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Tripping in review

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 5:22 pm by flerly.

Glad to be home, but only because now the “Why don’t they just sing I left my heart… here?” jokes have ended. Otherwise, the trip was outstanding and I could have kept it up for days or until the credit card maxed out at least. Funny that Delta chose to show the Food Network’s San Francisco in $40 a day show on our return flight where it was least helpful to us. Our version was more like $40 a meal, which had the benefit of keeping us down to one real meal a day. Lucky for us, Brad had reservation made for the night of our arrival, so we got a little night-time tour of the city on our way out to Cliff House, where it was just a bit too dark to really see the Pacific crashing against the cliffs through the wall of glass windows, but the meal was excellent, none the less, and their bar was simply the best place in the world to be afterwards.

We stayed in Nob Hill, and thus to get to anywhere we had to walk our asses off. In one day, on foot, we walked down the hill through Union Square shops, then followed Market Street to the Ferry Building (and the big Port of San Francisco sign), then up Embarcadero until we decided to figure out how to get to Coit Tower, which we could see on top of a hill, but which every street we tried ended up at the cliff face instead of going uphill. Finally we managed to get up there, where I found my first and best souvenirs, my flattened pennies, and got a nice view of the whole city. Then we walked all the way down the hill and back up to the curvy bit of Lombard street and walked up that. Boys got some good shots of the tower we were at from the top of the Lombard curvies, which make my calves start to hurt just looking at them. From there, back across North Beach area to Nob Hill and the hotel. Egads were our dogs barking, and it was just day one.. and not even dinner. Hoofed it to a concierge recommended Italian joint for an excellent dinner, then back to Union Square for drinks in a piano bar, where we mused on how nice it would be to just take a taxi back up the hill to the hotel, but ended up walking back anyway.

Sunday, we walked the few blocks to the rental car place and indulged in a day of driving down Highway 1 toward the Big Sur area for some sights. There we finally hit the areas that I’d always imagined northern California would look like… mountains and cliffs meet ocean, amazing shades of green and colored wildflowers meet giant crests of waves on the rocky shore then meld into the vast blue of the ocean and horizon. Even on that driving day I somehow logged just over five miles of walking with our stops and exploring, oh yeah.. and my early morning walking in search of portable breakfast foods for the trip. Funny how it adds up and you don’t seem to notice because of the scenery. We stopped for lunch in Carmel, and took our first walk down to the sand of the shore. Lovely view of Pebble Beach golf course there. Drove on down to a park in Big Sur, explored, then came back up to catch the sunset at the same beach in Carmel. On the return trip, we’d planned to veer from Hwy 1 and cut across the mountains to get back via San Jose and Silicon Valley, but once the rain started and with the darkness, the last leg was less scenic and more car-sick for me, riding in the back. Late on an Easter Sunday wasn’t the best time to try to find a stop for dinner, so we ended up all the way back in the city before we finally stopped. The boys went to close down the piano bar again, but I was out cold in within five minutes at the hotel.

Monday, we returned the rental car and stopped for breakfast at a little bistro right on the cable-car route. We’d planned to finally ride one that day, probably out to Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghiardelli Square, but before that we discovered there was a Swatch store in town, and decided to take another walk down to Union Square to pick up another good souvenir. Afterwards, finally hopped that cable car and had a good time riding along a lot of the same route that we’d walk back from on Saturday, as the route took us right by the top of the Lombard curvies on it’s way to the wharf. Got some better shots of Alcatraz from there, and finally got in sight of the Golden Gate bridge, but once we hit Ghiardelli, we were just wiped out on walking, and wasted much of the afternoon with an indulgent meal in a pricey seafood joint with a view that made it all worthwhile. Monday night, cabbed it across the bay to Oakland for the David Gilmour concert, which was excellent and very enjoyable. Venue was plush, vodka was strong, crowd was interesting, the boys got T-shirts, and all was well for the evening. Afterwards, we were barely back to the hotel in time for a last quick drink in the hotel lounge, where we mused on the concert and lamented having to be up early to check out and go home.

Have to say, impressions of San Francisco were great. As our first visit, we probably spent too much on touristy things that we wouldn’t do later. There were a million little cafe’s and bistro’s, and plenty of tempting Dim Sum signs around that we didn’t get to check out. The walking grew on me, though it would probably take my feet a while to get used to it. And Union Square was just a kickass little shopping area that I’d love to have a couple of days (and a couple of girlfriends) to explore it thoroughly… especially the giant Ross. In fact, sitting here in front of the computers today, trying to sort through emails and figure out how to start catching up, I feel like a real lazy ass because I haven’t had to walk 5 blocks everytime I wanted food, drink, or a bathroom break.

Oh well. Wednesday is my weeknight shift to work this week, so I’d better get to the job at hand. Time for more sitting, and perhaps some delivered food… appropriate sluggishness to compensate for a few days of activity.

PS: My car agrees with me, except that it wants sluggishness after a few days of inactivity. Damn thing won’t start. Joy!


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