Saturday, February 21, 2009

Around San Francisco

San Francisco is our next destination after our Toronto-Niagara Falls trip in Canada. We arrived around lunch time a few days ago and it was raining all day. Last time we ate was around 8:00AM Eastern Time so we were hungry by 12:00PM Pacific Time. After checking-in, we went to Fishermen's Wharf for lunch by around 1:00pm-ish.

We had a hard time looking for a place to eat because they are either closed, a fast food or not to our liking. We ended up eating at Joe's Crab Shack and it sure was a good hearty meal! We had Joe's steampot which included shrimps, sausages, potatoes, corn and of course - hefty servings of snow and dungeness crabs!

Because it was raining, there was nothing much to do for us. We took time instead to go to convenience and grocery stores to stock up on food items and toiletries on the way back to our hotel. On a convenience store near Fishermen's Wharf, I saw these shelf and I thought something's wrong here. :P

We bought Muni passports which gave us unlimited rides to city buses, street cars and cable cars. Because transportation in the city is very efficient, this has been a very good value for us. Our main mode of transportation throughout the city was through cable cars because the two cable car lines intersect right in front of our hotel.

Early in the morning after we arrived, we went to Embarcadero Center to pick up a car rental. We planned to go outside Bay Area and Gilroy the whole day.

On the way to Gilroy.

Me. Don't be fooled though, it was mostly my eldest brother who drove the car all-day.

Gilroy Premium Outlets

We returned the car after that day and went around the city instead using public transportation. On the way to Fishermen's Wharf to have breakfast, we stopped by Lombard street to see the famous "crooked street".

Fishermen's Wharf

We also hopped on to a bus and went to see the Golden Gate Bridge upclose.

We also passed by Ghirardelli Square and got some chocolates on our way out.

After lunch, my mom and I passed by Union Square. We thought it was a park attraction of some sort. Turns out, it is a shopping district!

The next day, which was actually yesterday, we went to Pier 41 and aboard Alcatraz Clipper, we cruised to Alcatraz Island.

The island was famous as a military prison until 1960s. We walked around the island to see the beautiful surroundings and inside the building structures for a view of the now defunct prison cells.

We also took time to go to the first and largest Chinatown outside Asia. We also had our lunch there.

Because yesterday is our last day, we came back to Joe's Crab Shack to make sure we don't ruin our last night in the city. Like before, we had a good time and had a hearty meal.

Another shot of Joe's steampot!

As I leave San Francisco today, I cannot help but think how beautiful this city is. It's feels like home being there and there are so many things to do but so little time! There are still other places for me left to explore like Napa Valley and Berkeley so there are still reasons for me to come back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A short Canadian trip

My mother, eldest brother and I are now in Canada to meet some family relatives and do some sight-seeing. For this very short trip, we didn't have much chance to go around but we made the most out of our time to explore the city.

We arrived late in the afternoon and after we checked in, we met with our relatives for dinner. And in true pinoy fashion, rest of the night was spent with singing with a videoke mic.

We spent a few hours the next morning to go around the city as we are leaving by noon for an overnight in Niagara. After hearing a mass in St. Michael's Cathedral, we went to places that are within the vicinity of our hotel. This is the Old City hall of Toronto.

The curvacious towers on the right is the new Toronto City Hall. On the left is an ice skate park.

On our way to Niagara later that day, we passed by Rogers Centre and the CN Tower. Due to the lack of time, we didn't go up or spent time here. My mom and I went up the tower on our last visit to have dinner in the revolving restaurant.

After 3.5 hours of travel, we reached Niagara and immediately checked-in our hotel. Our room had a nice view of the falls and we can't help but be awed. We usually want to go out of the room and explore the nearby areas after checking-in but this time we just spent the rest of the afternoon in the room. The falls on the left is called the American Falls and on the right is the Horseshoe Falls.

Later that night, we went down for a stroll and went closer to the falls. Unlike last year when my mom and I were here just for a day trip, we had a chance this time to see the lighting of the falls at night. It is nice to see it at daylight, but I like it even more at night.

After breakfast the next day, we went down again to see a closer look of Horseshoe Falls.

I really love these cities. Toronto is such a nice and cozy city while Niagara obviously draws me to come back because of its magnificent surrounding. Even if this is my second time to come to these cities, I still felt like it was my first and there are things for me to do and explore. I'm definitely looking forward to have a chance and be there again for the third time!