Archive for November 2014


I went to San Francisco again last October to find a rental apartment prior to my permanent move here. At the same time, my husband had a company event to attend to. So, while he was going to the conferences, I explored San Francisco by myself. During my previous visits to SF, I only went to the famous attractions as recommended by TripAdvisor or travel books. This time, I revisited few of the attractions and went to some local yarn shops (I crochet and I need to know where to get my supply when I move here). For a female traveller, SF is generally a safe city to travel alone. There are parts of the city that you want to avoid. For example, I wanted to go to a yarn store in Mission area. I googled the direction and it gave me the BART station where I should get off and the walking direction to the shop. However, when I searched for the corresponding BART station, a lot of locals give bad reviews about the surroundings of the station (their main complaint was that there were a lot of homeless people and drunk people around the area). This made me uncomfortable since I was really new in the city. Fortunately, there is another alternative to get there without getting off at that sketchy station – although it would take a bit longer.  My suggestion is that always do a little research about your destination, especially if it’s a bit off where the people usually go.

When we arrived on Friday morning, me and my husband rented a car to go around the city. We already visited Lombard Street in 2007. However, my husband never actually drove on San Francisco’s most crookedest street. If you want to drive through the eight sharp turns street, go to Russian Hill area between Hyde St. and Leavenworth St or type this address on your GPS: 1018 Lombard Street, San Francisco, California 94109 (ref). This attraction can be very crowded with lots of tourists buses. If you don’t want to drive to the area, you can take Hyde Street cable car to bring you to the upper part of the crooked street. For more information, click here.

Lombart St

Lombard Street

In the evening, we went to San Francisco City Hall. The exterior of this building reminded me of Les Invalides (Napoleon’s tomb) in Paris. The present city hall was actually built 2 blocks away from the original building that was ruined during 1906 earthquake. Across the street, there are California Public Utilities Commission headquarter building, San Francisco Opera, and Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall (the home of San Francisco Symphony).

SF City Hall

San Francisco City Hall

SF Symphony Hall

California Public Utilities Commission (left); San Francisco Opera (mid); Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall (right)

The following day, we decided to explore another side of San Francisco using public transportation. The BART is a rapid transit system connecting the Bay area (north of San Mateo County to San Francisco to East Bay). It has five lines with lots of stations (see here for the list of stations). If you’re using smart phone, google map automatically gives you the BART station names whenever you choose the public transit or you can check its official website to plan your trip. The ticket fare is based on the distance you are going to travel, i.e. which station you’ll be getting off. There are charts of fee on the ticket vending machines to determine how much you should pay. These vending machines accept cash, debit card, or credit card. If you think buying each ticket for each trip is a hassle, you can buy a Clipper card. Clipper is re-loadable card that you can use time over time by tapping the card to the sensor at the entry gates. This way, you don’t have to bother figuring out how much you should pay on your trip. Watch out for the balance of the card every time you scan it on the gate. If you are short of balance prior exiting the station, there will be a vending machine inside to re-fill your card. Clipper card is sold at some BART station and most Walgreens stores.

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So, this would be my last instalment of my San Francisco visit in early 2014. After having an interesting day at The Walt Disney Family Museum the day before, it was my last day in SF. My flight was in the afternoon, so me and my husband decided to visit touristy sites in the morning. First, we headed to the famous red bridge in the world a.k.a The Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge connects San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. It held the record of the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964. There are 2 viewing points near the area: Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion on the south side – SF Peninsula (click here for the map) and Vista Point on the north side – Marin County (click here for the map). Both viewing sites have very limited parking spots (Vista Point has more spots but it is usually crowded with tourists’ cars), so be real patient to wait for someone to go out. Another option is using public transport to go here. The official Golden Gate website has direction for the public transit options.

On this trip, me and my husband went to the Golden Gate Pavilion. We visited this very site 7 years ago, so we wanted to have a nostalgic walk around the site. A little touch up had been done around the site. There is a gift shop that wasn’t there before. The bicycle and jogging paths were under construction 7 years ago. There are big posters explaining the history and construction of the bridge. I won’t bore you into details on those ones hehehe… In fact, you can read here for all the informations about the bridge.

We walked on the bridge to take some pictures. At the lower path, you’ll be able to see the big steels foundation of the bridge closest to the land. IMO, this viewing site has the more beautiful shot of the bridge itself. You’ll be able to capture the whole bridge in a great angle. While Vista Point offers you a picturesque shot of San Francisco downtown and a bit of the Golden Gate Bridge on the right. I had a chance to visit Vista Point last October when my brother in-law came to visit us. See the picture for comparison.

Golden Gate-1

Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion where you can get a great shot of the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate-2

Posters about the Golden Gate Bridge information

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If you read my previous post, welcome back! Sorry it took me months to finish the second post of my SF trip. This time I have a legit excuse 😛 Me and my hubby is relocating our family down south to U.S.A! *details will follow…* Long story short, me and my hubby is finally settling down at our destination in California. My hubby drove for literally 1000 miles from BC to California over 4 days! But we did enjoy the trip and saw beautiful things along the way *wink… another blog post 😛 Okay okay… back to the blog post….

After having a satisfying breakfast, we decided to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum in Presidio area. At first, I was a bit hesitant to visit when I saw this small museum on the internet. Since I visited most of SF attraction in 2007, I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, this museum is pretty big and it contains lots of Walt Disney memorabilia as well as lots of stories behind the Mickey Mouse creator. The museum does provide the visitor with lots of information from the creation of each character, the construction of Disney World, how Walt revolutionized animation in television, the biography of the famous ‘father of fun’ himself,  and various awards given to Walt Disney movies. It truly is the place where Disney fans can enjoy!

There is a lot of paid parking near the museum. We arrived there at around noon and the line up for admission ticket was quite long. The ticket for museum only is $20; while the museum & special exhibit combo ticket is $25. The special exhibit changes regularly. When we were there, it was “Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong” (ref). If you want to avoid the crowd, you can buy the ticket online and redeem it at a special desk. We opted to buy the museum ticket only since my hubby is not a fan of paintings.


The Walt Disney Family Museum in Presidio

Behind the ticket desk, there are glass cases containing various awards given to Walt Disney production. This includes Oscar, Emmy, and other prestigious awards. At one tiny corner, there was a picture of Diane Disney Miller, the oldest and only biological daughter of Walt Disney (later, Walt and Lilian Disney adopted Sharon Mae Disney). This little shrine is dedicated to Diane who passed away on November 19, 2013.


Glass cases with the awards & me acting like an award recipient 😛

The first part of the museum is the biography room of Walter Elias Disney and his family. It was started by a story about how his mom and dad met for the first time. There is also an interactive display telling how Disney family moved from one city to another in a hope for a better life. There are also authentic pictures of  Walt, his parents, and his siblings on the wall. The last part of the display tells how young Walt Disney faked his age to be able to participate in the war.

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November 2014
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