Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Destination of the Month - Alaska Cruise

One of my favorite cruises every year is to Alaska - away from the summer heat and into the cool beauty of the Last Frontier.  It always feels new and fresh to me, and this year did not disappoint.  I did and saw things I'd never done, so it was like going for the first time.  Here are some of the highlights of my 2018 visit:

Hiking with my honey, brother and friend to the waterfall at Mendenhall Glacier


Renting a Jeep in Juneau


Driving in Juneau with the top down - and not freezing

Mendenhall Glacier


A "Fogbow" - beautiful rainbow we saw in the fog in Glacier Bay

Fog lifting in Glacier Bay - I've never had fog there so totally unexpected but amazingly beautiful

Team Music Trivia - we're not as good as we thought we should be

Totem Park in Sitka - never walked this far before

Cool starfish everywhere near the dock

These kids are obviously locals - swimming and jumping off the dock - and they said they weren't cold, even though their skin was bright red.


An amazing day in Glacier Bay


The welcome eagle in Ketchikan


Traveling with my handsome brother

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Destination of the Week - San Francisco Mother/Daughter Getaway

My daughter is 23 and single and still my travel buddy, when she's not working, dating, playing with friends, etc.  So, I was really excited to take her somewhere and not tell her where we were going.  I teased her with hints like "it's somewhere you've never been" and "plan to dress in layers", plus a countdown until it was finally time to go.  She and her friends had come up with some ideas and were waiting to see who guessed right.  So, here we go - off on our Mother/Daughter Weekend Getaway!

Saturday:  I picked her up at work and we headed off to the airport.  Because it was just a weekend trip, we didn't need to check our luggage so we headed straight for the security lines - which were crazy long.  We were a little stressed thinking we were going to miss the flight, but we made it and she then found out where we were going - SAN FRANCISCO! 

Our trip was our adventure to do how we wanted, so we took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from the airport to Powell Street Station.  We watched the area go by and felt like we were fitting right in with the locals.  Well, until we left the train station and then what?  Those streets can be confusing since the names change at every turn, but we eventually figured it out using our google maps app and found our hotel.

 

 

We stayed at King George Hotel - an old, eclectic but cool little hotel with twin beds, a bathroom and closet, wifi and TV.  There wasn't much insulation in the walls, so we could hear the city sounds but it was fun being in the city.  That night we were pretty worn out from traveling, so we ordered Italian in and watched American Idol and rested up for the next busy day.




We woke up Sunday morning and grabbed an Uber headed to Pier 39.  We found a little cafe there and had eggs, bacon, English muffin and a drink.  We then wandered the area reading about Alcatraz and waiting our turn.  I had already purchased our tickets which was good because these tours are always full, so once our time came up, we boarded the ferry and headed across the channel towards the island.



                                 









If you ever visit Alcatraz, plan for a good 3-4 hours.  We arrived and jumped right away into a tour led by a National Park guide telling us all about the most famous escape attempts from Alcatraz - some with not such great endings.  We then entered the Cellhouse for the tour, where we were given headphones and our own narration.  This was interesting because the story of Alcatraz is told by past guards and inmates, in their own words.  We saw cells, visitation windows, the dining hall, solitary, and the recreation yard.  We learned about the families that lived on Alcatraz and how the children of the guards grew up here.  It was really interesting and made you appreciate staying on the right side of the law.  At the end of the tour, we met a former inmate who had reformed, written a book and signed our copies for us.

       

 

   


 

After leaving Alcatraz, we were hungry.  There's no food sold on Alcatraz, so we were ready to find lunch.  We headed over to Fisherman's Wharf to see what we could find.  There are so many options - burgers, Mexican, hot dogs, donuts, ice cream.  We decided on Players since it was on the water and we could see the boats coming in and out, Golden Gate Bridge and even Alcatraz from our window.  The burgers were so yummy, but the garlic fries - they were the best - I could have eaten that as a meal by itself.  We debated donuts and ice cream afterwards but we were just too full to eat any more.


    

Next - on to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  We grabbed another Uber and headed south.  We saw so much of the city using Uber and didn't spend our whole budget on transportation.  There are so many places to stop and view the bridge, but we got as close as we could - Chrissy's Field.  We walked along the trail to the beach, took some pics, found a log to sit on and watched the waves come in, even played with a little puppy who thought we were his new best friend - at least until his "mommy" threw the ball and he was gone again.  The wind was crazy down here by the shore and caused us to start getting chilled just sitting, so we started walking back north along the trail and talked and enjoyed the scenery, people watching, laughing and relaxing.


 

 




After this long day, we were ready to get to the hotel and rest our feet.  We of course called an Uber and stopped at a Walgreens for some snacks and then enjoyed a night in the hotel.  We attempted to watch some TV but we were so worn out from the day that we crashed pretty early.

The next morning, Monday, was our last day in San Francisco, so we got up and headed out for breakfast at a little diner we had seen nearby called Lori's - very retro, cute, friendly waitress, really good food.  We started walking past several little art stores and museums with cute window displays, but then we decided our feet needed some love, so we found a pedicure spa and they fit us right in. 

 

                                           

With our feet relaxed and our toes painted pretty colors, we headed uphill - I am so serious - those hills are killer, but we did it.  We probably walked about 6 blocks mostly uphill and found the Cable Car Museum, which was free to the public.  We learned all about the history of the Cable Car and how it operates today.  We then jumped on the closest cable car and headed to Ghiradelli Square.  We passed Lombardy Street, the crookedest street in America, but we didn't jump off because it only stopped for a few minutes.  Rachel loved hanging off the side of the cable car like in the movies.  She of course made friends with a family from Australia - no cute guys her age though.



 
After arriving at Ghiradelli Square, we walked (well kind of ran) to the Ghiradelli Store for our free sample and then we walked around looking at all the fun shops and window shopping.  
 

    

Yep you guessed it - another Uber!  We jumped in and headed out to see the Painted Ladies.  For those of you born in this century, you might not know what those are.  These are a row of 5 homes that are Victorian era homes and they were used in the opening credits of the TV show Full House.  Although this isn't the actual home where the show was filmed, the park across the street is shown at the beginning of the show with the family having a picnic - so we sat and drank a soda and watched people go by the houses.  Down the street (but too far to walk and we didn't want to Uber just for that) was the house where Mrs. Doubtfire was partially filmed.  We just looked it up online and felt like we were there.


 

From here, we took another Uber back to the hotel to rest up for the fun night we had planned.  We hung out at the hotel, took a little snooze, and then got all dressed up for a baseball game.  The fun almost ended prematurely as I missed the last step on the stairs and ended with a nice, swollen, sprained ankle, but that didn't deter us.  We grabbed an Uber and were dropped off at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.  After checking out the little museum, shopping for goodies, and finding our seats, we settled in for an amazing game.  The guys from Metallica were the guests of honor, playing the National Anthem on guitar, throwing out the first pitch, and showing up in random times and areas of the field.  We had heard about the food here and it was all true - so many choices, so delish!  Nachos, pretzels, churros, more than you can even imagine. 

 

 

 



 

After getting back to the hotel Monday night after a super fun night at the old ball game, we hit the hay.  We woke up Tuesday morning, jumped on BART (yes we found it easily this time), and headed back to the airport and reality.  It was such a great weekend and we fit so much in over the course of 3 days.  The ankle took about 3 weeks to actually  heal (it was worse than I originally thought), but I wouldn't do it any differently. 

Who's up for a Mother/Daughter Getaway?  I'm here to help you make the most of your next trip!

Michelle - Travel Adventures
210-858-6399
michelle@traveladventuresbymichelle.com
www.traveladventuresbymichelle.com