Hello parents and loved ones of California Extravaganza,
It’s hard to believe that the trip is already half way over- how time flies! We arrived in San Francisco to the luxurious Westin Hotel – what heavenly beds! We then made our way to AT & T Park to see the San Francisco Giants take on the New York Mets. It was great to see the sports fans on our trip represent the New York sports scene amidst the sea of black and orange. And with the cheering of Cole, Evan, Jackson, Sam and Josh, the Mets pulled through and won on visitor’s turf.
Next stop: Alcatraz.
After a ferry ride over, we were on the island of Alcatraz with one of the best views of San Francisco – how ironic! Plugged into our audio tour, we engaged in exploring the historical site and learned of the day to day life of prisoners, guards and their families. Attentive and interested, the group was pleasantly surprised by the firsthand account of a former inmate and meeting him in person. Polly, Max, Danielle F, Jamie, Keren and Nadya were fascinated by the site and actively discussed the tour.
After successfully escaping Alcatraz, unlike the 36 unsuccessful previous attempts, we made our way to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. The kids were impressed by the cute shops, fresh seafood and ocean views. The pier is also where we began the ongoing game of trade up. In this game, each member begins with a paperclip and is encouraged to continuously “trade it up” with the intention of getting a superior item. We’ve been genuinely amazed at the trading skills of Lauren, Steph S, Jesse and Ludovica.
With room for dessert, we made our way to Ghiradelli Square, to sample its world famous variety of chocolate. Matt was particularly riveted and enjoyed his chocolate experience. Meanwhile, many group members enjoyed the rest of the lively square. Just ask Shayna, who was sporting a new bracelet and a smile.
While waiting for the cable car, the kids who were already anticipating our journey to LA and buzzing about possible celebrity sightings, decided to create a celebrity of their own. And so, Federica, the trips own “famous Italian movie star” hit the scene with screaming fans following her every move and asking for autographs. To the satisfaction of the group, many tourists wanted a glimpse of our movie star and lights flashed as others took photos of the celebrity “sighting.” After enjoying the vocal styling’s of Sydney, Hanna, Ryan, and Maria on the cable car ride, we arrived in Chinatown were we enjoyed authentic Chinese cuisine at the Oriental Pearl.
Ready for a good view, we trekked the twisty turns of Lombard St.- the most crooked street in the world. Once we made it to the top, Darien, Lindsey, Liza, and Marissa took in the unique landscape and have pictures to prove it!
We then ventured towards our next destination, the Golden Gate Bridge – what a magnificent sight! Billy, Todd, and others made sure to get the best view for their photo shoot.
Next, we made our way to the artistic neighborhood of Sausalito, where the group enjoyed cafes, the harbor, and the Dr. Seuss museum. Ready to eat, we graced Mel’s Diner with our presence and were met with great service, burgers, and milkshakes. Before dancing the night away, we had the opportunity to explore the area. Once at the dance club, the group hit the dance floor and showed off their moves, where we were particularly impressed by the dance moves of Cody, Jared W, Sammy, Logan and Ali.
After a goodnight’s sleep, we boarded the bus to Ventura Beach re-commenced our camping experience, which is now second nature to this outdoorsy crew. Following our busy San Francisco adventure, this was the perfect time to wind down and bond in a relaxing environment. The beach, sports, cooking and movies were the preferred activities. Our time in Ventura ended with a surprise for our birthday girl Lexi, with her favorite red velvet cake and banana boats hot off the grill for all!
Off to LA!
The Westcoast Blogger