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Sunday, April 3, 2016


As usual, our flight was early, but not too early.  Dana drove Samantha and me to the airport, where we negotiated security, after checking a bag each and receiving new boarding passes.  The flight was uneventful (and probably not as long as this post) and straight through to San Francisco! 

After collecting our bags, we went to pick up the car.  The abrupt attendant was quite perturbed that we did not buy the added insurance and was quite emphatic about how I must check the car for damage before I left.  "That includes the tyres.  We are not responsible for a puncture!"  I assured him that I would be most diligent in assessing any damage, and left the counter.  The booth on the lower floor was manned by two novices, who were not only unfamiliar with the computer system, but apparently unfamiliar with why they were there!  A very stressed representative entered the booth, told both of them to 'move', and worked the two computers in front of her.  Keys were virtually thrown at those who had hired vehicles, but it was done with such efficiency, no one complained.  We found our car, and proceeded to assess the vehicle. There were a lot of scrapes and scratches, which I was sure would not be recorded, but there were also a couple of dents.  I walked back to the booth with a list of damages and was told to mark the areas on the sheet I had been given, which I did, making more than a dozen circles depicting the damages.  The stressed lady signed my sheet without looking and told me I was good to go.  We went.  Samantha plugged in the trusty phone so that we could find our way to the hotel.  As we left the airport, I mentioned that I had not checked the tyres!  However, I was sure that we would notice if there was anything wrong as we made our way to the highway. We knew that we would be arriving at the hotel early but decided to go straight to our temporary home.  Samantha plugged in her phone and we proceeded to the route as instructed.  We drove out of the airport, on to the freeway, took the exit and headed towards the hotel.  After realising that when 'Mrs Lady in the telephone' said "turn left", she did not mean immediately, and after driving around, through and past the airport again, we found a 'street name' sign, hidden behind a variety of obstacles and continued to 'proceed to the route'.  We were still early for check in but the nice lady at the desk told us that we could come back at noon when our room would be available.  Sitting on the rocks by the bay, and watching the planes land and take off, was perfect.  At noon, we checked in and deposited our bags before going exploring.  Apart from the obvious attractions in the city, e.g. the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the trolley cars, Samantha had a list of places she wished to visit, so we headed towards our first port of call!  "Proceed to Union Square", said Mrs Lady in the telephone!

Driving in San Francisco gives a whole new meaning to 'take your life in your hands'.  Everyone knows where they are going, and all expect you to know where they are going!  Most of the cars appear to be missing the protruding stick emitting from the steering wheel, that goes up and down, and makes the turn signals work!  We arrived at our destination, according to Mrs Lady, and attempted to find a parking space.  Around we drove, "Turn on to Gary Street" Mrs Lady told us over and over.  Gary Street was in fact Geary Street, and we became very familiar with its co-ordinates!

Parking in San Francisco is only for the rich (but not necessarily famous).  The car parks charge anything they like, ranging from six dollar an hour up to 'a maximum', which is anything they want to charge!  There are meters.  However, you cannot park by a red meter as it is for commercial vehicles. A yellow meter is okay if it is not in a commercial zone, and does not have a sign on it saying, 'no parking at anytime', which most do. The grey meters are good between noon and 3pm, but not if there is a red line, or a white line, or a broken line....!  After driving round downtown for a long time, and coming to terms with the fact that you just drive, and someone will let you go, or not, I found a car park that said '$10 flat rate until 6pm'.  I decided to take a chance and pulled in to the small space, where there was room for about 20 cars, if they are parked very close together!  As it was virtually full, I thought it would be safe, or safer than risking a fine or a tow!

After we parked the car, I asked Samantha where we were going. 
She wanted to see the 'Full House' programme house, and some houses that were called, 'Painted Ladies' on Alamo Square.  My question was, "Why did you put Union Square into the phone?" She did not know! As I had just committed $10 to parking until six, it seemed a bit ridiculous to leave the area without finding out what was on offer. As we were deciding what to do, we saw a queue for the cable cars. This was on our list of 'things to do', so we joined the line.  Cable cars came up the hill and allowed two or three people on at a time, and eventually, after several cars, and many people leaving as they did not want to wait, another car arrived.  The family of six behind us decided that as the conductor said 'six only', they would board and not be concerned that there was anyone in front of them, whom had been waiting for a considerable time.  Samantha felt my frustration and called, "Come on!" and I followed her lead.  Mum and one child, from the said family, had to wait for the next car! At first I felt slightly guilty at splitting the family but then all feelings were eradicated as I thought, if the father doesn't care if they are not together, why should it be my concern!

The cable car arrived at Fisherman's Wharf.  Ticking another 'must do' off our list, we alighted, and walked along to the railings, where we saw the infamous Alcatraz prison.   Having bought a sandwich from a deli near the car park, on our way to the unscheduled Square, we ate lunch and enjoyed the view, whilst verbalising our plan for the next couple of days.  As we were not heading back to Austin until Sunday afternoon, we had two and a half days, plus the rest of the current day, to do all that we wanted.  It seemed possible. We strolled the promenade, took pictures, and headed back to the terminus.  The conductor on the way down to the Wharf had very kindly waived the fare, as he saw Samantha's disappointment when she could not stand on the outside, as she was pushed out of the way by the father of four.  However, I bought two tickets for the way back and we were first on the second car out.  I sat down on the side as she held on to the pole and waited for the car to depart.  The couple next to us (she sat, he stood) were also 'on vacation' from Austin!  It was a different experience sitting on the outside, and travelling at the front.  I felt as if I was on a roller coaster, as we climbed hills and hurtled down, stopping at intervals to allow others on, or off.   We crossed over Geary Street, and looked at each other, knowing (sort of) where we were. I took a couple of videos, and marveled at the views.  

After walking around Union Square, and checking the parking prices in the garage under the Square, which seemed reasonable (for another time) we headed back to where our car had been left.  It was all in working order, and we decided that this would be a good place to remember.  Our next stop was Lombard Street.  I had never heard of the place, but I am told it is famous.  "Turn down here", said Samantha.  I obeyed the instruction, and turned.  Ahead I could see nothing.  The street zigzags down a hill that is so steep that if I were to hit the brakes with any force we would go head over heels!  I was screaming.  I was driving and screaming! With eight sharp bends, this is, apparently, the most crooked street in the world, and was, apparently, made in such a way, because it was too steep to drive down, when first built.  In my opinion, it was too steep to drive down, with or without the bends!  Finally, arriving at the base, Samantha got out of the car to take some photos from another angle, as I sat with my head in my hands, thankful that I survived the trip!  "Next time", said my daughter, as she waited for the colour to return to my face, "We should walk!"  I smiled, and wondered why on earth she would consider there would be a 'next time'!  

Heading away from downtown, we continued on to Alamo Square, and found the 'Painted Ladies'. We parked the car where the signs dictated that we could do so, for two hours between the hours of 6pm and 8pm, unless we had a permit with the letter 'M', which we did not.  We climbed another hill, took some photos of the pretty houses, and asked Mrs Lady which way we should go to our next destination.  It was less than a mile to the 'Full House' house, so we decided to walkForgetting that San Francisco is nothing but hills, we walked up, and up and up, then down and up and up!  The excitement on my daughter's face, upon seeing the 'Full House' house was enough to make the hike worthwhile, and gave me the energy to make it back to the car, which was now sandwiched between many.  After maneuvering the vehicle to and fro, on a hill that would make Ben Nevis swoon, (and being thankful that the car was automatic!) I managed to pull out of the space.  The little light that ignited on the dashboard was less than comforting. Although I was certain as to its properties, I asked my co-pilot to check the manufacturers guide, which was located in the glove compartment. Unfortunately, I was correct and we had a tyre problem!  I was hoping that it was perhaps a computer error, as we had just put a great amount of pressure on the rubber tubes attempting to escape from the parking space!  The light remained on as we left our final destination of the day, but all wheels appeared to have inflated tyres, as we drove away from the house that was used in the movie 'Mrs Doubtfire'.  With enough pictures to make an album, we headed away from the hills and back to the flat area around the airport, and our hotel.  

It was probably not the smartest of moves to park the car at the hotel and walk to the restaurant that we had seen earlier, along the same road, as the temperature had dipped and although we had cardigans, both of us had short sleeved shirts.  The wind was biting. Dinner was, however, very good.  Expensive, but good.  Tax is higher in San Francisco, than it is in Austin, and menu prices are about half again as much, but we were on vacation!  Walking back, the wind hit our faces with great force and it seemed to take much longer to get to the hotel, than it did to get to the restaurant.  Hot chocolate, tea and coffee was on offer 24/7, so we took advantage of the amenities!

We slept well and rose early as the time difference was two hours, with California being behind Austin.  Breakfast was very good and as we were early it was not too crowded.  Our loosely planned schedule was discussed, and we took a 'care package' from the front desk, which included bottled water, apples and a cake bar.  This would keep us going should we not manage to find somewhere for lunch, which was highly unlikely!  The tolls for the bridge were over $7 each way, and apparently there was not an opportunity to pay cash on site, so we had to find a way of not incurring additional fees on our rental car, which would not only charge us for tolls, but add an administration charge of $25 each time we omitted to pay the toll before crossing!  We 'chatted' with someone from the car rental place, on line, to find out if we could have add a day toll pass to our bill, and that was put in place.  (I had declined the offer at the airport, to add $11 a day to my rental, as we were sure we would not encounter tolls each day, and were, at the time, unsure as to which day we would be using it.)  After packing up the car with a few essentials we headed to the petrol station, as the back tyre looked a little low on air, and the infamous light had once again ignited!  Samantha checked the tyre pressure and found that one of the back tyres was empty!  She put in the air, and checked the other three.  I wondered why I had not checked the tyres at the airport, especially after the warning from the man at the desk, but as they were 'run flats', it probably would have been impossible to tell. After we were satisfied that it was safe to go, we headed out towards 'the route'. 

The Golden Gate Bridge loomed ahead and we both took a sharp intake of breathIt was amazing to actually see this giant structureHaving been on my bucket list for a long, long time, it was exciting to tick off this great feat of engineering geniusRather than cross over immediately, we headed off road to the visitors centre and to the viewpoint where we took pictures and walked along the various levels.

Across we drove after exhausting every angle for a photo, and headed towards Muir Woods, which was apparently one of the locations for filming Star Wars.  Up and up, and up and up, we drove.  The trees either side of us made the road dark, and when there was a space, all we could see was the valley beneath.  A car came towards us, crossing over on to our side of the road.  "What are they doing?" shouted my daughter, as I swerved to the side.  I smiled and answered, "That is going to be me on the way back!" We continued up, and up.  The entrance and car park to view to the 'National Monument', which (by all accounts) is the woods themselves, was filled with cars and buses.  We exited and drove along the road, where cars lined the sides, and found the 'overflow' car park, which was also full.  We turned around and headed back, once again driving into the entrance area, and out again.  The views from the car were so spectacular that we decided not to spend more time trying to park, and walk through, as we could pull over at any indent on the way down and enjoy the view.  To be more accurate, we decided that we could pull over at any indent on the way down, and Samantha could enjoy the view, while I hyperventilated! I would enjoy the photos when we were back on flat (and safe) land. Also as the light had reignited on the dash board indicating that the tyre was flat, I wanted to get back within'service' area, so that I could call the car rental people and see what were my best options.

We stopped at the first garage we saw and the tyre was indeed out of air.  I found the contract, with the picture of the car, and the circle indicating all the dents, etc., and called the customer service number.  My options were threefold.  It could be that there was a slight tear and I could get a 'patch', and they would reimburse me. Alternatively, I could take the car back to one of their service centres and it would be replaced, or I could find a Firestone Tyre Center, where they would take care of it for me, as the rental company had 'an agreement' with said company.  The third option seemed to be the best, as I was not in any frame of mind to inspect another car, and wonder if the tyres were okay!  Explaining that we were on the 'wrong side' of the Golden Gate Bridge, I asked for an establishment across the bay.  "Please can I have the full address to tell the lady in the phone", I asked.  Samantha's head went back, and she tutted before commenting, "Why didn't you just say GPS?" After getting the 'co-ordinates', and thanking the very helpful customer service person, I explained to my daughter that the phrase, or acronym GPS was not a term with which I had grown up with, nor was it one that is in my everyday language, as a rule! I was old fashioned and usually relied on 'eyes and maps', rather than 'ears and phones'.  The response was, "Mrs Lady shows you a map, as well!"  So be it!

The first facility was on Geary Street.  I had told the lady at the customer service center that I was, indeed, familiar with this road, as we had encountered it, several times, since our arrival!  Every road leads to Rome, or Geary Street, it seemed.  However, this part of Geary Street was a long way from 'downtown', and the expected 'surgery' would not take place for about four hours.  However, there was a facility 'downtown', and they may not be as busy!  I drove to the next Firestone Service Center, and was greeted by a very nice man, who explained that the operation would be completed in about two hours!  I told him that we had planned to go to the Wharf, and he told us the various means of transportation we could use, including cabs, buses, or the trolley car.  Of course, we opted for the latter. After all, we were on holiday in San Francisco!  He said that as long as we returned before six, we could leave the car with him all afternoon, which would take care of the parking problem!  I thanked him, and we proceeded along the road, up the first hill.  As we reached the top of the steep hill, my phone rang.  It appeared that Mr. Firestone did not have the number to call the car rental people, and "would it be possible" to return.  Down we walked, showed him the rental agreement, from which he took many details, and we set off, again.  Unsure as to where to collect the preferred method of transportation, I bravely entered the laundry on the corner and asked.  "Up four blocks", was the answer.  Is nowhere ever down?  The trolley car was quite full, but the conductor was merciful.  Like the previous day, those operating the cars were full of character, and appeared to love their job, and were proud of their city.  Calling out to colleagues,along the way, they were a 'flamboyant lot'We stood in the middle of the car, and looked forward.  The bay appeared and disappeared, as we reached the top of the hill, and hurtled down again.  "No charge.  We will get you on the way back", said the conductor!  We lunched at one of the restaurants beside the bay, and decided that it would be a good idea to book a trip, for the following day.  The options were a cruise around the bay, or a tour of Alcatraz.  Remembering my experience last year, being horizontal for most of the boat ride, I would have preferred the trip to the prison, but there were no spaces until April 3, and we would have been home for a week when that date came around!  A cruise it was!  I was informed by one of the ladies in the booth, where we bought the tickets, that she also suffered from 'sea sickness', but she never had a problem on the ships going round the bay.  I smiled, and thought 'famous last words', but decided to accept her word, wear my wrist bands, and take a couple of 'Dramamine', just to be on the safe side!  We were also told that parking would not be a problem, as we could leave the car for three hours in the large car park in the middle of the road, and the signs appeared to concur.  After walking along the quay for a couple of hours, we decided to head back towards Firestone.  As we walked back to the trolley bus terminus, I received a call from Mr. Firestone, who said the car was fixed, and he hoped to see us before six.  The line for the trolley cars was very long.  One of the conductors estimated a wait time of up to two hours.  This was not going to be acceptable, so we decided to walk to the next stop, as it appeared that they 'left some spaces' open for at least one or two passengers to climb aboard at each stop.   Although we had driven down the hill, both in the car, and trolley, I had not realised the energy needed to climb up!  Up to the first block we walked, wondering why we had not brought provisions, e.g. water, with us, and I stopped at the flatish intersection and waited for Samantha. The trolley car stop loomed ahead of us, and we climbed again to reach it.  My theory was not correct and although the trolley stopped, the conductor thought it was most amusing to ask us how many were in our party, and where were we going, and then tell us there was no room!  The character that I had seen in the conductors the previous day was no longer pleasant!  Of course all those on the trolley thought it was most  humourous, and laughed heartily.  I imagine I would have been relieved that I was on the trolley rather than waiting for one, if the tables were turned! Time was marching on, and we marched, as well as one can march up a gradient that usually dictates using grappling hooks!  I saw a taxi at the next intersection, but it was quite obvious it was already taken.  My misery turned to joy, as the fares alighted, but my joy was short lived when I found my legs would not run as fast as I wanted them to.  However, I persevered.  "You are as young as you feel", I heard in my head, but at this particular time, I felt as if I were soon to be reaching 90 years old!  However, I persevered!  "Yes!" seemed to be the most glorious word I had ever heard, as the cabbie answered my question, "Are you for hire?"  I turned to tell Samantha to 'jump in', but she was nowhere to be seen.  I stood on tip toes, and saw the flame red hair of my daughter, as she appeared on the horizon, at eye level.  "Quick" was not a word I should have used, but she persevered, and finally reached the cab. As we climbed the next hill, comfortably seated, we saw, to our left, Lombard Street.  We were so close.  We could have walked up another hill, and then down the crookedest road in the whole world, and then when we reached the bottom, panicked as we would not know how to get back to the car!  The trip in the taxi was much cheaper than the trolley car, and took us almost to the front door. The tyre had been replaced, the rental car company had assumed responsibility, and we wished Mr Firestone a 'Happy Easter', and left.  

Not wanting to waste our toll fees, nor the opportunity, we drove across the bridge once again, this time with Samantha taking a video to the tune of the television series 'Full House', and found the 'lookout' area that we had past on our way to Muir Woods.  More pictures were taken.  I  bravely stood on the wall that separated the level ground from the rocks to the bay, and clicked away.  As the sun started to set, we headed back to the hotel. 

I thought it might be nice to enjoy a cup of coffee before getting ready to head out to dinner.  We had checked out the 'Open Table' website (the one the nice young lady at the job fair had told us about) and found a variety of restaurants.  Samantha took her hot chocolate with vanilla flavoured creamer, and I half filled my cup, and added some hazelnut cream.  It was quicker to take the stairs than the lift, and we climbed up to the first floor.  I headed straight for the ice machine, with the intention of making an iced coffee. Of course, I had not bothered to put my bags in our room, or deposit my coat etc, and I placed the cup under the ice dispenser. Ice poured into my cup, out of my cup, over the floor, to the amusement of my daughter.  However, it was when I went to pick it up and put it back down to steady it, did she fall to her knees and howl.  The cup did not stand on the grate as I had intended, but fell, spilling coffee, hazelnut creamer and the remaining ice all over the floor.  This, to Samantha, was as funny as us not being able to board the trolley car was to the conductor!   Once again, the humour alluded me!  

Dinner was delicious.  Located on Burlingame Avenue, which is downtown Burlingham, which is the area in which we were apparently staying, the Crepevine restaurant was delightful.  I had a chicken filled crepe with sweet potato fries and salad, and Samantha had pasta with shrimp and stuff.  We sat in the open air, separated from the pavement by a wall, and enjoyed the local arena. This was the 'place to be' on a Friday night, so it would seem.  We had managed to park opposite the restaurant and enjoyed walking along the road and window shopping before heading back to the hotel.  It had been a long day and we were expecting another fun filled one to follow!

After breakfast on Saturday, we ran across the road to see the sunrise over the bay.  We were about fifteen minutes too late, but the view was really pretty, none the less!  With four tyres full of air, and a new day dawning, we headed out to the bay. Parking for three hours was indeed available.  However, it was $3 for fifteen minutes, with a maximum payable of over $200.   If we ate at one of the listed restaurants, we could claim up to three hours, after six o'clock, in the evening, and up to two hours before.  It was 9:30am, and we were going on a boat!  We found a meter.  It was not red, nor yellow, but grey.  There were no restrictions, and for three hours we could park at a penalty of $10.  Anything after that would be $5 an hour!  I know we were on holiday, but I would have preferred to have bought souvenirs with my spending money rather than parking tickets!  However, when in Rome!  

We arrived at the quay, and chatted to the only other queue member, who had traveled from Los Angeles for the weekend with his daughter.  As it was the first trip out, and as it was not particularly crowded, the boat chosen for the cruise was the smaller of the two that this company piloted!  I took my pills, fastened my wrist bands and remembered what the lady at the booth had said. We took our places at the front (why do I never learn) and I seated myself in preparation for 'take off'.  Everything was good until we were about fifteen minutes from shore.  I could see now why, that although so close to shore, escaping from Alcatraz was not so easy! The current was so rough, and although we did not have to encounter the cold water, nor the sharks that supposedly live around the rocks, the waves were hideous!  I started to feel a little queasy as we neared the bridge, as did the young boy next to us, who was on a 'big adventure' with his parents.  His mother said that she was going to take him 'inside' until he felt better.  "As long a you bring him out to see under the bridge, honey", was responded to with, "As long as he isn't throwing up, honey!"  I had to laugh. The front of the boat dipped and rose, and I thought about going to the back. However, the pilot did tell us that it would be calmer on the way back, and we were going to make the turn in a couple of minutes. Feeling my temperature rise, I took a swig from the water bottle we had brought with us, and decided to see what happened. As I was about to lay down and die, we turned.  Fortunately, the turn instantly made the boat rock less, and we sailed smoothly back to the shore.  My stomach resumed normal service, and I managed to stand and take some pictures, as the engines were stalled, and we limped alongside the infamous prison.  The eerie feeling made me rather glad that we had not been able to have the tour around. I am sure it is fascinating but not something that I regret not doing.  

Returning to the shore, we headed back to the car, and drove back to Union Square, where I drove into the car park that appeared to have reasonable prices.  However, where I had seen $6 between 12pm and 4pm, I had failed to realise that this meant 'per hour' and not for the whole time.  We could not reverse, so we took a ticket and drove in.  "Go and tell the man that you came in by mistake" was the instructions shrieked to me a I panicked at not knowing what to do.  I went and told the man that I had come in by mistake, and he shook his head and made a grunting sound.  I surmised that this had happened before, as he scanned the ticket, and the barrier opened to allow us to exit.  We went back to our original parking location, and although the price was now $15, as it was a Saturday, it was the most reasonable in town!  Additionally, if we were a little later, I was informed that they would only add another $5 to the charge, rather than increase it to the overnight charge of $30! Very kind!

A taxi back to the Wharf was much cheaper than the trolley cars, and much faster.  We enjoyed a 'take out' lunch from one of the stands, having put our name down on the restaurant waiting list, and removing it, as it seemed to be the 'tourist' thing to do to eat on the run!  We didn't actually eat running, but sat on a bench and watched the world go by.  After lunch, we wandered along the quay again, watched the sea lions that congregate near the aquarium, and went into several gift shops 'just for fun'.  It was like being at the seaside in England in some respects, and nothing like it in others. It was, however, addictive, and we did not want to leave, but we realised that we had exhausted every photo opportunity and walked every path!  It was time to head back.  We wanted to climb the hill again and see Lombard Street from the top!  The sea air must have coddled our brains!  As we were leaving the front, we saw a couple of artists who were drawing caricatures.  This would be the perfect thing to remind us of our vacation!  We sat and chatted to the artist He was a pleasant chap, who had apparently travelled to China to meet the love of his life, only to find that she wanted him to move there, and find a job.  He decided that she was not worth the effort and had returned to San Francisco to take up painting.  He must have been thinking about his lost love when drawing Samantha, as the portrait had her with oriental eyes, and although beautiful, they were not hers!  I am not sure whom he was thinking about, or looking at, when he drew me, as the only part that resembled my features was my hat!  We held back the laughter, paid the poor artist, and then howled all the way along the street.  What a memory!  We would frame the picture of the two ladies whose life we knew nothing about!

Up the three hills along 'Hyde' (aptly named) we climbed, and down Lombard Street we walked. Finally we found a hill to go down!  It was not an easy walk! One that should be taken using grappling hooks and a safety wire, we managed to make it to the bottom unscathed!  After another dozen or six photo opportunities were taken, we headed back to the car. The bus seemed like a good option and was much cheaper than the trolley car and the taxi!  We drove through China Town and watched the locals buying vegetables and bartering with the shop owners.  Asparagus was being inspected, thrown down, picked up again, and reinspected at one store.  I watched mesmerized, as I had no idea what constituted good asparagus.  From my view point, it all looked good, but I am not an expert and I realised that unless it is obvious, I trust the supermarkets when buying food!  The smell each time the doors opened, was mouthwatering, as all the vents from the restaurant kitchens appeared to have their flavoured steam flow in the direction of the bus.  Although I had not long eaten lunch, I found my stomach rumbling.

We fought our way off the bus, which was now bursting at the seams, and entered the lobby of a hotel, where Samantha used her trusty mobile devise to check us in for our flights the following day. The car had been looked after superbly, and we drove back to our temporary home. Enjoying a cup of iced coffee (made by filling the cup with ice first, then creamer and coffee) we headed back to the room.  On our way, we encountered the hotel robot.  Fascinated, (and I was terrified at the technology at the same time,) we stopped and were given a tour of the robots capabilities.  "How does it knock at the door?", asked my inquisitive offspring.  Apparently, once it has the items requested, it calls for the elevator, and when outside your door, it calls your phone.  I laughed all the way to the room, imagining making a prank call, and ordering a pizza for the next door neighbour, and then watching him explain to the tin can that he didn't order pizza.  The sea air had coddled my brain!

Dinner was at a lovely Italian Restaurant on Broadway, in Burlingame.  Parking in the Post Office parking lot was permitted! This was because it was full of parking meters!  

Sunday arrived too soon, and we ran across the road at seven to catch the sunrise, but the clouds were too thick for us to witness the full glory.  We returned to the hotel, ate breakfast, took a care package for lunch, and checked out.  The marina was the first stop, having crossed over Geary Street on our travels! I parked the car along the road, where it was possible to do so for two hours at a time between 8am and 9pm on Sunday, unless you had parking permit with the letter "Q".  I wondered at this for a while, and then realised, that the permit allowed you to park at any time, and did not restrict you from parking. I had wondered why anyone would display a permit that disallowed them to park! The sea air had coddled my brain!  We wandered along the shore, taking our last shots of that bridge and that prison.  Around the corner was the Walt Disney Museum, which we walked around for an hour, and then we got back into the car, and headed for the airport. I filled the car up at a petrol station near the hotel, and we followed the signs so that we could return the vehicle.  All was in order.  The return staff were very pleasant, and we then took the monorail to the terminal.

Our flight home was non-eventful.  We ate dinner, which we had purchased at a restaurant in the airport, and finally landed in Austin at around 9:30pm.  Our bags were the first and third down the shute, and I called Dana, who was in the 'cell park', awaiting our arrival.  

It really had been a trip of a lifetime!  Although we are only a few hours away, and it is not a place that would be viable to visit only once, I do not know that I would hurry to return, mainly because it was so much fun!  It may not have the same effect a second time. However, time will tell!  We had ticked everything off on our list, and had many a tale to tell.  

Returning to work on Monday was not easy.  Having had a full week of SXSW two weeks earlier, then working half a week leading up to the trip, I was sure that everything would seem an anti-climax.  I was, however, really looking forward to a bit of normality!  With nothing specific to do the following weekend, and nothing really planned for the month of April, it would be good to sit back and cogitate on the past months variety of adventures. Living in Austin has certainly provided an opportunity for diversity.  I never would have considered, years ago, that there would ever be an opportunity for me to spend a weekend in Caliornia!  Nor would I have thought that I would ever go to a rodeo!  A rodeo or The Rodeo!  Now that is ....... another story!

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