3 Nov 2008 to 16 Nov 2008

It was a long flight from Rome first to Heathrow London, with a five hour stop then on to San Francisco. By the time we arrived at our hotel, we had been up for nearly 23 hours! Still the rain which welcomed us to San Francisco the night before had cleared for our first morning in America

Tue 4th Nov - Near our hotel was Fisherman's Wharf
First excursion was by ferry to Alcatraz island. Here we are waiting to board.
View of Alcatraz on our 12 minute ferry ride to the island
Vicki standing in the cell block. The audio tour was very interesting including commentary from some of the staff an inmates.
In "The Hole"- solitary confinement where all the misbehaving inmates were sent
It must have been torture for the inmates being so close yet so far from the excitement of San Francisco. The audio tour mentioned that the inmates could on some occasions hear the people having parties and smell food when the wind was blowing in the right direction
Looking west out to the Golden Gate Bridge
Back to the city and we explored Pier 39. It was full of shops and restaurants. The shop for left handers interested Connor
At the end were some pontoons which were covered in sea lions all fighting for space and warm sun
Inside a museum of Penny Arcade machines was a Bocca Della Verita. Strange we had touched the real thing several days earlier in Rome
Next stop was "Ripley's Believe It Or Not"
Complete with a model Cablecar made from over 250,000 matchsticks
Finally off to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe
Wed 5th Nov - Started with a bus tour around the city. Here is a cablecar
City Hall - very flash with gold leaf accents on the roof
Included in the tour was a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge
Next we headed for a cablecar ride
First stop - the Cablecar Museum
Typical American lunch - hot dogs at Union Square. Note also the Sees Candy bag... very nice
Back down to the waterfront and aboard some old ships near the Maritime Museum
Back on the cablecars again - here we are looking down toward the waterfront with Alcatraz in the distance
Looking in the opposite direction gives some indication just how hilly it is around here
Connor with the world's crookedest street behind
Finally catching the cablecar back to the hotel
Dinner that night was at the Rainforest Cafe
Thur 6th Nov - short flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles on American Airlines - it was just like catching a bus, there were heaps of domestic flights too
In the air and a final look back to San Francisco - a really beautiful city
Arriving at L.A. - sun, smog and the Hollywood sign on the hills
Checked in at the hotel, view from our balcony and the kids were keen to get to the waterpark
They both enjoyed the giant water bucket!
That night we headed to Downtown Disneyland for dinner - the kids got some balloon shapes - Danielle a turtle and Connor a light sabre. They also got to build their own bears. They are standing by a large Lego Darth Vader
Fri 7th Nov - Day 1 Disneyland - long day (9:00am to midnight!) - here we are by the entrance
Can't miss out on the characters - Goofy
Woody and Jessie from Toy Story
Lunch was down by the river in Frontierland
Connor got to participate in some Jedi training
Here he is fighting Darth Maul
Waiting for the night parade
Of course Mickey Mouse is the star attraction
Danielle & Connor caught up with Mickey on the way out at the end of a very long and tiring day
Last shot of the night with the kids sporting their Mickey ears
Sat 8th Nov - Day 2 Disneyland - This time we headed for the adjacent theme park in Disney resort called California Experience. Full of more rides based around a California theme. This one is a rapids ride where we got totally soaked!
Heading across to Paradise Pier. The awesome California Screamin coaster in the left background
Headed into the backlot area for the Monsters Inc ride and others
Here's the entrance to the Monsters Inc ride
This is the Hollywood Hotel ride. Based on the Twilight Zone, you are sent up in an elevator whose doors open up to the outside in the openings near the top of the building, then it drops several floors without warning! Way cool!
This park also had its themed parades, based around the movies from Disney/Pixar
Sun 9th Nov - Day 3 Disneyland. Time to hit both parks again, and go on the best rides including...Splash Mountain (pictured)
Haunted Mansion (complete with Nightmare Before Christmas theme)...
...Indiana Jones ride...
...and Space Mountain.
Plus do some activities we missed earlier, like Tom Sawyer's island...
more of Tomorrowland...
...before headed across to California Experence again for the California Screamin roller coaster
and of course the Hollywood Hotel. This picture is taken off a monitor display of the picture taken on the ride just before falling

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