a special remnant of the forest that once covered California coastal areas. We cannot get enough of these gorgeous trees, they create such a peaceful energy that once in their presence it only seems appropriate to speak in hushed tones.
Cam and I took a trip to the infamous Alcatraz, a former maximum-security federal prison located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, otherwise known as The Rock. Alcatraz closed its’ doors as a prison in 1963 due to high operating costs and deteriorating buildings and it is now a very popular tourist attraction which incorporates an excellent audio tour.
We heard tales of escaped convicts, prison routine, and life of the guards on The Rock. The narrative was delivered by a combination of ex prisoners and guards, making for a truly compelling account of historical events of ‘hell on earth’. On the tour we were taken through the jail which comprised the four cell blocks including D Block, or Isolation where only the meanest crims spent their time in pitch black darkness, along with the dining room, Wardens’ Office and shower block.

Amongst the chilly mist we wondered the grounds of the Island and returned to the mainland for an afternoon soaking in the charming atmosphere of Fisherman’s Wharf.
We enjoyed a traditional lunch of clam chowder in a sourdough bread and also visited the aquarium to check out some cool local underwater life.

It was a shame that the fog constantly hovered over the city during our stay but it also added to the city atmosphere; San Francisco is known for its’ chilly Summers’ days. We would love to return some day and continue to explore the city, perhaps in the Winter when the days are clearer.
Thanks to Richard and Kris, who were very helpful and provided us with so much advice as to what to see and do in the city, you certainly made our San Francisco experience!
Next we head south along the Coastal Highway toward Santa Barbara.

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