I just returned from a fabulous vacation in San Francisco. The four of us headed out west and had an awesome time. We were unabashedly touristy - not caring one bit that we looked so dorky in our layers of clothing, snapping pictures of all the exquisite flowers, hidden staircases, signs on the streets, cable cars, the fog and of course the thousands of beautiful views from every hill in SF. Since this was the children's first time there, I had of course make them hike up every hill, hop on the cable cars, ride the Muni bus/underground system, and take in a movie at the Castro Theatre (which was celebrating it's 85 bday.)
We toured Anchor Brewing Company and joined a walking tour of Chinatown and visited a fortune cookie factory. We walked the Golden Gate bridge and droved up and down Divisadero and the other very steep hills in Pacific Heights, and of course drove and walked down the Lombard's crooked street. We saw and HEARD the wild parrots of Telegraph hill and we visited my old apartment house, with it's chinese courtyard, on Taylor and Jackson.
We were very lucky because the weather for most of the week was warm and blue skies. One of the highlights of the trip was a ferry ride to Angel Island. The weather was perfect. We all rented bikes (my nephew and his partner, Nat and I, and David with a trailer for Noah) and took a breathtaking ride (and I do mean that literally in some places) up switchbacks and around the whole island. We had the most beautiful views to enjoy from atop of the hill. I still can't believe we rode bikes up and around the island. When I learned that we could rent bikes and that it was around the perimenter, I thought it meant a flat road circling the island's base. But no, not even close. It meant starting from the bottom and riding up, up and up, then down, down, down, then up, up and up. We were all so impressed by Natalie. She had a blast and was determine to bike up some of the steepest parts without getting off her bike to walk it up, like the rest of us.
We also spent the previous wknd in San Jose and took a day trip to Santa Cruz. We took a beach train to Roaring Camp where we were able to enjoy their neighboring Redwood forest. Some of the redwoods that we saw had to be over 1000 years old. They were the size of our dining room. We thought the kids would be more impressed but surprisingly they weren't. What they really enjoyed was the boardwalk in Santa Cruz and the carnival rides. We took an overhead tram from one side of the boardwalk to the other. David and I were white as ghosts and neither one of us could look straight ahead. There goes any plans for bungi jumping. Just thinking about it now and my hands and feet are getting sweaty.
To end our trip we spent several days outside of Sacramento. We toured Marin for a bit, visited the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, enjoyed some wine tasting in Napa Valley, and again, were blown away by the most magnificent scenery of the Gold country. We took a scenic drive from Sacramento to Sutter's Creek, where we took a tour of a gold mine. We thought we would be able to pan for gold in the river, but this was an actual working hard rock gold mine. We went down about 500 + feet underground. This mine is different from others because we could drive into it. From there we took stairs to different narrow tunnels. Though nothing remotely similar to the coal mines, it does give you some perspective on what it must be like for any miner, especially with the recents deaths in Utah.
I loved living in San Fransico and I am so thrilled that I could share it's beauty and personality with my family. Below(oops above) are a few pictures from the trip. I will post more later. Oh and here are few funny quotes from Noah.
"My legs are bored. They don't want to walk anymore."
"Where's the dumb waitress?" (commenting on seeing a real 'dumb waiter')
P.S. - Jack and Cruisin Mom - what's a trip to California without stopping in for an In-N-Out Burger. We saw one in Marin and made a special stop to sample these famous burgers. Well, let's just say, I will stick with the golden rule on this one. Though, I did like their t-shirts and bought one for myself. It makes a great nightshirt. : )