San Francisco

The holiday didn't get off to the most perfect of starts when, on arrival, we were told that our flight to Toronto that was supposed to leave at 3pm was going to be delayed until 9pm. As someone who despises sitting around in airport terminals waiting for gates to open and boarding to begin, the prospect of waiting an additional six hours did not fill me with joy. The annoyance was furthered by the fact that this delay - caused by either "maintenance" or "weather problems yesterday" depending on which Air Canada rep. was speaking - meant that we would miss our connecting flight to San Fran, along with our hotel for the evening and the pick up time for the car we were to hire.

Eventually, the 1500 flight did leave (at gone 10pm) and we were on our merry way to Canada. Once there, we were told that we'd been booked on a 7:30am flight on the Tuesday morning, although little were we to know at this point what fun and games would be involved with that one. Since it was now gone 1am, our hotel for the evening was to be a little place called "Toronto Airport". Suffice it to say that if this were to appear in a hotel guide, it would barely manage one star: there were no beds to speak of, so the only way to lie down was to use the rows of chairs, which all had arm-rests between each seat meaning you had to contort your body into some magicians'-assistant-esque Z shape in order to get comfy. I managed about thirty minutes before waking up with a pain in my leg and side... I would not recommend spending a night here!

The fun and games continued into Tuesday morning as we bounced back and forth between Air Canada's and US Airways' terminals trying to establish what the hell was happening. Eventually we caught a flight to Phoenix which carried on to San Francisco, touching down at middayish. After joining a queue for Hertz car rental that could probably have been seen from space, it was so long, we finally got to our hotel at 2:30pm PDT (10:30pm BST), a mere fourteen hours after we should have done. Great, huh?

Still, we had the afternoon and evening to head into San Francisco, which we got to via the excellent BART system, which is similar to the Tube. We wondered around, grabbed some food, and travelled back to the BART station via a very cool, old-fashioned cable car system (as in carriages pulled by underground cables, rather than - as I expected - carriages travelling along zip wires like you get in ski resorts or Alton Towers).

On Wednesday, we toured San Fran via two of its sightseeing options: first, we went on the Bay Cruise, which took us underneath and around the Golden Gate bridge, and then around Alcatraz island. We then took a couple of bus tours on some old London double-decker buses (that even still had UK registration plates); one took us around downtown San Fran, and the other across the Golden Gate bridge to the Vista Point on the other side. These tours were excellent, and the narrators, keen to earn their tips, were entertaining and knowledgable about their area.

I have whacked some photos up in the San Francisco album, whitling the near-180 photos we've managed to take so far down to the best 45. Tomorrow, we head off to Yosemite National Park, and Anna will be doing the honours on the blog.

See you soon!