Saturday, March 27, 2010

San Francisco-Day 1

Whee! We're back from a week spent in the California sun and I have lots of pictures to share!

Many blessings made this trip possible...first, Eric's job that sends him to conferences in fun cities (smile), second (and likely most importantly) my dear sister and brother-in-law that were actually EXCITED to have all three of our children join their family for the week, and third, our flexible family lifestyle...a spring break after most other spring breaks were finished, yay for homeschooling! Really, I believe God knew I needed a break from mommy-land so he certainly orchestrated all the details with perfect timing. I now feel refreshed and (maybe) ready to jump back in with both feet.

We flew out last Sunday afternoon, arriving in downtown San Francisco at dusk. Our hotel, The Westin St. Francis, was located right on Union Square. The self-described "best-dressed homeless guy in SF" directed us to the right place as we emerged from the subway. I'm glad someone knew where we were supposed to be.

These pictures are all from day to get acclimated and tour around while Eric went to the conference.

My first stop was Golden Gate Park. Larger than Central Park in NYC, it is home to several museums, trails, green spaces, and ahhhh, gardens. I went early in the morning to the Japanese Tea Garden. It was 4 acres of breathtaking vistas!

After the tea garden, I wandered around the park for awhile, and after taking some random trails, ended up at a pretty little lake...these callas were blooming near the edge. Strawberry Hill, the famous hippie landmark, was in the middle of this lake...I crossed the bridge to it, but opted out of climbing it (ya know, didn't want to kill my calves on the first morning!).

I grabbed a bite to eat at a whole-foods counter...probably the BEST peanut butter, banana, strawberry sandwich I've ever had...and then rode the bus over to get on my scheduled tour with Mr. Toad's tours. The tour was with only 9 other people and we were in a re-fashioned Model A. Good way to see some highlights w/o public transportation!

That's the veiw from many-a-street around town. If you look close at the top of the picture is the famed Lombard "crookedest-street-in-the-world". Well, I guess it just looks like some bushes in the road from here...but ya know.

This is Grace Cathedral. A lovely Episcopal church and SF's own version of Notre Dame. I went back here later in the week to tour and spend some time in prayer....more pix to come.

One of the many Victorian-style homes I saw. My tour guide, John Francisco, knew a lot about the homes and the real estate of my favorite parts of the tour!

Ah, the Golden Gate bridge. We took an unexpected detour down to Crissy Field, which has the best views of the bridge. If you can't tell, the weather was beautiful...mid 60's and sunny!

This is the Palace of Fine Arts, originally built out of temporary materials for the World's Fair (I think all those details are correct...sorry if I'm making things's unintentional!) Later, they redid it with permanent materials and it serves as a beautiful landmark near the bay. Actually, I'm not sure what they do in or around it except for the science museum next door. Hmmm.

This was our ride for the tour...the guy in the hat was our guide, John.

So it was still early when my tour ended, so I walked over to Ghiradelli Square where I saw this pretty fountain with a Mer-Momma and her Mer-Baby (cute!). Very much still a tourist trap (it's near Fisherman's Warf), but oh-so-nice! I was pleasantly surprised with the fun little shops...Crown & Crumpet was my way favorite! It was everything "tea" except the doilies. If you are at all a tea or tea-party fan, click on the name of the shop to see their cute place...(I was thinking of you, Amy, the whole time!)

Eric called while I was still out shopping so I hopped aboard on my first cable car ride to meet him back at the hotel. Then we got ready to go out to the Pacific coast for our dinner at the Cliff House.

Just off the bus and down the hill we could see the old bath ruins before coming around the corner to the house.

Our table was perfectly situated to watch the waves crashing on the rocks and to take in the setting sun.

Oooooh, how romantic! I did forget to watch it go all the way down though...our food came and I was hungry, man!

There were a couple restaurants on site at the Cliff House, ours was The Bistro...really good and perfect portion sizes. I had the 4-cheese, spinach and pine nut stuffed shells; Eric had the pork tenderloin with roasted veggies....mmmmm!

Last, but not least, this kid got on the bus with his 90-year-old tuba on the way back downtown. He played a little ditty for us at the urging of the older little Chinese lady next to us. You just never know what you might see in San Francisco!


Christi said...

Fun, fun, fun! Awesome pics!

troutfisher said...

What a wonderful visit to SF! Hope we can pick up some pointers about the places you visited.