Monthly Archives: July 2012

San Francisco, America

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San Francisco, America

With it’s distinctive landscape and architecture, it’s no wonder tourists are naturally drawn to the city of San Francisco.

Perhaps one of the most visited attractions in San Fransico, lives in the sea.  The jagged form of Alcatraz Island, slowly appears wrapped in a deep sea of fog, as the boat nears what is commonly known as “The Rock”.   Pouring rain and fierce winds certainly made my experience on Alcatraz scarier, but did not at all affect the educational portion of the tour.  Whilst on the island, I was given a head set to wear.  These were a great idea, as instead of following a large tour group, I was able to gain knowledge about Alcatraz at my own pace. 

Back on the mainland, a sleepy bayside community, called Sausilito, lies tucked away over the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike the city, Sausilito is crammed with boutiques, window shops and secluded fishing wharves.  Being only 10 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausilito is a great escape from the noises of the city!

Sprawled throughout San Francisco are many cafes and restaurants.  The Rain Forest Cafe is my personal favourite.  This restaurant is best suited  for families with children.  Most other restaurants in the city just serve spectacular food, but The Rain Forest Cafe makes what could be a boring dining experience, extremely fun!  Instead of waiters and waitresses, my food was served to me by ‘Ranger David’.  The waiters’ outfits include khaki shirts and black pants.  Each kid’s meal comes with a gift pack containing a ruler, activity book, wallet and pencils, all with the Rain Forest Cafe symbol printed on it.  Complete with a souvenir shop (due to its great success), moving animals and half-hourly thunder storms, The Rain Forest Cafe is certainly one of San Francisco’s hot spots for a spectacular dining experience.

The beyond steep hills make it difficult to discover San Francisco by foot.  Therefore, I relied mostly on tour buses to make my way around.  This is a great way to see the city, as it ensures that you see everything and don’t waste time visiting non-worthy attractions.  San Francisco City Sightseeing Tours offers to take you to many different places.  I rode two of these tours, the Golden Gate and Sausilito Tour and The Night Loop.  The Golden Gate and Sausilito tour stops at Sausilito, the Presidio, Ghirradeli Square, the Palace of Fine Arts and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.  The trip across the famous monument stops at both sides for fantastic photo oppurtunities. 

The Night Loop stops at China Town, Embarcadero, The Bay Bridge, Union Square and Alamo Square.  Alamo Sqaure is home to ‘The Painted Ladies’ of ‘Postcard Row’.  The yellow ‘Painted Lady’ is in fact from Full House, a popular 90s TV series starring the young Olsen twins.  Both tours are worthwhile, however if neither interest you, there are also many other tours available. 

May the Travel-Bug be with you……

Places to go and things to do:

Alcatraz Island=https://www.alcatraztrips.com/index2.asp?source=google&gclid=CMmfqL7olbECFedMpgod6S6UhA
The Rain Forest Cafe=http://www.rainforestcafe.com/
Sausilito=http://www.ci.sausalito.ca.us/
City Sightseeing Tours=http://www.city-sightseeing.us/allloopstour.html

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Bruges, Belgium

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Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is knwon as Belgium’s medievil city for four reasons beginning with C, canals, chocolate, cobble stones and carriages. Chocolate shops can be found in every direction. Many tourists lurk around the Market Square. This is where you can hop onto a horse-drawn carriage and ride along the cobblestone roads, or explore Bruges’ famous Bell Tower.

To look at Bruges from a different perspective, why not take a half-hour boat ride down the canals, where you are treated to jaw-dropping scenery and historical buildings almost completely covered in ivy. The oldest bridge in Bruges (located at the western end of Spaase Loskaai), which dates back to 1391, is also included on the tour. This bridge was originally built by the monks in their nearby monastery to make the town easily accessible.

Bikes are another form of transport to see the city. They are available for hire and are inexpensive. Riding these bikes out to the windmills is a must-do whilst in Bruges. As they are on the outskirts of the city there is no crowd, just the bike, the windmills, and you. There are four windmills in total. They were built from the late 1700s to the late 1800s, however, most of them were rebuilt in the 1990s. Two of these windmills are still used for grinding flour and are available for tourists to climb for a small fee (2 Euros).

The Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story) is one of Bruges’ main attractions. This museum represents what Bruges is most famous for, chocolate! Here, you can learn about the process of making Belgian chocolate, talk about chocolate with experts, and even taste the chocolate yourself.

Places to Visit and Things To Do:

The Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story): http://www.choco-story.be/ENG/index.htm
Bruges Bike Rental (Niklaas Desparsstraat 17, Bruges) : http://www.brugesbikerental.be/
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides & Bell Tower – Markt (Market Sqaure)

May the Travel-Bug be with you………