Grand US Tour 2010: Driving North to San Francisco

PauTravels with the whole family in San Francisco

The past 3 weeks of the December 2010 has been a very fun-filled and memorable for me and my family as we take this grand tour of the west coast.  But after Christmas we still had more to visit in our itinerary.   So after going around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and San Diego, our next target is driving north to the beautiful city of San Francisco and continue to the Lake Tahoe area for a chance to experience snow.

Drive North to San Franciso

Our rented 15-seater Ford e350 van

For this trip, we have rented a 15-seater Ford e350 van from LA Van Rentals from their office near LAX.  This is to fit about 11 of us including my own family, my parents and sister, my brother and his family and my cousin Angel.  My other aunt from San Diego and her family rented a separate 7-seater car for them plus Angel’s mom.  They are driving straight from San Diego.

Continue reading

Grand US Tour 2010: West Coast

PauTravels with my family at the Golden Gate Bridge

Back in December of 2010, my wife and I took another opportunity of flying back to the United States after my last month-long visit in 2007.  This time we bring for the first time our daughter Janine with my cousin Angel tagging along.  We took a month-long vacation to the US and planned to have a grand reunion of our family as my brother who lives in Singapore also flew in at the same time.

We have planned this long vacation for more than 6 months ahead of time where we all bought our tickets as early as May.  We booked a Philippine Airlines flight departing Manila on the 3rd of December and arriving at the same date in Los Angeles.

Our month-long takes us to visit Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon during our first week and a tour around Long Beach, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood the week after.  On the 3rd week of our stay in the US, my brother and his family flew in for a 2 week overlap with our vacation.  We all celebrated the Christmas holiday together in San Diego and we rented a van to have 5-day trip up north to San Francisco and Carson City to see snow for the first time.

Continue reading

San Francisco’s Charm

PauTravels First Trip to San Francisco

Why does San Francisco attracts people around the world?  Is it because of its cable cars, its steep-sloped streets, its cold weather, the crooked road of Lobard Street, the rows of Victorian styled architecture, or the famous Golden Gate Bridge?  Well I think all of the above.

On the 9th of December, Sunday, we took a trip to see the Golden Gate and the rest of the city.  From Milpitas, we took a drive through US 101 to see this world famous bridge.  But before we go directly to the Golden Gate area, we first drove to St. Mary’s Cathedral on Gough Street to attend mass.  Along the way to the cathedral, we saw blocks and blocks of Victorian houses.  It looked wonderful and very picturesque, seeing whole communities that follow a specific architectural design.  Makes me want to have one.

The mass that we attended in St. Mary’s was the 11AM mass where the cathedral choir is performing.  From the outside, the cathedral looked like a big white box.  But when we saw inside, it was beautiful.  It had a high ceiling where on its four sides run a line of tainted glass that meet up at the center of the high ceiling forming a cross.  And on top of the altar hang this big chime-like chandelier that looked very beautiful.

Continue reading

Aboard the Amtrak

PauTravels at the Union Station to board the Amtrak to San Jose

December 5th of 2007, I arrived in Los Angeles for my 1 month vacation in the United States of America (USA) to be with my family. And on the 7th, I took a ride on Amtrak to bring me to San Jose.  Since my brother is in Milpitas, I decided to stay with him for a whole week and go back to LA.

Prior to my trip to the US, I booked my trip through the Amtrak website.  My train trip leaves 7:30 AM from the Los Angeles Union Station and arrive at the Great America station in Santa Clara at 6:12 PM.  The train trip is divided into 3 legs, an LA to San Luis Obispo station, then a bus connection to San Jose, and then a short train ride to Santa Clara – Great America station.

I arrived at the Union Station in LA at 6:30 AM, since I had to still get my tickets at the ticketing station and boarding to the train is 30 minutes before departure.  Coming in to the terminal, I find myself in a beautifully interior designed station where the ceiling is wooden.  It also has this round chandeliers that light up the hall.  There are two ways to get a printed ticket for the trip.  One is using the Quik Trak machine and the other is in the ticket counter.  I had mine through the counter.

Continue reading