California, 18th November, Golden Gate Park, and then home

Getting up in the 'Aloft' Hotel we had a quick breakfast and then packed our bags, again, and put them into storage. Our flight back to Heathrow was not till 7.45pm and we were only minutes away from the airport.
Mairi said she would like to spend our last hours in the US at the Golden Gate Park. We were not best placed for easy travel back into the city, so this entailed a half hour walk along busy main roads until we reached a proper train station. Having travelled back into San Francisco we then caught a bus to the park.
The park covers an extensive area and we did not have enough time to do it justice. We walked in past Stow Lake where the gulls and pigeons were abundant. The squirrels were friendly and I saw an American robin, thrush size unlike our small rounder version.

Lunch was taken in the Japanese Tea Garden, a beautifully manicured area with all the things you would expect, a willow pattern bridge, raked gravel and carp.

Then it was to the California Academy of Sciences building, a 2008 eco masterpiece by Renzo Piano.  San Francisco has a higher percentage of 'green' buildings than any other city in the US. 
We started on the ground floor with the aquarium. The albino crocodile was in the main hall. It was said that it would die if returned to the wild.

What a lot to do! We watched a show at the planetarium and then came out into the light and got a lift to the top of the rainforest biome. From the roof we could see the top of the dome and the solar panels helping to power the building.

Walking down inside the biome we passed through tropical vegetation surrounded by fauna. It was warm and humid after the cool and grey exterior.

My watch said it was time to go. Only the protracted journey back to the hotel. When we got there we booked a taxi for 5.00pm and had a drink while we waited. It came promptly and we went to the check in to find Mairi's luggage was overweight from all the unread text books she had brought with her. We had a quick redistribution and we were ready to go. 
An unremarkable flight later and we arrived on a cold morning to a damp London to meet Alan and the M25 for the car journey home.

What a time we had had!!


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