San Francisco: Top 5 Things To Do.

A guide to the top 5 things to do in the romantic city of San Francisco.

1. The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an incredible sight. Declared a Wonder of the Modern World, The Bridge alone sees over 10 million visitors a year – and it’s easy to see why – it’s truly magnificent, whichever angle you look at it.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco, and spans 1.6 kilometres. A good view of the Bridge can be found from multiple vantage points – one of them being from Alcatraz Island – next on the ‘must-see’ list.

WEBSITE: goldengate.org

2. Alcatraz Island & Penitentiary Tour

Alcatraz Island is roughly 2.5 kilometres from the shores of San Francisco. You can get there by boat, with multiple companies sending tourists over every day from the docks.

The Golden Gate Bridge can be seen both by boat and on the island – and if you manage to secure a night-tour of the penitentiary, you can watch the sunset over the Bridge.

Alcatraz holds many secrets and tales of daring escape attempts, having held many famous prisoners, including Al Capone. Walking through its walls and cells is slightly eerie, especially as night falls, however the interactive audio set you are given is incredibly fact-heavy and walks you through at your own pace.

It’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in the area – the history of such a place is definitely very interesting to learn about.

WEBSITE: alcatrazisland.com

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/370843350540032955/?lp=true

3. Fisherman’s Wharf

The Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see while in San Francisco. There’s plenty to see and do, from shopping at the local market stalls, learning about the history of the area or getting some of the freshest seafood in the city.

Fisherman’s Wharf is close to public transport, the city and has plenty of car-parking. You can hire bikes, visit the old-school arcade or simply wonder along the waterfront. It’s close to the Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum.

WEBSITE: fishermanswharf.org

4. Lombard Street

Known as the ‘crookedest street’ in the world, Lombard Street has steep hills and curving corners that pass by some amazing Victorian Manors. The street is truly iconic and has amazing views.

Lombard Street attracts a large number of visitors every year, and provides a free, but very photogenic place to visit. It’s not far from the Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, so if you’re in the area, you may as well check Lombard Street out!

WEBSITE: tripadvisor.com

5. Cable Cars

The Cable Cars in San Francisco are the last manually operated Cable Cars in the world. There are only 3 left in the city, and are a delight to hop on.

You get some excellent views from the Cars, and all in all, it’s a (cheap) and fun experience. They run every 10 minutes or so, and can take you from Union Square to Nob Hill.

For the best views, don’t forget to choose the side of the car that will be closest facing to the bay!

WEBSITE: stftodo.com

Los Angeles: Top 5 Theme Parks.

Visiting LA? Don’t forget to check out these fun-filled theme parks!

*Before you go…

Although not compulsory, if you are planning on going to a few theme parks while in Los Angeles, your best bet is to purchase an ‘LA Go Card‘ before you go.

This is a once off purchase, giving you access to Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland, Warner Bro’s Studio and much more. The ‘Go Card’ varies in price from $92 for a one-day pass to $360 for a seven-day pass, but it saves you loads of money and messing around, and can be personalized to suit your needs.

If you don’t want to purchase a ‘Go Card’, it’s still worth purchasing your tickets in advance, online. The prices at the gates are much higher – and the earlier you purchase your ticket, the better price you’ll pay.

Source: https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/hotels/hilton-los-angelesuniversal-city

1. Universal Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood is a must-see destination if you’re in Los Angeles.

Featuring a slew of shops, restaurants and attractions, including the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’, ‘The Simpsons Ride’ and much more, Universal Studios knows how to exceed expectations. The park sees over 6 million people annually, and is home to a bunch of working TV stations.

WEBSITE: universalstudioshollywood.com

PRICING:

Is this included if I buy an ‘LA Go Card’?Yes
1-Day General Admission$109 – $129
2-Day General Admission$149 – $169
1 Day General Admission + VIP Experience $349

2. Disneyland & Disney California Adventure Park

Based in Anaheim, roughly 45 minutes from Los Angeles, Disneyland and it’s sister park, Disneyland California Adventure Park are the product of fairy tales.

‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ is Disneyland’s slogan, and they’re pretty much correct. The staff are welcoming and stay in character throughout all visitor interactions, and the attractions are incredible. Although neither of the Disney Parks use the ‘LA Go Card’, it’s still worth paying a bit extra to see what all the fuss is about.

Disneyland California Adventure Park boasts roller-coasters and incredible sets from everyone’s favourite movies – including ‘Cars Land’, while Disneyland features the famous Disney Castle and attractions like ‘Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge’.

There’s truly something for everyone – and if you’re visiting, Downtown Disney has a bunch of shops and restaurants too!

WEBSITE: disneyland.com

PRICING:

Is this included if I buy an ‘LA Go Card’?No
1-Day General Admission to one park$104 – $149
2-Day General Admission to one park a day$225
Source: https://www.viator.com/en-PH/tours/Anaheim-and-Buena-Park/Six-Flags-Magic-Mountain-with-Round-Trip-Transportation-from-Anaheim/d797-44025P5

3. Six Flags Magic Mountain

If you’re after adrenaline-inducing rides, Six Flags is for you.

Located in Valencia, approximately 40 minutes out of Los Angeles, Six Flags is full of high-speed roller-coasters and rides that will blow your mind. Although the park has family-friendly attractions too, it’s the thrilling rides that bring in the most visitors.

Worth the trip, and generally not as crowded as Disneyland or Universal Studios, as it is a little further away.

WEBSITE: sixflags.com

PRICING:

Is this included if I buy an ‘LA Go Card’?Yes
1-Day General Admission (if bought online)$50-$93
1-Day General Admission at the Park$93
Source: https://www.getyourguide.com/los-angeles-l179/knott-s-berry-farm-general-admission-any-day-ticket-t344831/

4. Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm oozes a form of old-fashioned nostalgia. Located in Buena Park – roughly half an hour from Los Angeles, this theme park is a great ‘in-between’ park, which caters for the thrill seekers and the little ones.

Knott’s Berry Farm has something for everyone – with four themed areas, including the ‘Old West Ghost Town’, ‘Camp Snoopy’, the ‘Fiesta Village’ and ‘The Boardwalk’.

Stroll around Knott’s Berry Farm with an ice-cream, or hop on one of the world-class roller-coasters (if you dare!).

WEBSITE: knottsberryfarm.com

PRICING:

Is this included if I buy an ‘LA Go Card’?Yes
1-Day General Admission (bought online)$47 – 64
1-Day General Admission (bought at the Park)$84
Source: https://www.legoland.com/california/legoland-california/rides-and-attractions/rides/

5. Legoland

Legoland is a childhood dream come true.

Located in San Diego, roughly an hour and a half from Los Angeles, Legoland has an array of attractions. Although the park is designed mostly to appeal to children (the roller-coasters are very family friendly, so to speak), there’s still plenty to explore for the adults too.

Legoland boasts ‘Miniland USA’ which features over 32 million bricks in its constructions – including a mini-sized Las Vegas, New York and New Orleans. If you have time and don’t mind a drive, Legoland is worth chucking in the itinerary.

WEBSITE: legoland.com

PRICING:

Is this included if I buy an ‘LA Go Card’?Yes
1-Day General Admission (bought online)$95 – $110
1-Day General Admission (bought at the Park)$110

Quote Of The Day 18/01/2020

SATURDAY, 18/01/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/692498880187905561/

‘Have we ever thought that being lost is our destination?’

– Craig D. Lounsbrough

Quote Of The Day 15/01/2020

WEDNESDAY, 15/01/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/480477853996277987/

‘Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.’

– Anita Desai

Quote Of The Day 14/01/2020

TUESDAY, 14/01/2020:

pexels-photo-1051075

‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’

– St. Augustine

Quote Of The Day 12/01/2020

SUNDAY, 12/01/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/479281585345589083/

‘There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.’

– Beverly Sills

Quote Of The Day 30/12/2019

MONDAY, 30/12/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/683562049671654434/

‘The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.’

– J.P. Morgan

10 Reasons To Try Dragon Boating

As one of the most popular up-and-coming sports in the world, here are 10 good reasons to try Dragon Boat Racing today!

First of all… What is Dragon Boating?

Dragon Boat Racing is a water-sport spanning thousands of years, originating from the Pearl River Delta region of China’s Guangdong Province. It is one of the most up-and-coming sports in the world, with over 50 million participants worldwide.

Modern Dragon Boat Racing began as an international sport in Hong Kong in 1976 (for more information, click here).

Source: https://shenzhen.blog/dragon-boat-festival-a-traditional-chinese-festival/
Source: Shenzhen Blog

Dragon Boat Racing consists of crews of 10 or 20 paddlers in a boat (+ Sweep/ Steerer and Drummer). The boats are typically made of carbon-fibre, fibreglass and other lightweight materials.

So how does it work?

Dragon Boat Racing involves each crew member paddling in synchronization/ as part of a team, against other Dragon Boat teams (or against time) from a start line to a finish line.

Race lengths vary, with the most popular being 200m, 500m and 2km.

According to the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), there are currently 72 countries/ territories with memberships to the IDBF – and many more with a known interest.

Although you may have seen some teams sporting wooden paddles, Dragon Boat paddles are generally made of Carbon Fibre and their dimensions are carefully considered and controlled to comply with IDBF standards.

A paddler’s technique, height and power will determine the exact length and weight of the paddle.

You will notice the stamp/ decal on the top of the blade in the image – noting that the paddle complies with IDBF standards.

Paddles that are not compliant are not able to be used in official Dragon Boat Racing.

Source: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SPORT-Approved-Carbon-Dragon-Paddle/dp/B01E8DLU26
Source: amazon.com

Modern Dragon Boat Racing is organised at the international level by the IDBF, which is the governing body for the sport.

Dragon Boat Racing at the State, National and International level is very competitive and many paddlers train all year round and go through rigorous training programs, camps and try-outs to be capable of competing at a high level.

The Australian Dragon Boat Team is the Auroras – and their fitness benchmarks are outlined here.

Source: http://www.lureofthedragons.org/form-and-function.html#
Source: Lure of the Dragon

Above is a diagram of the typical set-up of a Dragon Boat Crew. Below is a quick description of each of these positions and what their purpose is:

STEERSMAN/ SWEEP:

The sweep is arguably the most important person on the boat.

They are responsible for the safety of the entire crew, and need to be in command 100% of the time.

The sweep needs to be able to understand wind and race conditions, as well as the capabilities of their crew, in order to keep the boat moving forward correctly.

Source: http://archive.boston.com/sports/blogs/bigshots/2009/06/dragon_boat_racing.html
Source: boston.com

BACK/ TURBO:

The back two/ four paddlers should be strong and able to keep up with the front ‘strokes’.

MIDDLE/ ENGINE ROOM:

The middle section of the boat is usually reserved for the strong, heavier paddlers to help balance the boat but still keep it above water with powerful strokes.

STROKES:

The front paddlers, also know as ‘strokes’ set the pace for the rest of the crew to follow.

These paddlers should have long, strong techniques, setting the visual example for the entire crew.

Source: https://www.thrill.com.au/dragon-boating-corporate-events-training-water-activities/
Source: thrill.com
Source: https://www.lovedbylaura.com/2015/06/bills-restaurant-cambridge.html
Source: Loved by Laura

DRUMMER:

The drummer position is usually reserved for someone lightweight (so the boat isn’t front heavy).

Drummers beat the drum in time to the strokes’ paddling, and calls out encouragement to the team – it might seem underrated, but it is extremely important in race conditions.

So why should you try it?

There are many great reasons to try and love Dragon Boating – but here are my personal TOP 10 reasons to give it a go:

NUMBER ONE:

STRENGTH AND FITNESS

Yes, this is an obvious benefit to any sport. However to be good at Dragon Boating, it requires a certain level of endurance, aerobic fitness, as well as strength.

It’s a whole body workout – your legs are the anchor while the muscles in your arms, shoulders and back are used to cut through the water.

Source: http://archive.boston.com/sports/blogs/bigshots/2009/06/dragon_boat_racing.html
Source: boston,com

You have to really lean forward to get the correct technique, which means you are also working your core at the same time, too!

Most clubs train several times a week, which means you can really choose what you get out of the sport. Whether you’re looking for a more social activity, or you have a competitive streak, this sport is excellent for either end of the spectrum.

NUMBER TWO:

TRADITION

Dragon Boat Racing is a sport that originated thousands of years ago. It is believed to have origins tracing back 2,500 years. In Chinese tradition, the Dragon symbolizes:

  • Power
  • Excellence
  • Courage
  • Boldness
  • Heroism
  • Perseverance
  • Nobility
  • Dignity

On race days, the boats are fitted with the proper Dragon Head and Tail. A traditional ceremony called ‘Awaking the Dragon’ is carried out, where a Taoist Priest dots the eyes of the dragon, thus ending its ‘slumber’.

The Chinese celebrate each year with a ‘Dragon Boat Festival’ which is one of their oldest and most grandiose festivals. It’s also known as the Duanwu Festival and occurs near the summer solstice (late May, early June). You can find more information here. Adelaide Dragon Boat Clubs also race at the OzAsia/ Moon Lantern Festival.

NUMBER THREE:

MEETING NEW PEOPLE:

Dragon Boat Racing is a sport that incorporates a wide variety of people of all ages, races and genders, from all walks of life. This makes it an amazingly social sport to be a part of.

Whether you plan to try Dragon Boat Racing competitively or socially, one thing is assured: you will make some amazing friends.

Source: http://www.dragonboatsa.com/auroras/
Source: Dragon Boat SA

The atmosphere both on and off the water is perfect for getting to know the people in your club, and everyone helps everyone else.

NUMBER FOUR:

Source: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/dragon_boating/dragon_boating_personnel.htm
Source: Tutorials Point

MASTERING A NEW SKILL-SET

Learning to paddle is always interesting – and each club has their own slightly different paddling technique – but for most, it is a very new kind of skill to learn.

Not only do you need to learn how to paddle – you need to learn the commands as well. It’s a sport that is incredibly demanding, both physically and mentally, but once you start to master it, very satisfying!

NUMBER FIVE:

THE SCENERY & BEING ON THE WATER

Where there are boats, there are (hopefully) bodies of water. And generally speaking, the places you paddle are quite beautiful!

Whether you’re paddling at a marina, on a river, a lake or the ocean, there is usually a lot to look at. So, while you may be paddling your butt off, you can still appreciate the scenery around you.

Early mornings are fresh and a perfect way to start your day, and afternoon training is rewarded with some incredibly beautiful sunsets. And the occasional pelican, fish, seagull or duck as well!

NUMBER SIX:

CAMARADERIE/ BEING PART OF A TEAM

Dragon Boat Racing is team sport, and to have any hope of making the boat go forward, you must work together.

The loyalty and team spirit you find while Dragon Boat Racing is something you won’t find anywhere else.

You’ll find out very quickly that ‘team’ takes on a very important meaning, especially while you’re on the water.

Rain, hail or shine (quite literally), training is a lot easier when you know you can trust the people around you. And rest assured, there’s nothing quite like paddling on a lake, hail and rain bucketing down, and laughing with the people next to you.

You will spend a lot of time on and off the water with the people around you, so having a mutual trust and friendship is imperative. Over time, you’ll notice that the people you paddle with will begin to become family.

NUMBER SEVEN:

TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES

Dragon Boat Racing can take you to some interesting places! Not only can you compete nationally, but if you make the national team, you could find yourself on the other side of the world.

The Dragon Boat World Championships take place all over the globe, from Hong Kong and Thailand, to Hungary and France. With a bit of competitive spirit and determination, this sport can take you to anywhere imaginable, all while making international friends along the way!

Source: https://www.timeout.com/hong-kong/things-to-do/10-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-the-dragon-boat-festival
Source: timeout.com

NUMBER EIGHT:

FREEING YOUR MIND

One of my favourite things about Dragon Boat Racing is that while you are on the water, there’s absolutely no time to think about anything other than paddling.

You are completely focused on your technique, what the commands being called out are, and keeping in time with the strokes (front two paddlers).

This sport is truly amazing for your all round well-being – body, mind, soul and spirit.

For someone like me, where day-to-day life can sometimes feel out of control, Dragon Boat Racing is the perfect opportunity to let all the worry and stress drift (quite literally) away.

NUMBER NINE:

DISCIPLINE

Discipline. There’s nothing quite like it.

You don’t know what this means until your sweep is screaming at an ear-splitting decibel for a ‘Power 20’ and all you can do is push your hardest and hope you aren’t going to have a heart attack.

Linking in with camaraderie, you and your team-mates rely on being disciplined to execute everything you’re told, in perfect synchronization, in order to bring the boat up and forward. And when it works, it works.

NUMBER TEN:

RACES!

Dragon Boat Racing = Races.

Lots and lots of races! Whether you see yourself as a competitive person or not, racing against other clubs is a lot of fun. It really brings everything together – camaraderie, discipline, team work, tradition, strength and fitness and everything you’ve learned along the way.

Giving one hundred percent, as a team unit, is truly a sight to see, and something to experience.

Race days are also a great way to mingle with people with other teams, watch other age-groups, enjoy some good old-fashioned team spirit and perhaps a beer or three after it’s all said and done.

So what are you waiting for?!

Summer is rapidly approaching (for my Australian friends, at least), and what better way to get fit and enjoy the water and sun? So what are you waiting for? Head down to your local club and give it a go!

FIND YOUR CLOSEST CLUB HERE:

For my South Australian Friends: click here

*Or come down and try with us at the Black Sea Dragons – formerly known as the Adelaide Sea Dragons and Black Dragons (new website coming soon!)


For my Interstate Friends: click here


For my Overseas Friends: click here


If you enjoyed this article, find more at:

Quote Of The Day 31/10/2019

THURSDAY, 31/10/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/855191416713448971/

‘Take risks in your life… If you win, you may lead. If you lose, you may guide.’

– Swami Vivekananda

Quote Of The Day 11/08/2019

SUNDAY, 11/08/2019:

Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/193430130?context_page=16&context_query=suitcase+photography&context_type=search

‘There came a time when you realized that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.’

– Stephen King