Tuesday, 21 April 2015

San Francisco!!!

After Greg and I ran our first half marathon in Vancouver last year, Greg wondered if there was a race in San Francisco where you could run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  After some research, he found there were a few and we picked one that worked best for our schedule and so 7 months later, we boarded a plane and headed west.
Greg is one of those people who, when they fly is exactly 2 hours early at the airport.  Normally I hate this because I hate waiting but this time, it really worked out well.  When we got through US Customs we were told that the line ups to get though security were very long and he encouraged us to complain to their supervisors.  He was not exaggerating.  By the time we got through security and bought a starbucks for which there was no line because everybody was still at security, it was time to board our plane.  Watching the sun rise was a pretty spectacular scene.  And we got to San Francisco at 838 PST which was even earlier then expected.  It was turning out to be a great day despite the security mess.
Here is City Hall in San Francisco.  It is stunning.  And it is even more spectacular on the inside.  If I lived in the bay area, I would get married there.  In fact, while we were inside buying our transit passes for the weekend, we saw 4 weddings.  And this was a Friday! 
After checking into our hotel which was quite close to City Hall since that was where our race finished on Sunday, we headed down to the Ferry Building.  We did this the last time we were here too.  However, there was no farmer’s  market this time so not as busy.  It’s full of restaurants and little shops.  It’s kinda like an upscale Farmer’s Market.  Like Eau Claire could be but just somehow can’t be.
Our first meal was at Gott’s which is this great little diner place with great food and drink.  Again, we also visited it last time we were here.  There are also 2 locations in Napa if you are ever that way either.
Koit Tower.  We visited last time.  It’s basically a tower that a rich lady built just because she wanted to have a tower.  It’s a cool place to visit and the views are spectacular.  Last time we could see our hotel near the wharf.
Probably one of the coolest buildings in the city.  It was built back when they had square footage limits when building tall buildings so they improvised and got the TransAmerica Building, which  was a major sponsor of our half marathon.
We took the Trolley Car from the Ferry Building to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Greg loves Trolley Cars and learning about where they come from, when they came here.  I am going to try to find him a history of Trolley Cars book for Christmas.  He would really like it.
Fisherman’s Wharf.  So busy as always.  Theres lots of fun things to do here with kids but as an adult, not a whole lot.  And it is so busy too.
Alcatraz from the Wharf.  We wanted to do a night tour here but it was sold out when we read about it online.  Alcatraz was a super cool place and it was the only place Finley behaved the entire time we were here last time.
A west coast staple.  This is where we refuelled after the half marathon on Sunday.  Greg loves it but I think I just like to eat here because it’s not something that is in Canada or most of the US for that matter.
Waiting to take a Cable Car back to our hotel or at least another transit station but I don’t remember exactly.  We waited a long time to get on it which was not my idea.  The novelty of cable cars wore off when we were last time and I was 7 months pregnant.  I thought for sure I was gonna have Penelope on one of these cars.  Interestingly enough, while we were waiting to board a car, a car with a loud speaker full of dudes pulled up and people went nuts. It was full of WWE stars since Wrestlemania was at Levi’s Stadium that weekend.  The only one I recognized was Jerry “The King” Lawlor but apparently two of the guys in the front were the Rock’s cousins.  There was another one too that had Hulk Hogan and John Cena but we didn’t see that one.  We looked into getting tickets for Sunday as they still had some available but we never did buy any.  Interestingly enough, it was apparently the best one in years.  
On Saturday morning, we headed down to the Running Expo to pick up our race packages and we both bought new running shoes.  I think this shoe will solve all my knee problems but it is too soon to tell.  I will save that for another post.  We walked around downtown before coming to Union Station. This is where people used to come to meet, now it’s a massive high end shopping destination.  
We returned all our goodies back to our hotel room before heading to the mission district.  We were both excited to be going to part of San Francisco that neither of us had done before.  We had brunch at Mission Beach Cafe and it was AMAZING.  Well worth the more then hour we waited.  If I ever go back, I will defintely come here again.  And if you ever are in the area, you really should check it out.  It’s not in a touristy area so it’s all hipster locals.
We then walked through Mission on our way to Delores Park.  I love this photo of these trees.  I love how green everything is and how amazing it smells when you are not downtown.
Probably our favourite part of the whole trip.  Delores Park. It’s basically a huge park in Mission where (mostly) locals go to hang out.  There is a huge playground and basically you bring a blanket, food and your favourite alcoholic beverage and you have a good time. There were cops patrolling the area but as long as you weren’t being stupid then it was all good.  All the parks we saw were like this but on a smaller scale.  We deduced this to the fact that backyards and even front yards are non-existent here and so they lack the things that people do here in backyards.  It was so awesome.
The view as we were leaving.  Such a great thing they got going on here
After we had lunch at the Wharf, we took a Trolley Car down to the street market where I bought a fabulous piece of art that I forgot to photograph and if I wait until I go take a photo and upload to finish this blog, it won’t get done for another week so maybe I will post it on instagram later today.  Last time we were here, we bought 2 paintings which are still hanging in on our main floor living room. 
We had to stop in at Target so I could buy some summer clothes.  It was 10 degrees warmer then it normally is and it was so hot. I got a sunburn on my face and neck.  It was crazy.  Thankfully the US Target had some amazing items for me and some things for the girls to choose from.
We then walked around a bit more and found ourselves in Chinatown.  There were some pretty cool architecture along the street and some pretty weird stuff too. 
Then we figured out where the Painted Ladies were and took the bus to get here after stopping and Le Boulangerie for some vanilla bean scones.  Starbucks in most US states and in Vancouver also carry these delightful treats and other amazing goodies.  If you are not familiar with the Painted Ladies, they are most famous to me because they were featured on the Full House Intro while the family had a picnic in Alamo Park where we were standing as we took this photo.  These houses are also famous because it’s an american term in the US to describe Victorian houses and buildings that are painted in three or more colours that enhance the architectural details.  Painted Ladies was first used in San Francisco in 1978
And yet another spectacular view from Alamo Park. The good thing about all those hills I guess.
After the painted ladies and alamo park, we took transit again back to mission where we perused the hipster shops and eateries.  I find the most amazing thing about this area is how they are so open with booze and weed and not even giving any cares to if people see them.  I think it must be a freeing way to live. Anyways, such a cool area – like Inglewood but different if that makes sense.  Of all the stores we went into, this AV one was my favourite.  They had a wall full of mirrors made out of tv screens.  It was the greatest thing ever.  If I had room in suitcase and it was substantially cheaper, that yellow one would have came home with me.
We stopped at some restaurant for supper and I no longer remember what it was called but for an appetizer we had these brussel sprouts that were fried in asian fish sauce vinaigrette with chilis.  It was the most amazing brussel sprouts ever.  I loved them.  And true story, I had one large glass of wine with my meal and I was drunk.  But to be fair, I had been up since 4:30am, ran a half marathon and walked all over San Fran before sitting down for supper.  I put in a solid 54,000 steps on my fitbit in just that day ALONE.  I deserved that glass of wine. We went back to the hotel and went right to bed as tomorrow we were heading to Napa. 
And that is our trip to San Francisco, the second time around.  Check back later this week for blogs on Napa and our half marathon.

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