Place 79 – Day 2: Austin,TX – Jacob’s Well

Jacob’s Well

The weather wasn’t as warm today, but still plenty warm enough.

We planned to head out pretty early today, but we slept in a bit and then the bathroom was being used this morning so we couldn’t get showered, so we left around 12:00.

We headed out of Austin for 1 hour to a town called Wimberley. This town is home to Jacob’s Well, which is a large underwater cave which, during summer, people jump into.

The dark part of the water here is the well

This was named a well because it resembled one, back in the 1800s.

We were not here during the swimming season, but wanted to take a look.

We walked down some stairs which went through a nice tree covered walkway, which looked awesome.

We got down to the well and instantly noticed how tiny it was. On the photos the area looks large, but in actuality it was very small.

There were another couple there who were taking photos, so we had to work around them, but we got some pretty cool shots.


Jacob’s Well | Wimberley,TX

Rating:- 6/10


We left here after only 30 minutes, but did have a go on the swings they had there before we went.

Coffee, A Muffin & Big Tacos

We went for a coffee and a muffin in a really nice coffee shop called Blanco Brew in Wimberley.

We were really happy with the coffee shop. Incredible coffee, nice staff and a tasty muffin, which we got warmed up.


Blanco Brew | Winberley,TX

Rating:- 10/10


We left here and went for a taco each in a gas station, which apparently had really good tacos.

We thought they were alright, a little big and not enough meat, but the meat was good. Probably around a 7/10.

Playoff Hockey

We drove back home and then Curtis watched the first game of the Leafs playoff first round.

Whilst Curtis did this, Kim booked something really exciting for tomorrow, which will be fun! She then had to go out and get some lunch items for tomorrow.

Throwback Dinner

We had chicken pesto pasta for dinner, which is a travelling throwback dinner, but we went fancy and had red pesto instead, with a side of salad.

We watched the latest episode of Jane The Virgin and then went to sleep. Up at a decent time tomorrow!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 76 – Day 7: Los Angeles,CA – Hollywood Museum, Trejo’s Coffee And Donuts & The Grove

Hollywood Museum

We just had to do something film related, so we made sure we did just that.

For $15 each, we got 4 floors housing 10,000 artifacts from TV and movies.

The first floor was about Max Factor, both the man himself, the make up and the movie stars that used it.


Hollywood Museum | Los Angeles,CA

Rating:- 7/10


We then moved to the next floor, which was in the basement, and was all things horror films and a whole section which were the prison cells from the Hannibal Lecter films.

The next floor was all about the animatronic and models used in films. This was the most interesting section in the museum.

The final floor was not overly interesting, though there was a section with the batmobile which spoke all about batman.

There was also a section here which had a lot of old cameras, which was awesome.

Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts

We walked from here just down the road to Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts, which was created by the actor Danny Trejo.

Curtis got a cappucino and we got a doughnut each.

Kim got one with cinnamon sugar filled with ice cream and Curtis’ was lime and sugar, like a margarita, which was great.


Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts | Los Angeles,CA

Rating:- 10/10


The Grove

We walked from the museum for about 45 minutes and got to our first shopping mall of the day, which was the famous The Grove.

Kim was looking for a few things here, as well as just looking around as it was somewhere you are meant to visit in LA.

We walked around but we didn’t find anything of use, so we left the Grove and walked 20 minutes to the Beverly Center, which we bought Curtis’ shirts in the other day.

Beverly Center

We got to the Beverly Center and weren’t getting too much luck with the shops, until Kim got to Forever21 where she was able to replace her flip-flops and get some clothes she was looking for.

Fatburger

We got hungry, so we stopped off at Fatburger which was a burger place recommend to us.

We each got a medium sized burger and Kim added cheese whilst Curtis added cheese and bacon. Curtis got onion rings as his side and Kim got chilli cheese fries.

Overall, the meal was disappointing. There was too much lettuce, the tomato slice was too thick and caused everything to slice around, the meat wasn’t staying together so crumbled everywhere, so overall it wasn’t great. We just saw that they are apparently rebranding to be called Skinnyburger…Interesting.


Fatburger | Los Angeles,CA

Rating:- 6/10


Packing

We got home and watched a few videos before taking on the mammoth task of packing. We leave LA by bus tomorrow morning, so we need to be ready.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 76 – Day 2: Los Angeles,CA – The Last Bookstore, Bradbury Building & Grand Park

St Vincent Ct

After breakfast, we started our day and went to St Vincent Court. This is a single, small street which is modelled after a european street. There are european stores and cafes here. It wasn’t actually as cool as it sounded, but we took a look anyway.


Faux European Street | Los Angeles,CA


Last Bookstore

We walked down the street towards a specific place, but came across the last bookstore. This bookstore, firstly, is huge, and secondly is in an old bank, which looks awesome!

The Vault Door

Whilst here at the bookstore, a lady was looking for her child, who had run off. Luckily, we had seen the child just before, so knew the direction she went and informed the mother. We ended up going the opposite way from the mum and attempting to find the child for her.


Former Bank Bookstore | Los Angeles,CA


Eventually, we found the child and returned her to her mum! This was a tense time, and the dramatic music that was playing at the time didn’t help.

Bradbury Building


Oldest Commercial Building | Los Angeles,CA


Next stop was the Bradbury building. This is the oldest commercial building remaining in Los Angeles and has terrific architecture, as seen from the photos.

Coffee

We stopped for a coffee next door at Blue Bottle Coffee. This place smelled great and the coffee was just as excellent!


Blue Bottle Coffee | Los Angeles,CA

Rating:- 9/10


Little Tokyo

From here, we took a little walk to Little Tokyo, well, at least part of it. It really did feel like Japan, but it also wasn’t all that exciting, unfortunately.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

We left little Tokyo a little disappointed, but walked further onto the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is looks incredible.

Grand Park

Just down the road from here was the Grand Park, which has a fancy name, and we were walking through here to get to city hall, which is a beautiful, tall, building.

City Hall Is The Pointed Building In The Back

We noticed a large amount of noise and then realised it was singing. We continued further and saw a lot of people, before we then realised thst Bernie Sanders was going to be talking shortly, so the place was packed out to see him! Unfortunately, this meant we were unable to see up close, or go inside, city hall.


LA City Hall | Los Angeles,CA


Chinatown

Chinatown was next on the agenda, as it should be seen everywhere. Honestly, it was pretty disappointing. There was little to see and few restaurants, most of the stores there were ‘tat’ shops, which was a shame.

Home

We got an Uber back home and Kim relaxed whilst Curtis watched the Leafs game. We also planned what we wanted to do for the evening.

Dinner

We went to the supermarket to grab some dinner. We wanted to get something easy but without having to eat out, so we got a caesar salad and a roasted chicken and ate that…a lot of it!

Film At The Chinese Theatre

We decided on the cinema, late on in the evening.

We went to watch Five Feet Apart, which was an incredibly emotional film, making the pair of us cry, but it was also a great film. We would highly recommend.


Five Feet Apart

Rating:- 9/10


Another great thing about this was having a whole cinema screen to ourselves!

We got out of the movie at 00:30 and walked down to Hollywood Blvd and waited for our Uber.

We are so tired, but had an amazing day!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 74 – Day 4: San Francisco,CA – Alcatraz & Cable Car

Alcatraz

We took the tram to the city this morning and then had to take another tram to get down to where we needed to be.

We got there at exactly the time we needed to be and then had to stand in line for a while.

We eventually started to board the boat to Alcatraz Island (which means Pelican, by the way!).

The Arrival

We arrived at the island fairly quickly and there were a lot of people!

We first had to stop at the entrance and get a brief talk from a park ranger as Alcatraz is a national park.

The first building itself is quite daunting as thst isn’t even the prison! There is a cool sign at the entrance, too;

Theatre

We made our way up to the theatre and got a seat whilst waiting for the introductory film to play.

The film was about 15 minutes long and just explained the history of Alcatraz.

Workshop

We moved on from here to one of the workshops which was only open for a brief time today.

Along the way, we saw the power station, remains of the officer recreation hall and the former firing range.

The Power Station

Recreation Hall For Officers

We entered the workshop and it was pretty damaged. Most glass was smashed and there were sinks and toilets leftover, as well a sign, for some reason!

There was an art exhibition in another room in here, but it was pretty unrelated to the workshop.

This is the place in which prisoners would work, making things, sometimes for the military but also worked in the laundry area.

There were some incredible views from this island, especially with the weather we had for the start of the day!

The Prison

We walked up to the prison, getting some awesome photos on the way.

The Cell Block

The First Lighthouse In Western America

We got to the start of the audio tour, which was in the shower block of the prison, where there was also clothes from the prison times.

We went from here up some stairs and into the main prison block.

The audio guide told us multiple stories and information about different cells and locations around the prison, including solitary confinement, attempted escapes, living conditions and more.

A Prison Cell Which Someone Escaped From

Solitary Confinement

A Solitary Confinement Cell – Nicer, But The Prisoner Spends 24/7 Here

The Main Hallway

We moved through the library and we were then told about a part of the prison that has marks on the floor from grenade blasts which were thrown in during an attempted escape, via a hole in the roof.

We saw the visitation station, followed by the officer area and then the officer’s control room.

The final area was the most dangerous – The dining hall. This was where everyone ate and therefore had cutlery. A lot of the kitchen equipment is still there, along with a board of the menu for breakfast.

The food was the best here out of all the prisons, so much so that the guards ate the same as the prisoners.

Former Inmate

There was a former inmate, now in his 80’s, who was signing books. He has written a book about being in Alcatraz. His name is William Baker.


Here Is A Link To William Baker’s Book

– Amazon


The Trip Back To San Francisco

We took the boat back and, by this time, having spent a while on the island, the weather had got more overcast, more windy, and much colder!

We got back to the city safe and sound and went for a coffee to warm up.

In And Out Burger

We had seen that In And Out burgers were meant to be great, so we lined up to get ours!

The menu hasn’t changed since 1948, so there weren’t many options, but we had to get the ‘double-double’ which was double beef and double cheese.


In And Out Burger History


The ingredients are fresh and made to order, so it’s fast food, but fresh!

The burgers and the fries were terrific. The fries don’t look great, but they were fresh and delicious!

Cable Car

We were well filled, so we left here and planned to head home, but then saw the old cable car and had to jump on! Our transport passes got us on, too, so that’s a win!

These cable cars were 146 years old and the only city to have them was San Francisco.

We eventually got a chance to ride it hanging off the edge, which was awesome!

New Shoes

We got off the cable car in the shopping district and got Curtis a cheap pair of shoes for summer.

Curtis’ current shoes have lasted well, but they’ve hit the end of their life, so new shoes it is for Curtis. He got some nice Levi’s shoes, weirdly. Just $20 though!

Rammed Tram

We took the tram home, but this was at around 19:00 so it was absolutely rammed for a while.

We got home and were incredibly tired…we have been on our feet for over 9 hours, so laying down and watching TV was great.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 74 – Day 3: San Francisco,CA – Golden Gate Park Walk, Bison & Dutch Windmill

Golden Gate Park Walk

We had a later start today, but still made the most of it!

We walked to the bus stop just down the road and waited for the bus to show up.

We jumped on the bus and sat on it for a while whilst it took us down to the golden state park.

We were here yesterday in the car, but we didn’t get the chance to walk around, so we wanted to do that today.

We walked around the park, just looking around, for a long time, as it was a perfect day again!

There were a lot of people just playing sports and relaxing on the grass.

Coffee

We decided we wanted to find somewhere for coffee, so went to a placed called Beanery.

This place smelled amazing and they also roast their own coffee. Kim had a iced caramel latte and Curtis had a cappuccino. Both of our coffees were phenomenal!


Beanery | San Francisco,CA

Rating:- 10/10


Bison

We walked towards the beach and came across the bison pen. There are about 5 bison homed here in total and they are huge!

Dutch Windmill

We walked onwards towards the beach where there was also a large Dutch windmill. this windmill was absolutely beautiful, so we stopped and got some photos.

Dinner

We wanted to go for dinner from where we were, so we caught a bus all the way to downtown.

Whilst on the bus, we had a look at places to go and found an amazing looking Italian pizza place in the Italian area of the city.

We got off the bus near the restaurant and proceeded to walk there.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy so we got our food quite quick. We had a starter of buffalo mozzarella (as it was also a mozzarella bar) with arugula, tomato and bread. This was a terrific starter with excellent flavour.

Once our starter was finished, the pizza came at the perfect time. We got what we called a fancy version of a margherita, the difference being buffalo mozzarella.

The pizza was terrific and took us right back to being in Rome!

We had a tiramisu for dessert, which was alright, and then we left.

Unfortunately the service wasn’t great, but the food was pretty solid!


Il Casaro Pizzeria | San Francisco,CA

Rating:- 7.8/10


We left here and came home, stopping off for some supplies on the way.

We caught up with our TV and then it was time to sleep.

Tomorrow

We have a fun filled day tomorrow! Something to tick off the list for sure.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 73 – Day 5: Seattle,WA – Amazon Spheres, Tacos & Giant Water Tower

Visa

First thing’s first – something we forgot to mention yesterday – Curtis now also has his Canadian work visa, so we can confirm that we plan to work in Canada in the near future!

Now – onward to today;

Off Into The City

We took the bus to the city this morning, but only had a $5 note. Kim was given a ticket which still had time on it, so only Curtis needed a ticket.

Curtis put the $5 note in the machine, expecting change, but the driver informed him that change is not given on buses in Seattle! This didn’t really bother us too much, but now we know.

When we got off the bus, the driver called us over and gave us 2 tickets to be used any time up to 18:00 as he felt bad that we put too much money in. He didn’t have to do that, but it was incredibly kind that he did!

SIM Shopping

We need to get a US SIM as we will be in the country for a bit of time, so we walked around places trying to find one.

We had seen the perfect thing at the supermarket yesterday, but didn’t want to just take the first thing we saw, so decided to browse.

Whilst we looked, we found nothing better, so decided we’d head to the supermarket later and get the one we saw.

Victrola Coffee

We had seen a coffee shop named Victrola a few times and it was full each time, so it must have been good! We decided we would check it out.

The coffees were mostly one size, which wasn’t a great start for us, so much so that Curtis panicked a little and ordered the house coffee instead of espresso.

The house coffee wasn’t great, but Kim had a mocha which seemed to get better over time.

We found some of the staff a little standoff-ish too, which wasn’t pleasant.

Interestingly there was also an Amazon office within the same building as this coffee shop.


Victrola Coffee | Seattle,WA

Rating:- 5/10


Amazon Spheres

Kim’s surprise was planned to be a tour of the Amazon headquarters. Unfortunately, it’s a very full tour and is usually booked for months in advance, so Kim had put us both onto the waiting list.

We walked to the Amazon HQ and asked the question as to if we had been accepted or not.

Unfortunately, we were not accepted and it is still full, so we were unable to do the tour. That being said, we have signed up for Thursday’s waiting list, so fingers crossed!

Spheres

We were still able to go into the Amazon Spheres, which were built fairly recently primarily as an alternative workspace for Amazon employees, but also as a living plant biome.

We could only explore the bottom floor, which explains all about how it was built, why it was built, the challenges and the people within. It was pretty cool to see!

Tacos

We left here and walked about 25 minutes to get tacos! Our host told us last night about a great, cheap, taco place so we grabbed some as a snack.

We each got a house taco (pork, salsa & pineapple) and we shared a steak taco.

The pork were by far the best. absolutely delicious, and the steak was just ok.


Taco Chukis | Seattle,WA

Rating:- 7.5/10


Volunteer Park

We went for a walk around volunteer park, which is a large park of woodlands. There isn’t much there, but it was a nice walk to relax. We saw a lot of squirrels and some were daring enough to come close. Kim tried to hand one a pinecone and freaked out!

We walked around for a bit more and then stumbled across a giant former water tower.

Water Tower

This water tower is huge and is now an observation deck.

We were able to climb the stairs to the top and get a 360° view of the city (and all the rain clouds!).

Different Bus

We took a different bus home after stopping by at something we will be doing tomorrow to ensure we are booked in.

We walked to a bus stop and caught a different bus number so we could go a bit off course and get directly to the supermarket near our apartment, rather than having to walk from home.

We got the SIM and other things we needed from the store and walked back home.

Stir Fry

We got home and Kim whipped up a pork stir fry, which was incredible.

We ate a lot, but it was worth the fullness!

We watched some TV and then went to bed. Got to be up early tomorrow!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 73 – Day 4: Seattle,WA – UPS Waterfall, Waterfront & Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Walking To The City

We were going to take a bus to the city, but we only had a $100 note, so we decided to walk instead. It wasn’t very warm today, but it also wasn’t cold or raining so we didn’t mind the 40 minute walk.

International Centre

We walked through the international centre, which is Chinatown, Japantown & the Vietnamese area. This was great and there also seemed to be a lot of great looking restaurants!

UPS waterfall

Our first stop was brief, but was fairly interesting.

This was a waterfall which was used to commemorate and celebrate the UPS staff and founder.

This is a Japanese style garden and is also the original office of the UPS.

Pioneer Square

Right by the waterfall was Poineer Square which we accidentally stumbled across.

This area has games, like table tennis, and also a memorial to all firefighters from Seattle that have lost their lives.

Ye Olde Curiosity shop

We went from here towards the waterfront and then stopped at Ye Olde Curiosity shop. This is a shop which has been around since 1899 but has moved several times.

This is a gift shop, but also has a lot of interesting, rare, items in, such as (apparently) real preserved dead bodies and more like that.

Kim Tried On Some Really…Interesting…Glasses

Walked along waterfront

We walked along the waterfront some more, just to see what was there. There was a lot of seafood restaurants but it was an interesting walk.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

We walked from the waterfront up to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

This is where coffee beans are roasted, as well as a self guided tour, coffee only available at this location is served as well aa mixologists and staff that know a lot about coffee!

We started by being given a map and going to the first area where they roast coffee. Just 9 feet away, we watched the coffee get roasted and then it all poared out and smelled incredible!

We were given some freshly roasted beans to smell and taste!

These smelled incredible, but didn’t taste to good like this!

We got a flight ofcoffee to try, which was 8oz of 3 different coffees.

We had one from Kenya, one Columbian coffee and one which is only roasted at this location from Guatemala.

Kim isn’t a big coffee drinker, so Curtis drank most of it!

The Kenyan coffee had a great flavour but was fairly bitter. The Columbian was the easiest to drink and the Guatemalan coffee had a crazy flavour of black cherry and plum, which it really did, and was a little overpowering.

Curtis didn’t feel great after drinking so much rich coffee at once, but it was an awesome experience!


Starbucks Reserve Roastery | Seattle,WA


Steak

We got back to the apartment and Curtis watched hockey.

After hockey, we went to the supermarket to get a few things we needed as well as dinner for the next few days.

We got back and had steak ready to cook, which we purchased a couple of days ago.

This was a new york strip steak and it was large and incredible.

Curtis seasoned the steak very well and Kim cooked it perfectly, with the help of meat thermometers. The meat was incredibly tender and the accompaniment of the expertly cooked potatoes and delicious onion and mushroom gravy made it a heavenly meal!

Host Chat

We sat and had a chat with our host for a while as he came in whilst we were cooking.

Once we were done with the chatting, we washed up and then went to bed to watch a bit of TV.

Tomorrow…

Kim has a surprise for Curtis tomorrow, so he doesn’t know what’s going to be happening!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale