A Travellerspoint blog

Coming Soon to a Cinema Near You

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View Round the World on shoestring's travel map.

Our first destination this morning was the Painted Ladies, a row of Victorian houses that - like so much of San Francisco - have been featured in many films and television programmes.

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It was therefore apt that, as we approached them, we discovered that a film crew were using Alamo Square, just opposite, to do some location filming for a forthcoming rom-com called The Five-Year Engagement.

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The Five-Year Engagement stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt and is due out in 2012. We don't want to spoil it but - guess what - the film ends with a wedding. The bit that we saw being filmed featured the couple hastily choosing flowers and cakes.

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Posted by shoestring 19:57 Archived in USA Tagged square year san francisco usa ladies five film engagement movie location alamo painted Comments (3)

Bread, White and Blue

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View Round the World on shoestring's travel map.

Our guidebook features a walking tour of San Francisco so yesterday we followed it. The first destination was Chinatown, which was very reminiscent of some of the streets in China we'd walked down some three weeks ago.

Down a back alley we found the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Apparently fortune cookies are a San Francisco invention, which explains why we hadn't come across any in China. We watched the cookies being made, tried a free sample, bought a bag and - after coughing up 50 cents - took a photo.

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Deviating from the guidebook we found Lombard Street, located in the Russian Hill district, a sharply curved road lined with plants that - once again - seemed eerily familiar.

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Yesterday was the fourth of July, and we couldn't help but notice the festive atmosphere. Independence Day celebrations centred on Pier 39, where an eighties tribute band called Tainted Love were playing. Here, we availed ourselves of another San Francisco original - clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl - at the bakery that claimed to have invented it.

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We planned to stay out for the fireworks but the temperature dropped as soon as the sun dipped, so we returned to our hotel for warmer clothes. There was a real danger we wouldn't make it back - buses were so full they weren't stopping - but we managed to squeeze on one and arrived at the wharf in time for a magnificent display - the dominant colours being red, white and blue, natch.

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Posted by shoestring 11:39 Archived in USA Tagged food san francisco fireworks clam independence bread cookie chowder fortune Comments (1)

Hello San Francisco

sunny
View Round the World on shoestring's travel map.

The route into San Francisco is spectacular. Crossing the Bay Bridge the city skyline appears in front of you before you descend between the skyscrapers into the city.

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San Francisco is the first US city we've visited that actually feels like a 'proper' city. Whereas Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Bakersfield and Merced were all low-density sprawls that made walking anywhere difficult, San Francisco is much denser and compact, with a decent transit system.

This system includes the famous cable cars, still pulled by cables embedded in the street, which take passengers up and down the city's famously vertiginous streets.

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These streets are very familiar from film, television and even computer games - in particular the car chase from Bullitt.

While individual trips on the cable cars are expensive ($6 a ride), visitors can buy a three-day Muni Passport for $21. We made good use of these to cross the city and visit its most famous landmark - the Golden Gate Bridge.

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From the bridge you get a great view of the city and the bay area.

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Posted by shoestring 11:10 Archived in USA Tagged california car bridge golden san francisco cable bay usa gate Comments (4)

Falling for Yosemite

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View Round the World on shoestring's travel map.

The closest we could get to Yosemite National Park by Greyhound was Merced, so we stayed in a motel last night and made our way to the park early this morning via the YARTS bus, a three-hour journey each way. It was worth the trip.

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Posted by shoestring 21:23 Archived in USA Tagged trees park california waterfall falls yosemite Comments (1)

What Happens in Vegas

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View Round the World on shoestring's travel map.

Las Vegas is crazy. One good thing about our bus into Vegas being late was being able to get a good view of the bright lights on the strip.

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We managed to get a cheap deal at Circus Circus, including free buffet meals and even a free upgrade to the Casino Tower.

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Circus Circus features circus acts:

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A theme park:

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And slots machines aplenty.

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We've done everything on a shoestring so far, and we decided we were going to be terribly sensible and restrict ourselves to spending $50 on slots, and wouldn't spend our winnings. We somehow managed to keep to it too, and walked away with $20 plus a handy book light, received by trading in vouchers won on the machines in the Carnival Midway.

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Posted by shoestring 22:07 Archived in USA Tagged las vegas casino circus usa nevada Comments (2)

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