#10 – Forbidden City

True or False: Which statements below are true about the Forbidden City?  I’ve added some helpful (?) comments after each claim.

  1. 980 buildings were constructed from 1406 to 1420 (that’s 14 years, you couldn’t possibly build that many structures so fast)
  2. A Starbucks store opened in 2000 (that coffee place is everywhere, I guess)
  3. More people visit here annually than Golden Gate Park in San Francisco (China…California…why not?)
  4. It’s surrounded by a 151 foot wide moat (right, and my uncle was King Arthur)
  5. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are smaller in area (that can’t be…I love Disneyland)

According to my research, all five are…TRUE!

980 Buildings in 14 Years – The enormity of that construction effort is offset somewhat by another gigantic number, the 1,000,000 people used to complete the task.  Can you imagine how long it would take today to even get all the necessary approvals to build something that large.

Starbucks in 2000 – Yes it was opened but no you can’t buy a Caramel Macchiato there today.  It was closed in 2013 after months of controversy.

Golden Gate Park Loses – According to a Huffington Post article, GGP finished 14th on their list of 50 Most Visited Tourist Attractions, four places behind the Forbidden City and more than 2 millions visitors less.

Giant Moat – Actually the moat’s width of 52 meters, which is just a little over half an American football field, isn’t really all that giant.  Though it is larger than most goldfish ponds.

Disneyland vs. Forbidden City –  The Magic Kingdom and California Adventure at 85 and 72 acres respectively still fall short of the over 180 acres of land making up the Chinese attraction.

So there you have it…some interesting (?) facts about the 10th most visited spot in the world.  Do you have your reservations?



California Coastal Cruise

Get Ready to Sail Away!  On October 22nd, board the Grand Princess and depart from San Setting SailFrancisco for seven days of glorious cruising down the California Coast, with stops in Santa Barbara, Long Beach, San Diego, and Ensenada, Mexico.

We’ve reserved a block of rooms and therefore have some great reduced rates.  And if that’s not enough incentive, you can get Onboard Credits of at least $75 per person (for the first two berths in a room) on reservations booked and deposited prior to May 12th.

We took this cruise last year and thoroughly enjoyed each stop along the way as well as our time at sea.   If you’re unable to sail on this date in October, there are two other cruise dates scheduled and we’d love to help you secure your room now.  In 2017, departures are March 25 and April 1, and that’s no April Fools’ Day joke.


Travel’s PH Factor

Julia Engel (Gal Meets Glam) wrote about a trip to Paris with her husband and the key to avoiding that overwhelming feeling that there’s too much to see and not enough time.  Her solution…plan ahead!

It might be too simple to say the more there is to see at a destination, the more you need to plan ahead, but it is certainly one way to make sure you see what’s important to you.  Take Paris for example.

According to a site I reviewed, there were 70 restaurants in Paris, four years ago, with a coveted Michelin rating of 1, 2, or 3 stars.  Good luck walking around the city trying to figure out where to eat, if that’s a key component to your trip.  And you could try and visit each of the over 400 parks and gardens I found listed or tour all 45 monuments and architectural wonders in the city, but I’m guessing you’ll be suffering some type of exhaustion long before your finish.

While spontaneity has it’s place, if you’re trying to maximize your time and minimize the stress, don’t forget the PH Factor…Plan Ahead.


What’s your take on the idea of planning ahead?  How have you ensured your “Best Vacation Ever”?




Plan for a Great Trip

Everyone has their own uniqueness and ours, which is partially centered around a long and happily married life, has benefits for some travelers coming to San Francisco.  Here’s just a sample of what we mean.

  • Our Place to Call Home – We’re transplanted Bay Area ‘natives’, having lived here for nearly 30 years, and love it.  So if you’re looking for someone in the know about San Francisco to help you plan a trip there, our knowledge could be very helpful to you.
  • Relationships are Key – Knowing first hand how important it is to talk through wants and needs in life, we’re more likely to help you identify areas of travel preparation that would benefit from a good discussion with the person or people affected by your trip.

Since a key aspect of travel is moving from one place to another, and as we’ve been around the block a few time, we’ve seen a lot.  More importantly, we’ve learned a bunch along the way and some of that wisdom will be available to  customers who plan their travel with us, especially if it involves one of our specialties; cruises and trips to the San Francisco area.

Photo by Bloomsations and More

What Do You Want to Know

This article is for you if any of the following are true.  You…

  • Like to travel
  • Wonder where to travel next
  • Don’t know everything about travel
  • Enjoy helping others
  • Get a kick out of stumping the experts
  • Are reading this post

We want you to get in touch with ideas for our posts on TravElysian.  It’s that simple.  Have a question?  Write us.  Want information about Travel? Write us.  Have a great idea for an article?  Write us.  Get the point?  Write us.

Comment if you know where this was taken.

Comment if you know where this was taken. (Photo by Bloomsations and More – Scott’s photo business)

6th in the World

San Francisco is the World’s 6th Best Place to Visit according to a report  released by U.S. News and we live here so that makes us pretty happy.  It also makes for a couple of good reasons to consider planning a trip to the City by the Bay.

Our Iconic Bridge

“Gateway to Blue” – San Francisco’s Iconic Bridge

As you’d learn in Who Are We, this has been our home for nearly 30 years.  Helping you plan a trip to San Francisco will give us the opportunity to share some local background with you.  There was a book and series a few years back called, ‘Bay Area Back Roads’.  We might be able to point you toward a few back road experiences on your trip.

There’s something special about being in a local resident’s ‘back yard.’  When Ellen and I visited the Boston area years ago, she was amazed at the language difference and couldn’t wait to ask someone to say park the car.  When a man obliged and she heard ‘pahk the cah’, it made the trip that much more memorable.  We don’t think we talk funny but we still might have a surprise or two for you.

Interact with Us

What’s the favorite city you’ve visited?  What would you recommend about it for the first time visitor?  What questions do you have about visiting San Francisco?