Monday, September 10, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Husband and I laughed as we thought about the title for this particular blog. We thought about, "A San Francisco Treat" but the above seemed more appropriate because we literally took about every form of transportation while on our fun anniversary trip to San Francisco. I think that the only thing we didn't take was a boat, and that could have easily been accomplished but we opted to do that on another trip out there.

Our adventure really started on the Thursday we were to leave. I went with Husband to work so we didn't have to juggle two cars here and there. So, to get to his place of employment back to our home "should" have been about an hour and fifteen minutes. Do you want to take any guess as to how long it REALLY took? If you start singing the "Gilligan's Island" theme you will realize the answer when you reach "a three hour tour, a three hour tour!" AH! We saw one of the worst tractor trailer accidents ever and then there was another accident near Husband's place of work and then there were continual hiccups as a residual effect from the tractor trailer accident trying to get home. Needless to say, we left at 6:30 AM and I got home at 9:30 AM. Nutty.

Thankfully, the rest of the day went smoothly. I got all I needed to get done at home...some cleaning and last minute packing details. I picked up Husband from work and we were off to the airport. (See, this is where the planes part of the title comes into play)

We arrived in San Francisco late Thursday night. Friday morning we enjoyed a fun breakfast at the hotel and then off to Sonoma County area which would be better known as wine country. We finally made it there and did some tasting at Chateau St. Jean. It was a lovely place and the wine quite delicious. For a variety of reasons we opted to just drive around and tour the area and then decided to head down to the Monterey area (Marina to be exact) and check into our next hotel. Once again we had another "three hour tour" plus 15-20 minutes for a trip that should have taken about 2.5 hours. Such is life on Labor Day weekend and traffic accidents I suppose. We eventually ended up at the Marina Dunes Resort. It's fun because a) it's right on the beach and b) they give you a golf cart to drive around in while on the grounds! It was a lovely time of relaxing and enjoying time together.

Saturday, we went to Monterey (about 10 miles down the road) and went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is quite extraordinary. I would highly recommend not going on the weekend and it is worth the price, indeed. Especially, if you have kiddos. Then we had lunch at fun little Thai restaurant across the way from the aquarium. After some yummy Pad Thai and Chicken Curry we meandered down Cannery Row which is filled with shops, restaurants, and interesting people. On the way out of town we saw a little Irish pub and filed it in the back of our minds as a possible place to eat. We had originally planned to eat at a micro-brew in Marina but after we called the pub to see if they served Magners (a hard apple cider that is known as Bulmers in Ireland) and when they confirmed that they did we opted to go there instead. You see, Magners is only available in limited places in the US and I have been really wanting one since we got back from Ireland. What we found at Shane's Irish Bistro was a quaint little place that reminded us of the Irish countryside. The owner talked with us a bit and pointed us in the direction of an Irish market when we got back to San Francisco. Good times, good food, good beer.

Sunday, we worshipped with the congregation of Church of the King where Husband knew the pastor on previous visits from him to our congregation in Phoenix. It was a delightful time to meet new people and be welcomed so warmly by their community. After worship, we headed back to San Francisco. We ate lunch at some random diner near our hotel, checked in, and then dropped off our rental car (see, AUTOMOBILE). From here on out it was public (and hotel) transportation. We took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit...i.e TRAIN!) to the center of town. We walked to Pier 39 and enjoyed all the sights and sounds. San Francisco is a people-watchers dream. And for those who know me well, I love to watch people so this place is AWESOME. It is probably one of the most interesting places because it is quite the international city. We headed over to Little Italy where we had a yummy dinner on the sidewalk dinning area of Mona Lisa's. It was a pretty place and quite fun to watch Italian exchange on the street. I think after that we went to Ghirardelli Square where we had a decadent Espresso Dark Sundae. Yep, espresso flavored ice cream with dark chocolate sauce. That was gooooood!

Monday, we tried to contact the Irish market but they, so we thought, were closed (we found out later they just opened later than usual). We had breakfast at Noah's Bagels and then headed off to see more fun things like Chinatown (totally cool), Fisherman's Wharf, and Palace of Fine Arts (Intruiging and beautiful Architecture). We had crab cakes for lunch and I checked out a really neat gallery on Pier 39. We also watched one of the shows there... kind of corny but it was funny, too. We stopped in for a drink at an Irish pub in the afternoon and then grabbed a cable car to tour the city and plus it was something that we just wanted to do. I was so excited that we were able to grab a place where you have to stand. Although, it was a little chilly it was totally fun going up and down the crazy, hilly streets of the city. The driver would tease us like he was really going to "let her go" on the downhill side of things like a roller coaster. It was a neat way to see different parts of the city. Taking the cable car is not really a practical way to get across town in a hurry but it sure is fun! When we got down near Union Square the line ended and we walked around a bit (Neither of us are really shoppers, just observers) we decided to track down our dinner restaurant which was in the Financial District. It wasn't until we were about two blocks from the place that we thought it might be closed because of Labor Day. Sure enough! We got down there and there was another couple discovering the same bad news. Just the same, we recovered and took an old street car (they are all old and really interesting!) back to Fisherman's Wharf where we enjoyed some seafood. We were pretty tired (and a little sunburned) so we headed back to the hotel for a restful night.

Tuesday morning, we checked out of the hotel and had them hold our bags until the afternoon. We jumped on their shuttle to the BART station and took that for a bit into town where we jumped on a MUNI Train to a random part of the city to find our little Irish Market. We called to see if they still had breakfast and they did but they also informed us that they usually run out by 10 AM. We were arriving close to 11 AM! So we hoped that today would be an exception. Sure enough, they had PLENTY for an Irish Breakfast Roll (includes eggs, bangers, white pudding, Irish bacon, some other trimmings, and HP Sauce) This market was incredibly cool and so very Irish. We picked up some Magners to take home and some other fun things that reminded us of Ireland. We took our "brunch" to Golden Gate Park where we ate in the Shakespeare Garden. We were visited by a curious and cute little squirrel who munched on some of our Tay-to chips. I like pretty places and Matt has a knack for getting us to some amazing places. This was such a nice place for a meal as there we no other people (until we were leaving) and it was just beautiful. You could see where they probably have readings of Shakespeare in the summer evenings and how fun that must be! After our delightful meal we headed back towards Pier 39 via bus and a nice little jaunt via our feet for a few little things we needed to pick up for family. While at the pier I had to stop and see the Sea Lions one more time. I mention them only here because each time we went to Pier 39 I had to stop and watch them for a bit. They are so FUNNY! (There will be a video of them at the end of this post) Husband thought it was funny how I was so easily amused by them. What can I say, I find them highly entertaining! By now, I was a bit tired so I asked if we could head back to the hotel to get our luggage and head to the airport. Husband is diligent to be mindful of my frame agreed to end our tour about town and mentioned it was about time to head back anyway.

So concludes our fun little trip. It was nice to get out of the heat of Phoenix for a bit... but it is always nice to return to our home...and home is Phoenix. We have one more trip planned this year to see Husband's grandparents in Denver and then we will be home for the rest of the year... holidays and other such fun stuff (lest we decide to make a jaunt or two over to New Mexico to visit my Papa).

Oh... here's my favorite video of the Sea Lions at Pier 39 (They like to play this game ALL day!):

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