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Old October 6th, 2004, 05:18 PM
PapaBill PapaBill is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,988
Default San Fran and San Diego

Sea day Tuesday and the weather is improved. We ate at the Normandy again. Oh my, what a spectacular meal!!! We were greeted like old returning friends and service was up yet another notch. The Maitre'D brought out the chef to greet us and he seemed genuinely pleased as we praised his cuisine. Must tries would include the goat cheese soufle appetizer, the chateau briand , the chefs suprise deserts, the chocolate soufle and the bombe suprise desesert. We rolled out after 3 hours and another memorable meal.
San Francisco is probably very familiar to many of you. We sailed under the Golden Gate in a bit of fog and while still dark, then under the Bay Bridge and our dock was all the way down by SBC Park. We took a morning bus tour. Good tour of the city but the guide would bore a rock to tears. Immediately upon the tour ending we headed for Pier 39. We had a nice fish lunch with a harbor view and a view of " the rock". We checked out the California sea lions that have now gone from nuisance to world class tour destination. What a stench.
We wandered in and out of shops, then down to Fishermans Wharf, Cannery and Ghiradelli Square. All the while taking photos and doing a little shopping, browsing and people watching. We walked back to Pier 39, browsed just a bit more , I bought a trolly car to add to my toy collection and we went back to the ship. I guess a lot of folks more familiar with the area stayed off the ship until quite late.
Final full day was a sea day . Packing mixed with shipboard activities and quiet lounging. Whales were sighted almost anytime between Victoria and San Diego .
Upon arrival in San Diego we took a short cab ride to 2nd Ave near Juneau to another B&B, the Keating House. Although not the detailed restoration that O' Canada House was in Vancouver, much was made up by a very large room, very reasonable price, fabulous hosting by owners Ben and Doug. Breakfasts were good and location great.
We spent Friday afternoon walking around Balboa Park and it's Museums and theatres.
We had very casual (very good) lunch at Waters Cafe at the San Diego Museum of Art.(in the sculpture garden). Dinner at Hob Nob Hill on First and Juneau. An old local place, they served very affordable (and delicious) "comfort" foods. Nothing fancy, all was excellent.
Saturday we toured San Diego on the Old Towne Trolly tour. We made stops at Balboa Park, Old Towne, Sea Side, Gas Light district and Coronado . We averaged about an hour per stop, (two in Coronado ) and finished up at about 6pm back in Balboa park where we checked out the Spanish Gallery area. Dinner at Fifth and Hawthorne (location and the name of the restaurant). You know they have confidence when they don't even have a sign out front. Special available most times, 4 course dinner , for two, including a full bottle of wine, $49.95. Excellent meal and service, thank goodness within walking distance to "home" as we finished the bottle of wine.
Sunday we packed after breakfast and moved out our bags to the dining room when breakfast was over. Doug and Ben gave us free run of the house until that night as our plane wasn't until 945 pm. We spent the late morning and afternoon in Old Town once again, enjoying a great outdoor Mexican Meal with a Margaritta that was served in a swimming pool sized glass. High 80 degree temps were a far cry from Vancover and our Alaska ports. Off to Newark at 945pm, home in NY by 8am. We did the major unpacking then I showered and went in to my office for a few hours. Gram went back to her office Tuesday .
Essentially we were gone for 19 days. It was almost like 4 separate mini vacations all strung together.
I regret missing Seattle, Sitka and Catalina Island, on the otherhand I got to experince Brenda's backyard very fully instead.
It was afterall "The Great Alaska and West Coast Adventure" we wanted it to be.
Now to file for my GST refund, file a travel insurance claim for the extended stay in Vancouver and file a brief complaint to Celebrity for what was probably inadequate compenstaion. But I won't let any of it spoil the grand adventure.
I'll probably still be editing photos at Christmas time.
This was a wonderful experience for us . Thank you for allowing me to share my excitement for it with you.
PapaBill
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