Blue fish, Blue Angels, and some green plastic frogs

There is a LOT to do in San Francisco. Before we came here I wondered if two months might feel too long, but to date we've only managed about half the day trips we plan to do, and then last weekend the glorious city very generously put on a three-day airshow for us right in our neighbourhood!

So, to recap what we've been doing since my previous post: let's start with the blue fish. We decided we could manage the two-hour drive each way (given we planned to drive back in the evening and let the kids start their sleep in the car) and took a trip down to Monterey, a picturesque little town a bit further down the Californian coast. It's hard to believe the quaint, touristy Cannery Row was once a bustling, whiffy sardine-packing epicentre, but the John Steinbeck bust and fondly restored machinery remind you that this is not just a sleepy seaside town.

monterey

We found a quiet little spot for our picnic lunch which gave us all a chance to stretch our legs before we made our way to the main attraction and reason for our visit: the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

monterey

monterey

Now, as Mr H is a bit of a fish fan I've visited a fair number of aquariums, but I don't believe I've ever been to one that is quite so wonderfully interactive for young children. Lots of the tanks are at toddler height; there are soft play areas with shape puzzles casually keeping company with yet more fish; and our little boy's particular favourite: a glass tunnel with a wave that comes crashing over the top every 15 seconds or so, guaranteeing squeals of delight from all the children eagerly waiting beneath.

monterey-aquarium

monterey-aquarium

monterey-aquariummonterey-aquarium

monterey-aquarium

After returning to the wave tunnel for a final few umpteen times (eventually Miss H and I got bored and started taking selfies - see above) we got back in the car and drove a very short distance further to the stunning Point Lobos State National Reserve. It's a big area and we only arrived in the late afternoon, so we just took a short walk among the cypress trees which gave us some beautiful coastal views, and then had a bit of a play on one of the little beaches as the sun began its majestic descent for the day.

point-lobos

point-lobos


point-lobospoint-lobos

point-lobos

point-lobos

point-lobos

So from blue fish to Blue Angels: last weekend marked the finale of Fleet Week, an annual event in the San Franciscan calendar when the armed forces are honoured and some large scale test operations take place. We took full advantage of the fact that this was all happening on our doorstep (we are staying six blocks from the waterfront where the static displays were all set up) and wandered down most days to catch either the stands, or the air show, or both. Master H got to climb aboard a dump truck, a tractor AND into a cockpit, and we all got to enjoy the fabulous air displays, including an F-16, the Canadian Snowbirds, and the United States Navy Blue Angels.

fleet-weekfleet-week

fleet-week

fleet-week

fleet-week

fleet-week


And so to green plastic frogs: at the Bay Area Discovery Museum.This low key collection of buildings provides hours of entertainment for children, so we went from the tots water play to hula hoops to glow in the dark paint to musical instruments to outdoor playground to running balls down tubes to measuring our weight in chickens (yes, really)... you can see why we were there all day!

discovery-museum

discovery-museumdiscovery-museum

discovery-museum

discovery-museum

discovery-museumdiscovery-museum


discovery-museumdiscovery-museum

 And along the way we've been doing everyday things - we went to the library and had fun in the kids' corner (sometimes we call Paw Patrol using a plastic tiger. Don't you?).

golden-gate-librarygolden-gate-library

golden-gate-library

We go to the park lots. Master H is really getting into his baseball so we go to the local playing fields most days. We go out for brunch. We did hire bikes again and cycled through Golden Gate Park but it wasn't exactly the successful experience I'd hoped for. Not only was the weather unusually cold and windy that day, but even putting the kids in a trailer together couldn't make little Miss enjoy wearing her helmet any more than before.

golden-gate-park-cycling

golden-gate-park-cycling


We've also driven to a few different neighbourhoods, exploring them by trying a new park, or supermarket, or just taking a drive. This is on our way through the colourful Castro district:

castro

And these are some of the famous Painted Ladies houses:

painted-ladies

And we had some more visitors: Mr H's friend Ben from Sydney was in California for work so he hopped up to San Francisco for the weekend, which was really lovely. Travelling as just a small family unit for so long, believe it or not, even I run out of conversation sometimes (much to Mr H's short-lived relief) so having someone new in the apartment brought a welcome change of dynamic. It also meant Mr H had a buddy to go out for a few beers with, so he's now identified the best bars for us to visit when his parents, aka the babysitters, arrive for their visit soon - hurrah!

Well now I think that's me all caught up. At the moment there are some bad forest fires about an hour north of San Francisco so we're all being advised to limit time outdoors to minimise time spent in the smoky air, so let me leave you with just a few nice photos from a couple of weeks ago when we went back to Half Moon Bay and played in the sand:

half-moon-bay

half-moon-bay


half-moon-bay

Next time... when the grandparents come to stay, the middle generation goes out to play!

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Cheerio, Chicago