San Francisco (4) – Sunnyvale / Stanford / Moutain View / Palo Alto

Saturday 07/07

By Florence:

This morning we worked and ate and then we went to my dad’s friend’s house. There were 4 kids but one was still a baby. With them we ate an amazing lunch with 3 different kinds of meats, sausages, and a whole bunch of vegetables. After eating that we went to Sky High and it’s like a full room of only trampolines. There were many different “stations” like, dodgeball on trampolines, a spot with only trampolines and there were even some trampolines on the walls, a place where you could jump from a trampoline into a foam pit, and last but not least, there was like 6 big columns of foam but that you could stand on and they would get taller and taller. Before starting to climb them, you would get attached to a harness. When you reached the tallest one, you could jump off and it was really cool. We all stayed like 50% of the time in the dodgeball section. It was super fun and I loved it. We stayed there 2h and those two hours were AMAZING! Thank you, bye.


By me:

We wake up a bit before 8am. Kids sleep later, until 9am.

I work on the backups of my pictures.

We have a nice breakfast outside, by the pool.

The kids do a quick (1h) homeschooling session with Isabelle.

We leave around 12:15pm to go and spend the afternoon at Tamar & Avi’s place. Tamar is one of my dearest friends from Insead. They live 20’ from here, in Sunnyvale. We stop on the way to buy a present for their recent addition to the family (a 7-month old baby boy).

The weather is great. These neighbourhoods (Stanford, Mountain View, Sunnyvale) are very nice, green and clean American suburbs.

They have 4 kids, including 2 boys of Jules’ age. He’s happy to have friends to play with (on computer games). Avi prepares a great barbecue with excellent (and plenty of) meat. It’s nice to catch up with them. They’ve had a very interesting professional (and life in general) pathway so far. It’s great to hear their views on the situation here in the Valley, but also on Israel and Europe in general.

We go together to Sky High Sports, an indoor amusement center, with trampolines and the like. Kids love it. They have so much fun.

Thanks Avi and Tamar for this great afternoon!

We leave around 7pm and go back home.

I prepare a salad that we eat outside.

Kids are in bed by 9:45pm. We work until midnight.


Sunday 08/07

Chillax day for the kids.

We eat a salad for lunch.

We go and visit the Cantor Center for Visula Arts, an art museum on the campus of Stanford University. The Cantor Center houses the largest collection of Auguste Rodin sculputres outside Paris.

We then go to our appointment at the Genius Bar of the Apple Store of the Stanford Shopping Mall in the afternoon, to fix Ludivine’s iPhone. Isabelle goes to buy a… tent – yes, another one since we sent the one we bought in Australia back to Belgium… (to be precise, it’s not the same one: it’s a tent for 8…), with 2 inflatable mattresses, and a scooter for Jules (he’s rapidly tired when we visit the cities).

We go back home; we eat strawberries and blueberries with ice cream.

We eat pasta for dinner.

We work till 1am. I prepare the 3 next (and last) days in SF while Isabelle tries to find an Airbnb in NY (it seems difficult…).

Alcatraz tours are unfortunately sold out. The night tour, which was the one that was the most appealing to us, is sold out until mid-September!


Monday 09/07

We wake up before 8am. We want to leave the Airbnb by 9am (we go back to SF today, where Isabelle booked another Airbnb in the north of the city, in Mill Valley, north of Sausalito).

We leave at 9:30am. The car is quite full…

We first pass in front of the Hanna House, by Frank Lloyd Wright. We can’t see much from the street.

We go to the Rodin Sculpture Garden of the Cantor Center for Arts, on Stanford University Campus. We stay a bit on this campus. I want to give a feeling of what a campus of such a prestigious American university looks like to the kids. We drive the beautiful Palm Drive, arriving at the Oval. We then go on foot to the Memorial Church and then to the Hoover Tower. We climb to the platform on the 14th floor to get a 360 view of the whole campus.

We take the car to go to the Apple headquarters (1, Infinite Loop) where we have an appointment with Jean-Luc, a friend of my very good friend Cécile’s. He’s been working there for 5 years. Thanks to him we are allowed to enter the “campus”. He invites us for lunch in the very nice cafeteria. There’s a very relaxed (and cosmopolitan) atmosphere. We eat outside; salads for the girls and burritos for us (with bison meat for me). Interesting conversation with Jean-Luc. The kids try to ‘extort’ some secrets about the next iPhone from him but without success…

There are so many Chinese and Indian people in this part of the Silicon Valley!

We take the car to go to the Apple Visitor Center near the new Apple Headquarters (Apple Park), the “spaceship” designed by Sir Norman Foster. Nice Apple Store with a great AR (augmented reality) of the new HQ. From the roof of the building we have a (very partial) view on the new HQ.

Since we are in the Silicon Valley, we decide to go to the Google and Facebook headquarters as well.

At Google, we stop briefly at both the Android Lawn Statues and the Googleplex (nice campus).

Before reaching Facebook, we stop in Palo Alto. We go to b8ta store, with gadgets, and to Onigilly, a onigiri shop where we buy our dinner for tonight.

At Facebook, we just go out of the car to take a picture in front of the ‘thumb up’ sign.

We drive to our new Airbnb, going through the east side of the Bay (via Oakland).

We arrive around 7:45pm.

Nice house again. The kids love to arrive in an Airbnb, especially in the ones such as this one and the previous one, where people do actually live, with all their stuff, including board games and other games for kids.

We eat our onigiri.

Kids are in bed by 9:30pm. I work until 1am. I prepare a tentative programme for the next 3 days. I’m getting a bit bored with this preparation. But it’s really required.

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