San Francisco: A Perfect Stopover

Well, we’ve finally arrived in good ‘ole Blighty. It’s so wonderful to be here and so green and beautiful. We’re soaking up the beautiful countryside and I feel very much a tourist in saying it’s all so very ‘quaint’! It’s such a joy to drive through the tunnels of trees on the country lanes and see all the cottages adorned with summer flowers.

The girls coped brilliantly with all the travelling, though it wasn’t easy and we’re all still catching up on our sleep and waiting for our body clocks to adjust (good ‘ole Charlotte is still doing her ‘number two’ in the middle of the night!).

The girls were exceptionally good on the flights, though both confused. On the Auckland to San Francisco leg, poor Sophie kept trying to lie down on the floor to sleep asking for ‘baaboo’ and saying, ‘Night, night’ with little tears on her face to all the passengers. Charlotte went to sleep well, but woke midway with a funny tummy and was really wanting her bed at home. She really choked back her tears and was so brave to go back to sleep when all she really wanted, at that point in time, was to be back home. She is learning at a very young age that travelling isn’t always easy and can be very tiring, but is so worthwhile.

We stayed at a lovely hotel in SF, Hotel del Sol, a half hour walk from Fisherman’s Wharf. Charlotte crashed to sleep in the buggy on the way down, but Sophie was bright eyed and enjoyed a taste of Daddy’s beer. We spent a lovely afternoon there, including a visit to the aquarium, and found a great playground near our hotel before all crashing to sleep around 8.30pm SF time.

We slept brilliantly and woke recharged for day two in SF. Charlotte had seen a ‘Bike the Bridge’ sign (Blazing Saddles) the day before and was really enthusiastic about us doing it. We probably wouldn’t have dared venture forth if it wasn’t for her determination! And it was brilliant! Dan and I felt alive and full of a zest we used to feel all the time. The children LOVED it and we will definitely have to look into doing more cycling with them when we get back to NZ.

Our bike ride finished in sunny Santilino, from where we caught a ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Of course no visit to SF would be complete without a ride on a cable car and Charlotte delighted everyone with her chatter on the cable cars in Wellington (all two of them!). We took a bus from our hotel into downtown, where we disembarked in the centre of Chinatown (the largest Chinatown outside of Asia!). Charlotte was in awe of the SF Cable Car museum and watching the huge wheels pulling the street cables. Sophie fell asleep in Dan’s arms whilst we rode the rickety cable car and we got off at the top of to walk down ‘The World’s Crookedest Street’ (Charlotte was really keen to see ‘Herbie’!) to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Whilst Sophie slept Charlotte delighted in the Musee Mechanique (and spending lots and lots of ‘quarters’!).

Another wonderful day in SF and all went to sleep and had a very restful night.

We only had a morning left before departing for the airport and after a lovely time at the local playground we ventured down to Fisherman’s Wharf for a final look around.

Sophie fell asleep in my arms enroute to the airport and didn’t wake up till we’d got through customs (I even had to take her shoes off to pass through!).

The Virgin Atlantic Flight to London was brilliant and both the girls were amazing (it helped that four of the air attendants had seen us biking the bridge and a couple had taken our photograph for us – but we didn’t recognise them with their uniforms and lippy on! My feet swelled up a little, what with Sophie sleeping on me for 6 hour’s straight, but all in all it went well! Charlotte didn’t sleep much, but was charged on adrenaline and delighted in watching a couple of movies!

There is so much to write about, but pressed for time, so will have to write more another night. I’m still catching up on sleep, so really should get away now.

We’ve only been here two and a half day’s, but have already done so much. The girls absolutely adore ‘Chicken’ Grandma and Grandad. They are loving their English country garden and playing out late. On our second night here Grandma read Charlotte stories to sleep and this evening it was Grandad’s turn. Sophie even demanded Grandad dress her for bed!

Travelling across so many time zones and adapting the girls from winter to summer ‘overnight’ isn’t easy and we are all emotionally charged, but it is so worthwhile. Hampshire is absolutely beautiful and to sit watching cricket from an English pub this evening was a perfect end to a great day.