Golden Gate BridgeWell, I think life is starting to get back to normal now. I've managed to clear my mailbox and read through all my news and blogs etc and our sleep patterns may just be returning to normal, so I think it's time for a summary of our honeymoon.

As you will have no doubt seen, we visited northern California for a fly-drive/multi-stop trip for our honeymoon and it was fabulous. The weather was brilliant too and gave us a bit of all four seasons: summer in San Francisco, Napa and Monterey, autumn at Lake Tahoe, winter at Mammoth Lakes and spring in Yosemite park - well almost - it was still autumn in Yosemite park, but we got to see a little bit of melting snow that normally happens in spring :-) .

I was going to create a single post with a full summary of our wonderful honeymoon, but have decided against it as it'll be one hell of a huge post and it'll be a long time before it comes to light if I wait until I've finished all the pictures. So instead, I'm posting installments along with the photos for that installment.

So here's the first part, our time in San Francisco and Napa.

San Francisco

Our first 3 days were spent in San Francisco. We arrived just after lunch on the Saturday, managed to get through customs and passport control without any issues, bought a 3 day Muni pass from the Information Desk in arrivals and then caught the BART into town. A short uphill walk later and we were at our hotel and checked in.

It was then out onto the streets in the glorious sunshine to show Claire around. This was intended to be only a short little outing, but ended up being a rather long walk. Before we knew it we were mozying along the Embarcadero towards North Beach. Just as well we got in all the walking too as it ensured we were nice and tired come bed time and weren't too affected by jet lag. Sadly, we weren't feeling too inspired for dinner so had a nice simple dinner of pizza and beer in the food court at the bottom of the Westfield shopping centre, which wasn't too bad.

Bits of rock from The RockThe next morning it was up bright and early, onto the Powell/Mason cable car, and over to Fisherman's Wharf to catch the 9:00am ferry to Alcatraz. I've been to Alcatraz before, but thankfully they've been working on Alcatraz since and there are now sections open that weren't open when I was there. The audio tour has changed too, so whilst I saw a lot of stuff I'd seen before, I got to see loads more I hadn't and with new commentary the whole way. There's now also a gift shop selling all sorts of Alcatraz memorabilia, including bits of "The Rock" - yes, boxes of rocks are for sale.

The rest of the day was spent wondering around Fisherman's Wharf, the coast line and Chinatown enjoying the sights and sunshine. We hadn't really planned this, or anticipated the sun, so both of us got a little pink in the process.

Monday was spent wondering around some more. We took in North Beach, Little Italy, parts of the Embarcadero, the Coit Tower and once again the sun was out in all it's glory - we creamed up in anticipation so no sun burn today.


As you will have seen, Tuesday we were off to Napa, so it was up nice and early off to Hertz to collect the car and then onto the road. We didn't go for anything extravagant or big - we only needed to get from point A to point B - so opted for the cheapest "economy" car we could, which turned out to be a little 1.4 Kia Rio. This is a tin can on wheels with an automatic gearbox. Maybe next time we'll go for something a little more flash and solid. One of the big plus points was the car came with Sirius satellite radio at no additional charge, so we could still listen to Radio 1.

The View from SausalitoAnyway, traffic was low leaving the city, so we were soon across Golden Gate bridge and stopped at the viewing spot taking pictures of Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco. It was then off to Sausalito for a look around and some coffee. Sausalito is such a lovely little town with some gorgeous views across the bay to San Francisco. It's definitely a town for the better off. Once we'd had our coffee it was back into the car and off to Napa.

The drive between Sausalito and Napa isn't taxing at all and took about an hour at a leisurely pace.

Napa itself was not what I was expecting - I was expecting something like Stellenbosch, but it wasn't. There's a small town centre, very much aimed at tourists, and then not much else, bar the out-of-town retail parks and wineries/vineyards further afield. There's also a much more commercial feel to the advertising of their wineries. We didn't venture to any of them though as Claire had a stinking cold (mixing booze and cold meds is not the best advice) and they really didn't seem too appealing. Instead we ventured out to The Carneros Inn for lunch at the Boon Fly Café which Claire had read about before we went out. If we had the money, The Carneros Inn is definitely the place to stay. It's gorgeous. The food at the Boon Fly Café was fantastic too.

Carneros InnAfter lunch it was check in time, so we went hunting for our hotel for the evening. Well, this proved to be a bit of a challenge. We found the road we needed, just not the number. As it turned out, we were on the correct road, but it changed names from Coombs Street to South Coombs Street at some point. It also starts numbering from 1 again. A visit to the information centre soon got us heading in the right direction and we found our motel soon enough.

Now this was an experience. We were booked into a place called the "Wine Valley Lodge". We were expecting a hotel (or lodge as the name suggests), not a motel, and this was definitely a motel. Not quite "My Name is Earl" style, but near enough. It also had a stunning backdrop of a nearby fly-over. Thankfully it wasn't too noisy and actually turned out to be quite comfortable.

After checking in, we visited Copia. Sadly, this was a bit of a disappointment too. It wasn't what either of us were expecting, but we wondered around for a bit, checked out the market next door and headed back to our motel for an early night.

I've uploaded the pictures from this section of our trip to my SmugMug account. These won't show up in my gallery until I've updated the backend code to use SmugMug instead of Flickr. Until then, awe in the glory of the fancy slideshow.