3.23.2006

san francisco details

What a wonderful trip. Well the 6 days certainly flew by, but not without noticable leg pain from all of those hills. We saw almost everything in our guide books. Here's a breakdown of our day to day adventures:

THURSDAY 3/16: Leave NY at 9:00am. Took subway and airtain to JFK to feel like we were saving a bit of money before our big splurge. Flight was easy enough. American is no longer offering any kind of free snack or meal, only one beverage. What is the world coming to? Watched Netflix on laptop, first disc of Season 1 Entourage. Pretty good. Has to be, being HBO and all. SF looked beautiful from the air. Crazy coincidence.... Josephine was also flying from SFO on the 16th. She and Peter had spent the previous week in Santa Rosa painting and biking. We knew that we were all flying AA and that we arrived an hour or so before they left. So, I call when I arrive "We've landed. What gate are you flying out of?" "63" A minute later our plane parks at gate 63 and we deboard. We find Josephine and Peter shortly after and compare tickets. Turns out they are heading back to NY on the same plane and are going to be sitting in the two seats directly in front of ours! What are the chances?
We find baggage claim and, voila, our suitcase is almost first. Hopped into a shuttle van and we are off to the city. First impression, I cannot believe the hills and the houses built on them and the gorgeous bay water. We arrive at the York Hotel. Not a fancy chain, but has a lot of character and the room is spacious with a walk-in closet (live it up suitcase, this is the most space you'll ever have!). We are right back outside in a few minutes. Decided to walk to Fisherman's Wharf to pick up our City Passes for the next few days. Passes were there no problem and we walk to Boudin Bistro for lunch. Nice place, They have a sourdough bakery and shop on the first floor. After lunch we stumble into Musee Mechanique which is this awesome large tent filled with video and carnival games from the last 100 years that have all been restored to working order. We take our photos in a booth, face off in Skee Ball (I won) and slung quarters into mechanical gypsies that dispensed "Big" movie like cards. On to the Cannery for some ice cream, which is the refurbished del Monte factory that now has lots of shops, eateries and general tourist traps. Walked to the end of the cable car line and watched the workers manually rotate each car around. It began to rain hard by the time we got a seat on the Cable Car. After a few hills, it began to pour! People were actually coming out of their buildings to see how strong the rain was. Inside the crowded cable car with its dim bulb (now dark outside) and the rain coming down, I felt like I was in some WWII movie scene.

FRIDAY: Up early to enjoy the free "European" breakfast at the hotel (toast, coffee, juice and assorted mini carb things). Erik found it a bit insulting to call it European. The only difference I saw was that you could take this to go :)
We have an 11:15 ferry tour to Alcatraz. We take our time getting there and briefly see Union Square, Chinatown, and the City Lights Bookstore. Bookstores are my biggest vice. I find it impossible to pass one up and usually harder not to buy something. The weather has turned out to be amazing. Perfect actually. It's the kind of weather that is warm in the sun, crisp in the shade, with the prettiest clear blue sky. Couldn't ask for a better day to go to prison!
Alcatraz was great. Such mystery, such history. The audio tour was very well done. It was beautiful to see how the landscape had grown over the run down buildings. Took tons of photos, made a few drawings together and sat on a sunny bench for as long as we could.
Off the boat, walk to Ghiradelli Square and then to the Exploratorium. Not on my list of things I needed to see, but part of the city pass, so why not give it a try? They claim to be a science museum for all ages, but we were quickly bored and went out for some shopping on Union Street. I loved that SF did not have a Starbucks on every corner, but instead had a variety of coffee houses and cafes. How have they avoided this invasion? Another thing we really loved was that there were so many vintage metal signs with neon lights and vertical type. We came upon one such sign and it was a theater that happened to be showing only V for Vendetta. We had both wanted to see this movie, but assumed it might sell out. Not a problem here. We got right in. I found out later this was the largest single theater in town (seats over 500) and had been recently restored to all of its lovely art deco glory. I love these future movies that feel retro. What, no flying cars?

SATURDAY: Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, where all of the locals go (yes, those who who need $20 lb organic beef and caviar) Rode historic street car (this one from Milan) to the water near Coit Tower. Climbed neighborhood steps that lead to the tower and beautiful houses on the cliff. Coit Tower was built shortly after the depression and had amazing murals on the ground floor. We were expecting more steps to the top, but thanfully there was an elevator. Lunch at Divine Cafe (yes, indeed) on Washington Square Park (minus the NYU kids of course). I was in full toursit mode and took out my guide book while waiting for our food.. We decide to make this our day to see the museums. Head to the SFMOMA. Great photography show marking the 100 year anniversiary of the big earthquake. Strange to see women in Victorian dresses surveying piles of rubble. Also a wonderful William Kentridge video/drawing. Which is it? Does it matter? Walk to Asian Art Museum. Outside there is a general protest "Stop War, End Racism, Insert Anti-Bush cause here". Great that they were able to protest, but wasn't moved by some of the speeches. One girl "We need to stop this war. And my tuition at UC Santa Something has gone uo every year and the cost of books is outrageous". Cost of Text Books vs. War.? Quickly browsed museum and then took bus over to Fillmore Street shopping district. We had seen a write-up for a little store called "Timeless Treasures" and wanted to check it out. It was wonderful. We bought all kinds of vintage sign letters and had a great chat with the shop owner. Thai for dinner (sligjtly different than NY thai) and home to soak our feet. Phew.

SUNDAY: Yet another perfect 65 degree day. Fantastic! Rode bus to Golden Gate park to see the recently opened de Yound Museum. Very cool building and nice mis of work. Rented bikes to check out more of the park . First stop was the Queen Wilhelmina Windmill and Tulip garden. Everything was in bloom. Erik was happy to see a little piece of Holland. Biked a little further to the ocean. Our first time in the Pacific! Didn't go in, but did touch the water. We attempted to ride bikes on the sand, but soon realized this was not possible. Returned bikes and walked over to the famous Haight-Asbury District. Hippies abound-old guard and new. Erik bought a hilarious t-shirt that sais "Booyah" in scrabble letters. He has been saying this phrase a lot lately and I thought it was great spelled in Scrabble pieces since I am pretty sure that is not a bonafide scrabble word.

MONDAY: Ahh, finally some crap weather. rain rain rain. Luckily, today we are taking a van tour to Sonoma County to taste some wine. We were originally scheduled for a "Wine and Woods" tour, but were called the day before to be told that driver was sick and that we had the option of a Wine only tour. We went for it, sympathetic of the driver. After the tour though I am pretty convinced that they were just consolidating the two groups and I am a little bummed we missed seeing Muir Woods. The tastings were quite an experience though. We learned how to swish, sniff, and get really red-cheeked and tipsy. We had lunch in "downtown" Sonoma and went to three wineries in all. The last place was super cheesy (Macoroni Grill makes wine) and the lady accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on me. Luckily, I I was wearing my trusty NY blacks. She wasn't very apologetic and made some lame excuse that she was looking at Erik's rain coat and got distracted. OK. When we got outside Erik pointed out that I had red wine splatters all over my face. So classy.

TUESDAY: Our last day. Skip the Euro Breakfast, pack up and walk to the Lotta Jansdotter store. I love her staionary, but was a little disappointed with her store. Decided to explore South of Market today, the Castro and Mission Delores neighborhoods. From our hotel we walked through some shady (not the sun I'm talking about) streets. At least three crazies at every intersection. It looks like they came here 20 years ago and never left, or changed clothes. We made it through and were happy to see that the trip south of market proved to be really nice. Stopped in another bookstore and overheard two employees talking about their friends who have an apartment in Brooklyn and how they might move there. They were stuck at one point on the name of the park between Williamsburg and Greenpoint. I was tempted to jump in and tell them that we were visiting from Greenpoint, but thought my eavesdropping might be a little awkward. Definately funny to hear about your neighborhood all the way across the country! On to China town for a quick peak into the Fortune Cookie factory. It was tiny, but very cool to see how they were made. I always thought as a kid (and until that day) that the furtunes were somehow stuffed in the cookies. Bought a bag of "adult" fortune cookies for friends at work. Thought they were be raunchier or funnier, but they had messages like "Woman must make use of what mother nature gives her before father time takes away". Yawn.
Had early dinner and drinks at Enrico's (recommended by Sara and Josephine) and then off to the airport. We took the night flight so that we could go into work the next day. Now I am up at 1:30 am jetlagged and happy to be telling all about the trip. We had a wonderful time and it was so great to take our first trip as a married couple together.

4 comments:

H3NR7 said...

Wow. This is a great entry. You did so much. What an awesome trip. I'm happy you're back though.

Isabelle said...

You two should write your own guidebook: A Lovebirds Guide. Coincidences and discoveries are the best part about travel, right? I'm glad you're home -- and don't even think about moving away!!

Simone said...

I'm glad you had such an action packed belated honeymoon! We really want to get out there sometime soon.

Jenny + Erik said...

Thanks! Trips seem to be the most fun to write about. So many new things and places.