18 day road trip. Heading south from San Francisco on the PCH – ending in Las Vegas

Day 1 Left San Francisco on -Highway 1, stopped at Pigeon Point and Redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park.

Day 2 and 3 Monterey, Took a dolphin cruise, visited Carmel, crossed the magnificent Bixby Bridge, gazed at the beauty of Big Sur saw a cute little squirrel.

 Day 4 Spent the day at Hearst Castle, marvelled at the Californian Oranges, and enjoyed some pastries at the Danish Village Solvang.

Day 5 and 6: Cruised into Santa Barbara – Loved the Mission, Courthouse and the waterfront – the architecture, flowers and tiles are stunning.

Day 7, 8 and 9 Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard, Universal Studios, LA glittering from Griffith Observatory, Sunset Horse Ride in the Hollywood Hills and a downtown LA historical/literary Black Dahlia tour – great experience.

Day 10, 11 and 12 After a fun few days of Theme parks we were ready for some reality.

Day 13, 14, 15 A real highlight was the visit to San Juan Capistrano Mission. La Jolla, Coronado, Old Town and Balboa Park San Diego.

Day 16, 17 and 18 Mixed bag – Mohave Desert, the oasis of Peggy Sue’s Diner then Vegas baby!

Day trip on parts of Route 66. Saw Hoover Dam, that little minx Betty Boop again, and was struck by the unbelievable beauty of the Grand Canyon in winter, then back to Vegas

And so ended our fabulous stay in America. We caught the plane from Las Vegas for Sydney and once we were home we began to plan for our next adventure.


San Francisco

Arrived in San Francisco and checked into our hotel, The Warwick. Went out for dinner and grabbed a pizza, walked around Union Square and then took the steady climb up to Nob Hill. Pretty chilly but it was great to get a feel of the city before we went to sleep.

Union Square San Francisco

Had a fantastic day walking through Chinatown, lunch at the Ferry Building then the first highlight of the day, a visit to the City Lights Bookstore and a walk around the North Beach area.

Second highlight of the day was a trip to the Oracle Arena in Oakland to see my favourite basketball team – The Golden State Warriors. They played against the Sacramento Kings and were victorious – 114 – 110.

29th December – Andrew’s birthday, so a walk to Fisherman’s Wharf, lunch and a trip to Alcatraz was on the menu. The weather was magnificent, cool but sunny so we had an enjoyable ferry trip to Alcatraz. An amazing place, stayed for about 2 hours. We caught the ferry back to Pier 39 and went for a walk to Fisherman’s Wharf – only stopping for some hearty seafood chowder along the way. Ended up at Ghiradellis for dessert, which was some delicious ice-cream. Sat on the grass and enjoyed the magnificent view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay.

Made our way back to the hotel via the Keane Eyes Gallery – had just seen the film Big Eyes so it was fantastic to see some of Margaret Keane’s work. Walked home via Lombard Street, the queue of people lining up to drive down the world’s most crooked street was amazing!! Walked past Grace Cathedral which was majestically perched at the top of Nob Hill. Quiet night tonight, walked down to Union Square and had dinner at one of the little cafes

Headed off for to explore today. Saw the Painted Ladies, had lunch in Haight Ashbury then walked to the Golden Gate Park. Had a great stroll through these areas but when we reached the park it started to rain so we did not get to see much there. Loved Haight Ashbury and all of the cool murals and shops. Food was good too!

Had a huge day of walking – saw some amazing architecture, had a ride on a cable car then hit Chinatown for dinner. An early night was needed as we got up at the crack of dawn to head to Yosemite.

It was pitch black and freezing as we waiting in the early hours of the last day of 2015 for our coach to pick us up for our trip to Yosemite. It was a long journey but so worth it. Luckily the bus was comfortable and the scenery along the way was beautiful – even saw some wild foxes. It was cold and sunny so just perfect for visiting Yosemite.

We spent about 4 hours in the park before making the long journey back to the city. It was a brilliant way to cap of the year and our stay in San Francisco. To spend time in this truly awesome environment was an unforgettable experience.

Christmas in New York 2015

Spent 6 days discovering some of what this amazing city has to offer! Stayed at the Salisbury Hotel near Central Park – spacious and a fabulous location. Arrived in the evening – bleary eyed and ready for a good sleep.

New York City you hear the city before you see it, bipping horns, sirens and the gentle rumble of trucks. This apple is too big to take in at one sitting – we will have to do it one bite at a time. Heading off to Times Square and then a walk through Central Park to spend the afternoon at the Met. Brilliant afternoon spent wandering through the rooms full of paintings by Rembrant, Vermeer, Van Gogh – all of the masterpieces you learned about at school.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Walked back to the hotel through Central Park. In the grey winter chill its stark beauty was just beautiful. Squirrels bustled through the clipped grass, as the smell of warm chestnuts filled the air.

Twilight in Central Park

This evening we all went our separate ways to the theatre. Andrew to see China Doll with Al Pacino, Eliza and I to see Wicked and Annabelle went to see her beloved Phantom of the Opera.

The next 5 days were spent walking the Highline,

lunching at Chelsea Market, shopping at Tiffany’s, taking in the Christmas lights, marvelling the night view from the Top of the Rock, more theatre

and a walk across the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge. Once we hit Brooklyn we stopped and had a much needed lunch in at nearby pub. Eliza and Andrew then walked up Flatbush Drive towards the Barclay Centre to watch the Brooklyn Nets take on the Washington Wizards. The Wizards won 111 – 96.

The Brooklyn Bridge

Annabelle and I caught the train back into the city to see Keira Knightley in Therese Raquin. We thoroughly enjoyed the play.

We all met back at our hotel – tired but still buzzing after another great day. And so ends our Christmas in New York, next stop San Francisco.