Sunday, December 14, 2008

A San Francisco Treat

Ryan had a work conference in San Francisco in mid-November, and thanks to my sister and sister-in-law, I got to tag along. Our kids had so much fun with Lindsey and Kristen (and of course their families) and it was nice to know they were well taken care of. We've been lucky to get away together about once a year--usually when Ryan goes somewhere fun for a conference. That leaves me on my own during his classes to explore and shop, which I think is very exciting. This was our second trip to San Francisco and we loved it.

We rode BART from the airport and lugged our suitcases the remaining mile to our hotel. Even with wheels, our bags were cumbersome. I was glad to ditch them in the hotel and catch the bus to head down to Fisherman's Wharf.

This was the funniest sight... a Segway tour group. They had on bright green vests and rode around town on the Segways--we couldn't stop laughing. No offense to any of you that have been on a Segway tour... or own a Segway, but come on? Is walking really so hard?
iWe didn't go to Alcatraz this trip (we went last time we were in SFO and it was great--we just decided not to spend the time/money going there again) but you can see it in the background of this shot.

We had to take a picture of the seals that hung out by Pier 39. They were quite the performers, but of course all of the pictures aren't too exciting.

I love food (if you haven't noticed already) and we were excited to return to Boudin Sourdough for lunch. I've realized I have a thing about going to the same restaurants when I find one that I like. I usually order the same thing too--we ate there last time and it was top on my list of places to visit this time around.

Ryan got a BLT and I had the sourdough bread bowl with tomato soup. It was so tasty. I think I ate there 3 times in the few days we were there and also brought bread home. My mouth is watering just typing about it. Good stuff!

They made all sorts of things with bread... we thought these animals were cool, until we saw...

...the alligators. Or are they crocodiles? Whatever they are, they were cool. I'd love an oven big enough to bake something like that. I think I might have to extend my kitchen out by several feet to accomodate such luxury.

Staple photo for a tourist, no?

My sister Heather always likes to take a photo of the photographer, so I thought I'd do the same. There were a lot of great things to take pictures of on our trip, so Ryan took advantage of all the opportunities.

Ryan's in front of Ghirardelli Square. For someone who loves chocolate (that would be me) this was heavenly. We were too full from our yummy lunch to eat an ice cream sundae, but we bought some chocolates to take with us.

Then we hopped on the bus again and got off to catch another one--but we ended up walking and walking and walking because we were walking faster than it would have taken to wait for the bus (even though I grumbled all the way) and finally got to Victorian Row. This area is shown a lot on TV and in movies ("Full House" and "So I Married An Axe Murderer" come to mind). There is a big grassy area overlooking the row of houses, so we sat down to take pictures. A couple of minutes later Ryan realized he had put his hand in doggy doo-doo and had gotten it all over his camera. We used lense wipes and water to clean it up the best we could and then went into a grungy corner market bathroom to wash up with soap. Poor Ryan. I couldn't stop laughing though. I'm still laughing.
We didn't have great lighting, but it was still a neat view of the Victorian houses with the city in the background.
We finally found a balloon for Chance--it would have been his 6th birthday. It's been our tradition to let off balloons wherever we are on his birthday. We love you Chance!

The next day we rented a car and drove down the Pacific Coast Highway. Our intent was to go to Monterrey, but we stopped too many times and didn't make it all the way there. One of the beaches that we walked on had this sign, which made me wonder why people wanted to hang out there? It seems to have so many lurking dangers!

I love the ocean--I love the sound and the smell and the way I feel relaxed when I am there. I could have sat down and stayed all day... but we had other places to visit so we went on our way.

We went to the Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz and thought these rock formations were pretty neat (they used to be bridges, but the water has eroded them). Ryan had read about a monarch butterfly preserve in this state park, and it was amazing.

We looked up and were impressed by the butterflies we saw--a few here and there--and as we looked closer we realized that there were hundreds of them clumped together, hanging on the trees. Click on the picture to see if you can spot them. They need specific conditions to survive, and this happened to be an area that they live in from October to February.

All at once all of the butterflies took off and flew across the way. It was amazing, truly a sight to behold.

We stopped at the Santa Cruz boardwalk where Ryan went as a kid (his grandparents lived in San Jose which is an hour or so away). They had a bunch of rides and snack bars--it looked like a great place to spend a day with kids. We'd love to take Liv and Coleman back someday, there were so many things that they would love.

Our next stop was one of the redwood forests. Neither of us had ever seen any redwood trees, and they were amazing and amazingly big.

The bark of redwood trees is fire resistant, so the insides of the trees burn, but the outer structure doesn't. I was squatting inside of a tree that was hollowed out by fire but still very much alive.

This was supposed to be the tallest tree--and it had lost 1/3 of it's height because the top broke off. Can you imagine?

It was so peaceful and calm there. We loved it!

As we were leaving we saw a banana slug--it was listed on our informational pamphlet as being common, but it still surprised me to see it slithering across our path. We spent quite a bit of time photographing him (or her? How do you tell the gender of a slug?).

Interestingly enough, he moved too quickly for Ryan to really set up his equipment and get great photos, but mine didn't turn out too bad.

Maybe you can see the slug in this photo? I wanted to show how big (little) he was. For some reason I was fascinated with him.

On our way back to the city we found a neat lookout point with a beautiful view of a lighthouse--I think it was called Pigeon Point. We stayed awhile taking pictures and met another couple that lived in the area and took photos there all the time.

We had them take a picture of us in front of the sunset. I'm sure between all of us we took hundreds of photos of this sunset.

The next morning I got to go and visit my friend Heidi. We became best friends in 6th grade when my family moved back to Utah--she and her family were always so good to me. We were inseparable through junior high, then my family moved to another part of town and although we spoke to each other occasionaly, we didn't spend a lot of time together. We've stayed in touch through Christmas cards (and now blogs) but we really hadn't seen each other for many years, so I think we were both wondering if we'd still have anything to say to each other. I rode BART out to the suburbs and we had brunch together and spent several hours together. I loved being with her and her boys and I was reminded how wonderful Heidi is--it was so good to reconnect with her!

After visiting with Heidi I rode BART back to the city and headed over to Golden Gate State Park where I checked out the Japanese Tea Gardens. I'd heard this was a "can't miss" attraction... so I didn't miss it, but I was in a bit of a hurry, so I maybe missed the point of the gardens. They seemed to be a great place to sit and meditate and ponder, but I rushed through snapping pictures. I felt like I got my $5 worth :).

I snapped a few pictures and was on my way... I jumped on a city bus (San Francisco has GREAT public transportation) and went to the Golden Gate Bridge.

This bridge is so cool--it's an orangey-red color which I love .

The next day I went shopping for a few hours. I say shopping, but really I went looking... except for H&M most of the stores were way out of my price range. In the middle of the high-end shopping district there is a small retail shop that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I read a book about him earlier this year and have been intrigued by his architecture, so I wanted to make sure I went there.

The inside of the building was really neat--it had a spiral walkway to get to the second floor. The retail shop seemed like a museum with pricey antique jewelry and art.

I always feel like I need a picture of myself with whatever landmark I'm trying to document to prove I was really there. Obviously, I need some work on the self-portrait shots :) but here I am in front of Frank Lloyd Wright's building.

Then I went to the Asian Museum of Art where they had a really neat exhibit from Afghanistan and several other galleries with art from the various parts of Asia.

Here I am inside the museum. See, I really was there! You can tell I followed the "No Flash Photography" rule.

I spent that evening relaxing and going to a movie while Ryan went to the social event for the conference. I used to go to movies by myself a lot--not because I didn't have friends or people to go with, just because it was something I liked to do. I saw "The Secret Life of Bees" and had a great time! I recommend the book over the movie (as usual) but it was fun to watch.

By this time I felt ready to get back to real life and my cute kiddos though--and it was time to head home the next morning.

I had to laugh at the airport--I stocked up on sourdough bread to bring home and headed to my gate. To my surprise, the pilot came out to the agent desk and it was none other than my sister's brother-in-law Bobby, whom I still picture as the 12 year old boy that I met so many years ago. He's grown considerably taller, now goes by Robert, and was an excellent pilot.

It was a very fun getaway for Ryan and me... well, Ryan had to work and go to classes, but it was still very fun to be together and enjoy San Francisco.

**What are your favorite getaways?
**Do you like to reconnect with old friends?
**Want to join me for some soup in a sourdough bread bowl?


Cheri said...

Holy cow...I feel like I'm looking at my own scrapbooks - the boardwalk, Pigeon Point, etc. Very fun! I'm glad you had nice weather when you were here too. I love sourdough, especially from Boudin. Let us know next time you come visit!

Linn said...

Wow! I love all the recent photos. You have such a darling family and it was so fun to see your dad. Please tell him I said hi! And I would LOVE to come in February. Count me in. :) Teaching my seminar is probably my favorite part of being an organizational consultant. Sure wish I were closer. Thanks friend!

Janene said...

wow, you really crammed it all in! We stopped there on our honeymoon, and then again recently just passed through. This sounds like so much fun -- to just be sightseeing with your husband.

In answer to your question, ANY getaway is my favorite right now! :o)

Kristi said...

How fun!! I'm totally jealous. You guys have been quite the travelers lately. I'm proud of you for venturing out on your own while Ryan was at the conference...I am one to just sit and wait in the hotel room. I guess I need to take some lessons from you! :) Glad you had fun!!

Heather said...

Jealousy. Jealousy. Jealousy. Oh I am so jealous. I would so kill for a time out to a new place to explore with my man. Oh the pain of being green. It looks like you guys had a great time. I loved the pictures and now I sit here hungry thinking that some sour dough sounds yum. I miss you. Let's get together soon.

LAURA and ELIZA said...

Lisa! That looks like such a fun trip! I wanna go there sometime for sure. And soup in bread bowl sounds DIVINE!!! I would love to join you!

Heidi said...

Okay, Lisa, I think you did more in that weekend getaway than I have done living here for six months! The next time you come, you could take ME around for a tour!

Anonymous said...

You just blogged about Jerry's favorite vacation. We have gone there several times in the last few years, and it is such a neat place to visit. We are going in February (jerry got Veronica tickets to swan lake for xmas, don't tell veronica).

Next time you go, check out China town, it's kinda neat and our kids loved it.