Ready for part two? Just a few more photos, I promise. It's nice to have them to bring back fond memories of my time in San Francisco. This is the Bay side of the city. It was pretty brisk there--around 55-60F (12.7-15.5C) while I was there, which is about ten degrees cooler than normal according to the weather forecast. Most days were pretty sunny, but a couple were foggy and overcast (some days clearing in the afternoon and some days not). The view is from Fisherman's Wharf looking out at the Bay Bridge. I could never tire of a view like this! (You can click on the photos to enlarge them for a better look).
Outside the city, however, it was sunny and warm--around 80F (26.6C). We spent a day in Napa Valley visiting four different wineries. This is the V. Sattui Winery. It is very beautiful in the valley, but again my photos don't do the view justice. V. Sattui, by the way, had the most delicious deli!
There were acres and acres of grapes growing all over the valley. It was interesting learning about how wine is made and the differences between the varieties. The drive up was beautiful and felt very European at times!
Muir Woods was really amazing. It was another highlight of my time in California. I have always wanted to see the Redwoods, and while there are even larger and older trees than these, I found Muir to be pretty spectacular.
We didn't have a car, so we went on a small tour with a Sierra guide, Tom Martell. He only takes six people into the park at a time. We arrived early, just as the park was opening and well in advance of the crowds. We went on a hike through part of the park, off the beaten track by the way, that lasted nearly three hours. It was a great experience. We saw very few tourists as we were walking through the forest. It was only at the end when we got back on the main trails that the crowds began to materialize. It was a really great experience--such peacefulness there.
And then back to the hustle and bustle of the city. I loved Chinatown, which is such a unique and busy place. We ate dim sum, which was a new experience for me (and a tasty one, too). Have you had it before? Waitresses push around these carts of bite-sized portions of traditional Chinese food. You point to the things you want to try. I'm not entirely sure what I ate, but one of my favorites was red bean paste sesame balls.
Of course we had to check out the famous Painted Ladies. They sit right across from a lovely little park. Imagine living in one of those!
We did a little window shopping in the downtown area around Union Square, where they seemed to have every store imaginable (including Ghirardelli--had to bring back chocolates for my coworkers...and maybe save back a square or two of chocolate for myself).
Our last night was spent at Alcatraz, where there is yet another stunning view of the San Francisco skyline. It's an interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't want to be left on the Island alone at night! The birds that live there (do you see the little guy sitting on the wall?) are all protected as this is a bird sanctuary--they greeted us loudly as we disembarked from the ferry.
All in all this was a great vacation. I saw and did lots. Ate lots of great meals, and visited some very cool places (and I didn't even get around to telling you about the museums!). I can't wait to go back. For my next trip, however, I'm thinking of traveling to the east coast for something a little different. Now it's back to saving.
And tomorrow it's back to the books! Thanks for letting me share my vacation--it's nice to let it linger in mind for a while.