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Old October 6th, 2004, 05:18 PM
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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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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: San Fran and San Diego

PapaBill, after reading your wonderful travelogue, there is one thing that stands out in my mind - that Margarita served in a swimming-pool-sized glass!! My oh my, I would like to have tried one of those!
Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, felt like I was with you all the way. Don't wait till Christmas to sort those pictures, I am impatient when it comes to photos!

donna

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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: San Fran and San Diego

Thanks for taking the time to share your voyage Bill. Glad that you were able to enjoy it all despite the weather! An excellent read!

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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: San Fran and San Diego

Wow!!!! I want my next trip to be as good as yours was!!!!

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Old October 7th, 2004, 06:49 AM
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That was fascinating. You need to go on another cruise as soon as possible so we can read about another adventure.

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Old October 7th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: San Fran and San Diego

PapaBill, San Diego is one place in the USA that I wouldn't mind living-love Coronado!! I love the Mexican restaurant in Old Town(sounds like you had a lovely Margarita!!).
Glad you and Gram had a wonderful vacation. Your review of your trip was very good!

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Old October 7th, 2004, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: San Fran and San Diego

Bill
Thank you for these posts. They were very interesting to read and I greatly enjoyed them. I am glad you had a wonderful time.

Take care,
Mike(Who could go for a chateau briand, right now)

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Old October 7th, 2004, 10:57 PM
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Papabill, glad you enjoyed our city - San Diego. I promised Anne the next article is about what to do ... I am hoping for a break tomorrow to write it.

Harry

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Old October 8th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Re: San Fran and San Diego

Harry, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in San Diego. We ran around quite a bit trying to "see" as much as we could in the two 1/2 days and one full day we really had to explore. We are taking a summer vacation next July with our oldest daughter and her family and are thinking that San Diego area might fit the bill for all of us, young and old.
I look forward to your article, and I am disappointed we did not get to take advantage of the wonderful thoughts you shared in your Catalina article as that was one of the 3 ports cancelled on our trip. Perhaps next time.
Brenda, thanks again for sharing your thoughts on Vancouver with us. What a beautiful city and surrounding area you live in. This too will be part of a return visit to the Northwest sometime in the future.
To everyone who read the tales of our adventure and commented, thank you for your comments. We truly had a grand adventure . Hard to describe in just a few paragraphs.
The images will live in my mind forever. Is that not what the travel is about?
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