2015 California

Happy Boxing Day - good morning from San Francisco... Saints Peter and Paul Church, known as the “Italian Cathedral” founded by four Salesian priests in 1884; a Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, present church completed in 1924 serving the Archdiocese of San Francisco; church located on Filbert Street directly across the Washington Square Park... ... North Beach, a primarily Italian neighborhood, with dozens of authentic Italian restaurants and cafes, conveniently located in the northeast part of San Francisco, adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf, Telegraph Hill (Coit Tower), Russian Hill (Lombard Street) and Chinatown... San Francisco in northern California, a city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, known for its hilly landscape, year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses... ... finally arrived at Coit Tower after hiking up the steep verdant steps on Filbert, the narrow pathway spiraling up to the breathtaking viewpoint at the hilltop where Pioneer Park surrounding the tower atop Telegraph Hill... ... a picture of us with the rotunda mural as backdrop... murals inside the tower’s base were painted in 1934 by a group of artists depicting life in California during the Great Depression... ... a picture of me and 大寶 please, before enjoying a 360° panorama of San Francisco - the rooftop observation deck of the simple fluted Coit Tower... ... it's getting crowded, let's have a photo together at the rooftop of Coit Tower, a 210-ft slender white concrete column rising from the top of Telegraph Hill, an emblem of San Francisco’s skyline since its completion in 1933... ... waiting for the one and only elevator to get us down the observation deck...
... view of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Embarcadero waterfront pier from Pioneer Park Telegraph Hill... ... quick, 大寶 and 四寶 are hungry and ready to chow down the chowder... ... slurp slurp, yummy yummy yum-yum... ... thank you, so delicious - Boudin flagship location at Fisherman's Wharf, it's said that the bakers make bread with a recipe they've nurtured since 1849... Fisherman's Wharf landmark signage at Jefferson and Taylor... Japanese Tea Garden in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park... oh, hello and good afternoon, it's me 四寶 presenting to you the Japanese Garden - originally created as a Japanese Village exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition... ... today's garden expanded to some 5 acres featuring classic elements such as pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds, a zen garden, an arched drum bridge, a tea house, and a giftshop... ... a family photo by the garden koi pond...
... authentic Japanese items including tea and sake sets, glazed ceramic bowls and vases, kokeshi and daruma dolls, a variety of green teas, maneki neko figurines, and children’s collectibles available for purchase in this gift shop with distinctively Japanese style in its architecture and interior design at southeast corner of Leavenworth & Lombard, take a look at what's behind me - the famous crooked street featuring 8 hairpin turns, and the nice beautiful houses and landscape along this one-block section of Lombard Street... ... the two long-time buddies ... the crimson Golden Gate Bridge viewed from the north Vista Point by US-101 at Sausalito... ... a group photo - ready, cheese! Bridgeway promenade in downtown Sausalito, a San Francisco Bay Area city in Marin county situated approx 2 miles from the northern end of Golden Gate Bridge... ... Sausalito, a small port town encompassing both steep wooded hillside and shoreline tidal flats, with a total area of 2.2 sq. miles but 0.5 square mile of the city is under water, and has been so since its founding in 1868... Angel Island over Richardson Bay to the left of photo and downtown San Francisco to the far right Want to taste the famous Lappert's Ice Cream? ... 大寶 staring at me and 四寶 is begging...
... ok, don't be messy 大寶, do you like the ice cream sandwich on chocolate chip cookie?   Lappert's Ice Cream, Sausalito. the beautiful Monterey Peninsula - our first stop on December 28, Monterey Fisherman's Wharf, a driving distance approx 120 miles south of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf... from Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf, our driving tour continued via Pacific Grove Gate along the renowned 17-Mile Drive... 17-Mile Drive, widely recognized as one of the most scenic routes in the world, this famous coastal landmark running from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula, much of which hugging the Pacific coastline passing world-famous golf courses, mansions, and awe-inspiring vistas making way through the majestic 5300-acre Del Monte Forest... Moss Beach in the cove south of Spanish Bay, a sandy beach with cobblestone rocks at the back; a rugged rocky area at the north end of Moss Beach separating it from Spanish Bay Beach... Point Joe, a rocky area at the south end of Moss Beach; early mariners often crashed upon these rocks after mistakenly setting their course for this point, believing that it was the entrance to Monterey Bay... ... the 'Welcome to Pebble Beach and Del Monte Forest' Pebble Beach 17-Mile Drive pamphlet details a total of twenty-one Points of Interest with ten 'coastal' vista stops of the ocean along the scenic route... ... world-famous The Inn & Links at Spanish Bay (point of interest #4) resort and Scottish-style links course, Poppy Hills Golf course (#3), Spyglass Hill Golf Course (#12), Peter Hay Par-3 Golf Course (#20), and the #19 world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links-The Lodge at Pebble Beach, all located along the 17 Mile Drive, Monterey Peninsula... ... let's take a selfie, what a restless north Pacific Ocean behind us...
... located between world’s well-known Cypress Point Golf Course and the Pebble Beach Golf Links standing on a granite hillside off 17-mile Drive in Pebble Beach, the Lone Cypress has been called one of the most photographed trees in North America... What do you think?  Should we stay a little bit longer?  Yes, 四寶 agreed, we all love it here! On Monterey Peninsula’s south side, the small artsy beach town Carmel-by-the-Sea (locals just call it Carmel), rated a top-10 destination in the US year after year, has inspired artists, sparked romances, and attracted celebrities for decades... Carmel Beach - famous for its white sands, fabulous sunsets and frolicking dogs; this unique pocket beach, with no sediments from creeks or other shores, is a natural jewel... ... a city in the forest, a one-mile long pure white sandy beach, a cultural mecca for the performing and visual arts - Carmel-by-the-Sea...  Oh, do you know that Clint Eastwood was once mayor of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, for his one term that ran from 1986 to 1988? bleup-bleup-bleup... what are you trying to do?  Where are we? AHH, we're in Los Angeles already... MALIBU - sign proclaiming 27 MILES OF SCENIC BEAUTY referring to Malibu's original length before the city was incorporated in 1991...  the long stretch of Malibu beaches to the upper right corner of photo... Santa Monica Beach, an iconic example of the famed Southern California beaches located just west of downtown Los Angeles, the well-maintained, soft sand beach within walking distance to popular hotels, shops and restaurants offering a variety of activities and attractions... Woohoo, our fun day at Universal Studios Hollywood on December 30, let's take a group picture at the front entrance!
"hello, are you yellow minion Dave?" asked 大寶...   (Dave is a two-eyed minion who is a lead character, especially in Despicable Me 2. He is one of the smart minions who is loving, kind, and, of course, very funny. Dave and Stuart (playful funny one-eyed minion) are very close to super-villain Gru.) .. opening in April 2016, the exciting rides and attractions of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter... ... this motion simulator the Simpsons Ride at Krustyland, world of The Simpsons... ... let's get in and crash through downtown Springfield, hometown of America’s favorite animated family, alongside Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie... yay - good picture - don't you think? ... look, Panda Land... this is only a poster display, no real sighting of any pandas... ... the 1935 Chevrolet Model EC-601 'actual picture car' from movie Public Enemy, parked by the sidewalk of Main Way Universal... ... let's take a picture before we drive the police car away... ... in front of Moulin Rouge - well, it's not a prop set but a restaurant at Universal, private dining included if you purchase the VIP Experience ticket (from $359 per person)...
... Super Silly Fun Land - the Minion-themed outdoor venue of the seaside carnival from "Despicable Me"... ... let's have a picture with a christmasy one-eye yellow minion... Happy Holidays... isn't it better to have a photo with this two-eye minion? ... we're tired, shall we go now? ... good night Universal Studios Hollywood, until next time... Griffith Observatory located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park just above the Los Feliz neighborhood, 1134 feet above sea level, said to be the best vantage point for sighting the world-famous HOLLYWOOD Sign... ... me at the front lawn of Griffith Observatory with the Astronomers Monument and Sundial to the left of this picture... Griffith Observatory, a national leader in public astronomy, an icon of Los Angeles and a beloved civic gathering place... ... from San Francisco to Los Angeles, our 2015 California driving journey ending with one more visit back to the Tinseltown glamour at Hollywood & Highland, before heading off to the airport so we're back home and get ready for the countdown celebration; Happy 2016!