Sunday, September 25, 2011

Learning about Nor Cal Part 3- San Francisco

The City by the Bay has been a place we have wanted to visit for a while now and this visit lived up to and beyond our expectations!
View from the car driving up from Napa- the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty impressive!

Monday, August 12th- Today we did not have scheduled plans so we designated today for taking it all in! We spent the day strolling around this beautiful city.  One of our first stops was at the famous Boudin Bakery known for it's sourdough bread!  This facility houses a tour-able factory, cafe, restaurant, and gift store. We also stopped by the touristy Pier 39 known for harboring hundreds of sea lions!  Check it out!
Outside there is a giant viewing window where people passing by can watch the bread makers craft masterpieces and take in the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread via vents that blow out warm, scented steam from the factory!

I've never seen this before- loaves of bread shaped like animals!  We actually shipped the crab seen in this picture to my sister in law as a thank-you for taking care of our dog Brooklyn while we were gone.

So the day started with food and ended with food with dinner at The Franciscan Crab Restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf (pier 43 1/2).  If you are a seafood lover like myself (if it's from the sea, it's for me- is one of my favorite sayings), then this place is for you.  Even my husband who wouldn't touch anything from the ocean with a ten foot pole, fell in love with The Franciscan's famous dungenous crab.  The crab arrived at our table basted in succulent butter and covered in secret spices (not Old Bay seasoning, but very similar).  This is the type of place where everyone is wearing a bib and wet naps are served with the bill!  I also had crab alfredo which was also crab-tastic!

We stayed at the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf and ended our day with a nice swim in their rooftop heated pool.  Check out Baby A :)  

Tuesday, August 13th- This was an exciting day because we had made reservations to visit Alcatraz.  It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time.  What I was really impressed with was the audio self guided tour which lasted 45 minutes and kept my attention (something that I lack when at museums) the entire time.  Baby A was strapped to the front of me and she was even well behaved!  Check it out!
Top Pic: The view of the island from the ferry. Bottom Pic: The teacher in me took this photo- lifelong readers made from jail time!  
Locked Up, lol!
This is the view of San Fran from outside of the prison- so beautiful!
When we got back from Alcatraz, we enjoyed more time walking around this beautiful city.  Highlights include stopping at Ghirardelli Square where I enjoyed an AMAZING ice cream sundae at their ice-cream and chocolate shop and got to view how they make their chocolate, trying west coast oysters (which are so much smaller than those on the east coast), taking a drive down Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the U.S.), watching electric cars and trolleys travel down the road without stinky street pollution and simply taking it all in!  Here are a couple more photos:
Such a pretty picture of the water and the bridge. 
My favorite picture from the entire trip!  The views from this restaurant were similar to the picture above- however there were people swimming laps in the water, some in wet suites and some not- cold, yikes!

What I learned about San Francisco:
*  We got lucky with the fog burning off pretty early in the morning, but people do not realize how chilly it is here and many tourists were seen wearing San Fran novelty sweatshirts and jackets because I'm sure they were not prepared.
*  San Fran is rated the #1 "Smart Places to Settle Down" according to Parents Magazine (October 2011)- this is def. a family friendly city and I can totally picture my family settling down here some day!
*  Not one restaurant served Rice-a-Roni-is it really"The San Francisco Treat"???
*  The trolleys are overrated, yet people wait hours to ride one.
*  Sadly, there are a lot of homeless people on the streets due to the stable (not to cold, not to warm- all year round) weather the city has to offer.

This was such an AMAZING experience to visit these parts of Northern California- San Francisco was the perfect spot to end our trip.

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