California - June 2022 - Day 1

If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you’re going to San Francisco, you’re gonna meet some gentle people there.


Let me be the judge of that later.


Unsurprisingly with the time difference I was wide awake by 5am and rather than disturb Karen got up and put an ice pack on my tea in the lounge area. I would have made a cup of tea and made myself some breakfast but we had no milk.


By 9am we were all up and ready to hit San Francisco, but first we needed breakfast. Having no idea where to go or what would be open, we headed to the nearest MaccyD’s. Still a guilty pleasure and still somewhere you can rely upon the world over. After enjoying the local eatery, we headed into downtown San Francisco, to be precise the Presido district.


We had 11am timed tickets for the Walt Disney Family Museum. A new museum that I had never heard of but unsurprisingly Neil was very excited to explore. There was a car park opposite which was reasonably priced and we then walked across to it. We were too early but they allowed us to go round the gift shop whilst we waited. There were all sorts of interesting things for sale including some old magazines which I would like to have purchased but the price was stupidly prohibitive.



The museum itself was fascinating, although I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t for my knee which kept causing me to find someone to sit down every so often. It was still so sore and painful despite all the actions including taking painkillers before we left this morning.


One of the highlights was actually at the very beginning of the museum which was the special Oscar that had been made and awarded for Snow White. It was the normal Oscar with 7 little ones attached to it. It was very much a family museum as opposed to a corporate one and very sweet for it, with personal photos, movies, letters and artifacts from throughout his life. It has been very well curated and well worth the visit.


From here we drove the car park for the Palace of Fine Arts. I had not wanted to include this on our schedule as me and fine arts do not mix well together. But this was not a museum as such but the remains of some building works created for a 1915 exhibition. They were fab and we all enjoyed walking through them, as did many other people seeing by how busy it was. The only downer was that despite it being warm the famous fog was so low it was like walking through a very fine wet mist at times.



Despite my poorly knee, Neil was keen we walked on a little bit to the headquarters of Lucasfilms. The building itself is not that auspicious but it the statue of Yoda outside that he and seems many other people were keen to see. I thought it amusing but was more interested in all the other memorabilia we could see peering into the closed reception.


We wandered back to the car and had a quick look at the beach area behind it. The fog and clouds were so low that you could not see any of the Golden Gate Bridge at all. Karen was optimistic that the forecast on her phone said it would clear later though and so we decided to drive to the Bridge welcome centre to look around.


Finding the car park was trickier than it should have been and once parked up we had to follow a very steep trail to the centre. This was agony with my knee but I got there slowly. Karen & Neil decided to walk out onto the bridge but that was too far for me to contemplate currently, besides I still couldn’t actually see the bridge even though it was almost right in front of us.


I waited and looked around the welcome centre which was essentially just a shop. It did require mask wearing to enter which seemed out of kilter with everything else we had been so far. I complied and ending up buying a rivet (that caused Karen to roll her eyes afterwards) that was used to originally make the bridge.


When Karen & Neil returned from the walk to the first tower, Karen decided to go into the shop as well. Whilst she was in there, the fog just suddenly lifted and with blue skies the magnificent bridge appeared magically out of nowhere. It was amazing to see it happen. Karen could not believe her eyes when she re-joined us. We stopped for a few moments to admire the view before slowly heading down the steep trail back to the car.



We then had a discussion about getting some food before heading back. In the end we opted to put the directions for an Outback Steakhouse into Waze but agreed we would stop at anything suitable that we saw en route.


After about 4 miles we came upon Stonestown Galleria that looked upmarket, busy and had restaurants, and decided it would suit our needs. After a while we found a parking spot when someone else pulled out about ¾ of the way back from the entrance. We headed to the Shopping Centre and settled upon Blaze Pizzas, something we hadn’t experienced outside of Disney Springs. The food was good.


There was a Target store within the shopping centre and so we decided to get some basics like milk and cereal to take back with us. We then trudged the shopping back to the car.


We were not prepared for what greeted us. The car had been broken into. Both the passenger window and back window had been completely smashed in. There was glass everywhere. Quickly we realised that both Neil’s and mine rucksacks had been taken from the boot. I was speechless and we all just looked at each other. Fortunately, we realised we only had clothes etc in the bags and nothing intrinsically valuable.


What surprised us was that the bags were obscured by dark glass and that they had left much more valuable items like our Raybans which were laying in their case now covered in glass.


I tried to phone the rental car company for assistance but the number would not work on my phone. Karen went back to the shopping centre to get help from Security. She returned with a young girl who was very helpful and apologetic. Using her phone, I reported it firstly to the rental car company who arranged for me to pick up a replacement back at the airport and then the police who told me to file an incident report online. The security guard helped us remove and clear much of the glass away. I asked about CCTV but was told it was broken!


The fact that this had happened in what was still a very busy car park amazed us. There were still loads of cars around us and people walking by constantly. The fact that they took things of no value make it all seem so pointless. I had lost my only sweatshirt I had brought along with my cagoule (Neil the same). Now I know I am a man of style but surely not worth going to that extent to be the same as me.


To be honest both Karen & I were quite shaken by it all. But business mode soon kicked in. So, with a car that was now ironically more like the convertible that we had turned down yesterday as we had a cool breeze coming through the missing windows, we first of all headed back to the Airbnb to drop off both the shopping and Karen. Then Neil & I headed back to the airport where they were reasonably efficient in swapping cars over for us. We ended up with a full size much nicer Ford SUV.


The rental car staff said that the thieves work in pairs. One follows you into the car park and then watches as you leave the car and then calls the other in. Our car had a Florida license plate which made it stand out and they may have seen us putting our bags in the boot supposedly out of sight.


Once back again in the accommodation, I filed a police report online and tried to initiate the insurance claim for the missing items as some of them we would need to replace immediately. Karen provided me with much needed cuppas whilst I did do and whilst icing my knee again.


The sheer waste of time, effort and cost to us and others this has caused is just sad. Ours bags are probably just discarded in a ditch somewhere.


Not the best end to what had been an enjoyable day.


You cannot tar a whole city with one brush, but meeting gentle people in San Francisco my ar**.

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Back home they'll be thinking about us When we are far away A very leisurely get up, pack up and leave. Annoyingly there were several food items that we had bought and not eaten. I hate the waste of b