Pier 39

26 July

I was indeed summoned to sleep with the Toddler last night, and snuggled up to her for the first half of the night, creeping back into our bed a bit later on. She cried out for me again at silly o’clock, so I was back with her again, until she woke just after 4, needing the loo. She then climbed into bed with Ian, and didn’t really settle again after that. Meanwhile, I curled up in her bed and managed to doze off for a bit before it was time to get up!

She had a bath first thing before we went down for breakfast, which was better than we thought it might be. Bugsy had a waffle with jam and although she tried peanut butter, she didn’t like it. She also managed a bowl of Rice Krispies and, shamefully, a chocolate muffin. I had lots of coffe and Cornelia’s leftover waffle bits!

We packed up our barely-touched bags, and booked an Uber to take us to our new hotel, the rather fabulous Club Donatello, just a couple of blocks away from Union Square. It was too early to check in, so we went for coffee in Union Square first, where our two cappuccinos and hot milk took ages to be made (despite there being no other customers waiting – in hindsight, this should’ve been an obvious clue to us!). We only ended up with one coffee and the milk, so the wait was even more unnecessary! I had needed to go to the loo, so went to Westfield Mall as our coffee shop didn’t have any facilities. When I returned, a somewhat irritated Ian told me that Cornelia had knocked her milk all over the floor before accident.

We decided it was probably time to leave and off we went to the Tourist Info where Bugsy suddenly decided she needed the loo. I left Ian to check out travel options, while we went to Mall again, agreeing to meet outside the loos. 30 minutes later, I finally called him to ask where he was … there was a misunderstanding re the position of the restrooms! We were at different ones – both on the ground floor just near the food hall. Whoops! Never mind…!

We sought out a local tourist officer and asked his advice as to the best route down to Pier 39, so we could do some more exploring. He told us that this would be a bus which would take an hour, so we opted to walk to Pier 39 to visit the Aquarium there instead.

It was a welcome stroll, after the long car drive in Iceland, followed by the flight. The weather was typical San Francisco – blue skies, weird clouds, and a strong breeze, making the 21 degrees feel considerably cooler.

On the way to Pier 39, I spied a Sketchers store and agreed with Ian that my £10 Sainsbury’s shoes had had a good innings but now really could be replaced. Sketchers are great, but they don’t have adult shoes in my size in the U.K. (on account of me having child sized feet, I suppose!) and I found a suitable pair which didn’t cost the earth.

I caught up with them just near the Pier, where we bought a cheap ‘n’ cheerful lunch of hot dogs (for me and Cornelia) and clam chowder in a sourdough bowl for Ian, which was massive!

Tummies full again, and after much deliberation, we bought the C3 Citypass which meant that our aquarium visit was included at no extra cost. The aquarium itself is nice but small, with an annoyingly inefficient way of accessing the exhibits. You have to wait in a very long queue for the world’s slowest lift to arrive and deposit you down a floor. There are no alternative steps to take. It completely baffled us!

The highlight for me was the incredible jellyfish displays – as always, completely mesmerising. Cornelia was suitably fascinated by all the creatures, although some were more interesting to her than others. She particularly enjoyed the interactive area where you could touch an anemone or stingray or other sea creature (although she was only brave enough to tickle the anemone).

We bought an otter book on the way out, requested as a new bedtime story, which felt like a very sensible choice for a three year old!

We decided to walk back to the hotel with Bugsy on Ian’s shoulders, as she’d managed to walk a really long way without any fuss, and we didn’t want to over exert her, with too much exercise on day one!

Our hotel is lovely. We have a great big room, with a king-sized bed and a sofa bed, although we needed housekeeping to come up and make up the sofa bed for us.

Bugsy managed to fall off the big bed upside down, thinking she had plenty of room to do a backward roll, just before we were due to go out for supper. She landed smack on her head, and I was terrified that she’d broken a bone, but after many loud sobs (hers, not mine) everything seemed to be in working order, although I did have to carry her in a piggyback to the restaurant.

She had salmon and a jacket potato, which felt like an excellent choice for her, but I was disappointed when it arrived as the salmon was completely overcooked, and was almost crunchy. She chomped her way through most of it though. My pasta was fine, as was Ian’s chicken burger, and we livened up the whole evening by playing giraffes on the train with sugar sachets. Welcome to my life!!

It was early to bed early for her and she has done brilliantly staying awake all day (she was asleep by 20:00). I’m up doing expenses and even Ian the Night Owl has gone to bed early (21:30). I think my body is just very basic and adjusts to the time difference quite well!

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