Chocolate highs, caffeine lows


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North America » United States » California » San Francisco » Alcatraz
December 15th 2019
Published: December 15th 2019
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After lying awake for four hours in the wee hours battling jet lag (and booking a Santa visit at Macy’s at 3am local time), I was genuinely hoping that San Fran would live up to its reputation of not having bad coffee. Not so. I have now had what I am aiming for as the worst coffee of the trip. Let’s hope the aforementioned objective of not visiting Starbucks doesn’t destroy that very low-set bar.

But there was an upside - truly the greatest almond brittle I’ve ever tasted, with chocolate and sea salt...lucky they suckered us in to buying a big container to take home.

Since Sydney got another light rail line today (no transport nerdiness here), we thought we’d branch out from our success with the buses and try the street cars (not to be confused with the cable cars, clearly a tourist ploy, given their ticket price, obviously reflecting their huge maintenance costs...I could go on). Down to Pier 33 for our Alcatraz cruise. It was a truly stunning morning, and while there was a brisk wind blowing, it just made it crisper and clearer on the short trip out to the island.

We took the scenic route up to the cell block for the audio tour, via spectacular views of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and the city. And some, frankly, unnaturally large sea gull looking creatures. Luckily I had children to protect me from their flapping. Because there was A LOT. And they’re big.

Made it to the relative safety of the avian-free cell block and picked up the audio tour for a really interesting walk around the prison area and some fascinating history of the inmates, guards and escape attempts (I’m thinking someone watched Shawshank Redemption). Was thoroughly enjoyed by our two young accomplices.

Back to the city and some delicious lunch at the farmers’ market (under the ever watchful and freaky gaze of steroided seagulls) then to the Exploratorium. A bit like questacon but maxxed out. Anything that can keep Beeb entertained and engaged for 3+ hours after spending most of the night awake is a winner in my book! Lots of great hands-on, interactive activities involving lights, sound, magnets, electricity and other science stuff. I will admit that there were times we didn’t even know where the children were, we were having so much fun! And pleasantly uncrowded. Perhaps everyone else was outside hanging with the over-sized winged freaks.

After all that activity and learning (and overwhelming fear of being flapped on the head), we were happy to head back to our cosy bird-free neighbourhood hang for some dinner and relaxation!

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