Friday 27 February 2015

My New Camera

Having dropped my camera a few weeks ago I was still able to use it until I switched it on when we arrived in USA and the screen was useless. Using my I Phone to take photographs is OK but I prefer a proper camera. I looked at the Which best buys in a price band and came up with Nikon Coolpix S9700 which I bought from Amazon Inc and had delivered to us in San Jose as it was much cheaper than buying in UK. This is my first photo taken of Elliot who got a wee fright from the flash.

Eleanor and Mallory off to school this morning

They love to have a swing on these hoops when we arrive at school

Fraser & Leslie's house. The middle section is a nice veranda where Gaye and I spend time reading or just enjoying the warm sunshine.

Trains and Boats

Our last day in San Francisco and on our morning walk we managed to catch this Aircraft Carrier as it made its way out into the Pacific

This vessel in the Maritime Museum was Clyde Built

A swimmer in the cold water of the Bay. There were loads of them every morning.

And this Vessel was built in Newcastle. We forget that at one time most of the worlds ships were built on the UK

And so back to San Jose on the Caltrain service from San Francisco and a chance to sit upstairs. It was comfortable and very clean and quiet.

Our Train in Sunnyvale Station

Thursday 26 February 2015

Up and Down the Hills of San Francisco

Today's adventure involved the famous Cable Cars of San Francisco on a vehicle over 100 years old, although it may be a bit like Triggers brush and had lots of new parts over the years.
All set to go at the Hyde Street Terminus
Our Cable Car on the turntable.
 The hills are very steep
The end of the line in a busy shopping area of the city.
I was determined to stand on the side of the tram for the return 30 minute journey which at a maximum speed of 9.5 mph is quite safe except when you pass a Cable Car coming the other way. It is certainly an excellent way to see the city.
Hanging on and enjoying every minute of the experience.
Going downhill 
In the afternoon we walked almost the entire length of Fishermans Quay stopping regularly to sit in the sunshine and people watch. They pass by in all shapes and sizes and wearing an amazing mixture of outfits. 
We had another walk along Pier 39 on a different level from our walk yesterday and again spent a lot of time either people watching or listening to excellent street entertainers.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

A Slow Boat and a Very Fast Boat

We took the morning Caltrain from Sunnyvale to San Francisco which took just over an hour and is a very pleasant journey on a double decker train.
We booked into the nice Courtyard Hotel at Fishermans Wharf and on a beautiful day decided to take a boat trip in the Bay.
The San Francisco shore line.
Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.
Going under the bridge.
Alcatraz looks a formidable place.
Suddenly this yacht called Oracle appeared and it was coming past us at a fantastic speed and was almost flying. It turns out it is the USA Americas Cup team doing their trials off San Francisco. There were 2 fast speedboats following them with back up in case anything went wrong. There was a second yacht called Artemis following it and this seemed even faster.
Artemis going like a bat out of hell. I have never seen anything without an engine go as fast.
Back on land we headed for Pier 39 which puts to shame any British Pier.
And of course the Sea Lions basking in the sunshine.
Followed by a Magic Show on the pier. This guy was brilliant and very funny.
Tomorrow we are going on one of the Cable Cars and then will explore more of San Francisco.

Monday 23 February 2015

Campbell Market and the Auld Alliance

This morning Fraser & Leslie took us to the Farmers Market in Campbell. It was the best we have seen with loads of fresh local produce of all kinds.

Thomas & Eleanor were well fed on the free samples and this is what we purchased.

In the afternoon we were invited for a meal by Fraser & Leslie's friends Emma and Aurelien.
Emma is from Edinburgh and Aurelien is from France. He works for Apple on the development of cameras and spends a considerable time in Japan. It was a most interesting afternoon.

Arlene asked Gaye if she wanted a fresh orange drink so he went into the garden and picked 3 oranges from a tree and within 2 minutes had squeezed them into a beautiful drink. You cannot get any fresher than that.

Their daughter Elise was very taken with Elliot

Saturday 21 February 2015

An Electric Car and San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge

This morning the Grahams went to look at an electric car called a Tesla and made just up the road from where we are staying. Fraser is interested in buying one but not until they come down in price. There is only one model at the moment and it sells at a minimum of $70,000. There are new models in the pipeline that are going to be cheaper and it is rumoured that Apple may buy the company which would probably mean he would get one at a discount. There are always rumours about Apple so don't believe anything until it happens. There are 80% less moving parts than in a normal car.
This is the display on the dashboard

Gaye was very impressed but unlikely Langholm will ever see them.

This afternoon we visited the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge where Eleanor and Thomas  were given a pair of binoculars each to spot the birds with.

It was high tide and therefore there were not a lot of birds feeding as the mudflats were covered but this Eagret was busy.

There are miles of nature trails and everything is free

This Raptor looks to feed on the many Ground Squirrels that are in the area.

It was hunting in the area called the Harrier Spur Trail but I don't think it was a Harrier.

The area was covered in these beautiful yellow flowers

And Orange Flowers
On our way home we passed the HQ of Facebook which has a very appropriate address I think.

Friday 20 February 2015

An Afternoon Walk in Rancho San Antonio Country Park

Eleanor and her friend Elise hide in a tree trunk

There were loads of these Ground Squirrels about

And these Deer

We had met up with Fraser & Leslie's friend Emma and her children Elise and Maxine who are from Edinburgh and moved to California a couple of years ago. Her husband who is French also works for Apple. She enjoyed meeting fellow Scots and has not lost her Edinburgh accent.

This is taken at Deer Hollow farm in the park

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