Jules & Leah

Detour South

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May 212014

So we decided we’d left San Francisco without a couple of things seen. One was getting up close to the Golden Gate Bridge and the other, as recommended by J&K, was a visit to Sausalito.

We packed a picnic lunch from Whole Foods (also known as whole paycheck) and drove south from Sonoma, less than an hour.

We just got a couple of photos off before the fog rolled in. You could only just see San Francisco from the north side of the bridge.

From Horseshoe Bay

From Horseshoe Bay

After driving up to the lookout far above the deck of the bridge, we wandered around the waterfront city of Sausalito.



We thought it was cute if very touristy…We couldn’t help but wonder who buys all that souvenir crap…

We swung by the outlet mall on the way home 😉

May 172014

It was time to get on the road so we picked up a rental car in San Francisco. It always (twice now) takes an hour to do this in America. Everything was pre booked so you would expect to simply hand over the cash, sign your life away and be given the keys. Oh no. Throw in two bumbling rental agents and a handful of tourists who appeared not to have driven before, let alone rented a car, and you have Fawlty Towers Car Hire. “I didn’t come to America to drive a Korean piece of crap,” huffed the angry Jeremy Clarkson twin, “I have been waiting 45 minutes!” That’s because the Germans in front of you had to run every clause of the rental agreement past their solicitor before signing. Meanwhile agent 2 started pointing out the features of the tenth vehicle available to the younger couple he was also “helping.” Twin was then told his Kia wasn’t yet ready so he’d have to keep waiting. You can imagine his reaction to this news. Having sought legal advice, the Germans came back to the counter, signed the forms then proceeded to ask a multitude of questions relating to the operation of a motor vehicle. Some time later they were ready to go. “One more question,” he asked, holding a standard set of keys, “how does it turn on?”

We eventually were served and driving out of the parking lot within minutes.

We hit the road (on the wrong side), drove through the rolling hills that were currently very brown except for the pistachio and almond orchards, arriving at Poppy Hill B&B about 4pm. We relaxed before heading back to Mariposa for dinner at Savoury’s restaurant. We discovered in our time that all the “good” restaurants in the area must have updated their menu and decor in the early 90s and never looked back (or forwards). Still it was nice enough after a long day.

Anyway this was supposed to be a post about Yosemite National Park…

A glorious morning and we headed into Yosemite Valley to explore. It isn’t quite peak season but it was still very busy. The drive in is beautiful and the first sight of El Capitan granite cliff is awe inspiring.
We spent the morning on the Mist Trail up to Vernal Fall. The trail was wide and paved for much of the hike but quite steep and hard on the legs. Once you reached the rocks below the falls the path turned quite slippery and rocky so we didn’t make it all the way to the top.

El Capitan

El Capitan

After a picnic lunch we visited Mirror Lake (more of a pond really) and then drove out of the valley and all the way up to Glacier Point that not only has the most spectacular view of the surrounding mountains but also down to the valley. You could see the campgrounds between the pine trees and the river winding through the middle of the valley.
We were thoroughly exhausted that night!

We had an easier day the following day and visited the giant redwoods (sequoia) at Mariposa Grove.

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Jun 222009

Home at last!

It was a massive trip.  Epic almost!  We arrived home on Monday, jet-lagged but excited  and struggled to stay awake until a reasonable hour!  Fortunately Singapore is only two hours behind, but unfortunately we got almost no sleep on the flight home.

We thought we should put this trip into some numbers for you: 16 weeks, 18 countries, 46 places to stay, 9GB or 3,700 photos, $150/day, 13 airports, 46 train stations, 31 (major) train trips, 865km in a Mercedes, 2000 miles in a campervan, seven languages and approximately 10kg of gelato!

We also feel we should make some broad conclusions about our trip:

  1. Four months is a long time!  Yet there was so much more we could have done and would like to go back and do.
  2. Every country is different – different food, different view, different weather and different experiences.  Therefore, it’s difficult to narrow down our favourites and least favourites.
  3. Living out of a suitcase gets really old.  I heart my wardrobe!
  4. Write everything down!  No matter how long you’re going for, keep a travel diary.  I have already forgotten so much, but fortunately I was pretty strict about keeping my journal up to date.
  5. The value of a home cooked meal is vastly underrated… until you have to eat at restaurants for three meals a day, for four months…

Looking forward to seeing you all and hearing about your past four months!  Of course, we’ve got more stories too – like the morning we almost got hypochlorite poisoning in Belfast, easy ways to master the ‘stupid American tourist’ stereotype, a real Irish joke, where to go sunbaking in central Geneva if you’re a nudist and finally the many, many creative ways some Europeans will lighten your pockets (none of which happened to us (we think), thankfully).

Paddington makes it home!

Paddington makes it home!

We’ll leave you with a photo of our $5 suckerfish ‘massage’ in Chinatown in Singapore.

Now off to Trip Advisor to write some reviews and return the favour to those who helped us find some fantastic places to stay…

Treating our feet to a tickly suckerfish massage.

Treating our feet to a tickly suckerfish massage.