Wednesday, March 6, 2013

San Francisco

Hubby and I needed a little vacation. We were burnt out and pretty much ready to snap. Luckily for us we had some air miles to use so we took full advantage and booked a spontaneous weekend getaway to San Francisco.

Now...I must admit that San Francisco was not our first choice. We were in search of some sunshine and so first looked at flights to Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Phoenix and Las Vegas first.  Luckily for us none of the flight times worked out and so we wound up booking 2 tickets to San Francisco.

During the 3 week wait between booking the tickets and actually departing I checked the weather forecast on a daily basis. And depending on the day, hour, or minute we were either headed into a monsoon or a heatwave.  What to pack?

Also - we booked the trip so last minute that we hadn't even sorted out childcare for our two adorable - yet sometimes difficult - children. Thank god for our amazing family - they all stepped up to help and soon we had a plan in place that everyone was happy with.

Wednesday was departure day - and not just for our flight.  It was also my last day of work.  It was a hectic day full of last minute errands, sad goodbyes and happy anticipation. It was an emotional roller coaster of a day to say the least.

But...at exactly 5:30 hubby and I found ourselves in the US departures area of Vancouver International Airport with no kids.  We reveled in the silence of the nearly empty terminal...such a change from the usual hectic (and loud) life we live.

A few hours later we exited the plane at SFO and prepared to explore this city that everyone told us we were going to fall immediately in love with.  A city whose weather forecast now looked like this:


And wouldn't you know it...they were right. If we didn't have to live in reality...we'd be living in San Francisco.

Our trip - in pictures:

Departing from YVR...

...arriving in SFO.

On the ferry to Alcatraz...

Selfie with the prison in the background.

Non-selfie with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Arriving at Alcatraz dock.
Cell Block D - complete with Solitary cells.

Quick word of advice for you if you go to Alcatraz...make sure you do the audio tour.  It`s just amazing.  Stories told by 4 ex-prisoners and 4 guards.  Fascinating stuff.  I`m still haunted by one inmates story of how he stayed sane while in 24-hour darkness in solitary confinement.  He pulled a button off his shirt, threw it up in the air, spun around 3 times and then tried to find it in the dark.  Over and over and over again he did this. Just to have something to do.

Prison rules...
Making our escape from the island....seriously this city is gorgeous!
Before picture of our shrimp platter at the tourist trap known as Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company...
The after picture. Yum.
Sea Lions. Noisy little buggers...
Our amazing little hotel in Union Square.
It was small but very comfortable..
The building was so old that the floors were slanted and it felt like we were walking downhill when crossing the room.

The last of the lingering morning fog.  It was 6-hour bus tour day!
Side note - we are not usually tour people...we usually just like to make our own itinerary and wander the city.  But given the amount of hills...and the fact we wanted to go over the Golden Gate Bridge and my fear of heights meant we couldnt do that by bike or on foot...a tour seemed like the only option.  And we are so glad we did it. We booked through Dylans Tours. Dylan is a lifelong San Fran resident and his tour took us to all the usual touristy spots but he also showed us the real city.  By the end of the tour we felt like experts. it was totally worth our time and money. 

Up at the highest point of the mountain to take pictures of the city. Breathtaking.


yet another selfie...
Over to the old-growth redwood forest at Muir Woods.  These trees are centuries hold and miles high.
Back in town with the obligatory shot of Fishermans Wharf.
 
Our big dinner splurge at Mortons. Food was amazing but still can`t believe I paid $50 for that meat...and the potatoes were extra!
Last day in San Fran so we stopped to visit my friend that owns a Blo franchise on Union Street.  I`m pretty much hooked now.
Our last meal in the city.  Hubby didnt want to leave the city and it`s Anchor Steam beer.
We had some time to kill back at the hotel before catching our flight...
So hubby got to reunite with his old friend again.

Landed in Vegas at 12:30am with 5 hours before our next flight.
So we hit the Strip of course!
We had a rum and coke at the Paris.
And breakfast at the Bellagio Cafe.
Back to the airport for our 7am flight.
And then back home to this.  It`s all good...

By the end of the trip - especially after those 5 sleepless early monrnig hours in Las Vegas - we were exhausted. Both of us just wanted to go to bed and sleep for hours.

Instead...we took the kids to their swimming lessons.  Ahh...life was back to normal.

Thanks for the fabulous hospitality San Francisco...we will definitely see you again soon.

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