San Francisco!

Last Friday, Chad and I left for San Francisco for a short 4 day getaway. A short, but much needed vacation! (And now a long, but delayed post about it!)

We were able to use miles to get out there, but flew into San Jose as it had better times and we were able to get out there for less miles. Plus San Jose airport is only 20 miles from the San Fran airport. So Friday night we landed in San Jose around 7:30 pm (PST), collected our luggage, and our rental car (a Jeep Liberty) and headed to our hotel. (Homewood Suites, I used my Hilton points) The couple miles to the hotel was actually pretty interesting as we were in Silicon Valley. We drove right by Ebay and Acer and several other large technology companies. Interesting for a couple of technology “geeks” like Chad and I. After dinner we called it an early night.

Saturday was a beautiful day. We got up enjoyed breakfast and then headed to San Francisco. Chad was navigating and realized that Palo Alto was right on the way, so we got off the highway to drive through Stanford. It was a beautiful campus. Chad kept reminding me that people walking through the campus were most likely much smarter than I am.

After our quick tour, we headed to San Francisco. We were able to check into our hotel room early and get situated. We stayed at the Intercontinental in the Nob Hill area. Very swanky and nice. Chad was in charge of hotel accomodations. He did a nice job.

from-trolley.jpgOur hotel also included 2 3-day passes on the cable cars. We took advantage right away and hopped a cable car down to the fishermans-wharf.jpgFisherman’s wharf. Our first cable car ride, required a push of a big truck as it got stuck on the hill. Exciting, but while we were stuck, I took this picture from the back. Once down at Fisherman’s wharf we walked around. It has a lot of touristy things, but also great little places to eat and cute shops. And a LOT of seagul.jpgpeople! And a LOT of pigeons and seagulls… YUK. We walked out by the bay to get a view of Alcatraz. It was a beautiful, but windy day. Hard to believe that prisoners would try and swim that distance. We returned on a cable car too. But it was full, and I didn’t enjoy hanging out the side too much going up those big hills so we got off in Chinatown and walked back to the hotel. But I’m not sure if I disliked hanging off the car on those hills or walking up those hills more.

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On Saturday night we headed to Oakland for a Golden State Warriors game. They were playing the Detroit Pistons. The game was a blowout so it wasn’t real interesting. Golden State was up by 30 at the end of the 3rd period, so Chad and I left to beat traffic and get a good night’s sleep. The basketball coliseum is next to the Raider’s football stadium and they share parking lots. When we were leaving at 9:30 pm on Saturday, we noticed there were probably already 10 cars of Raider’s fans in line to get into the parking lot for Sunday’s game (and tailgating). And they say Packer fans are crazy!!!

Sunday morning we were up early again. Ate breakfast and headed to the bar at about 9:40 AM! It sounds obnoxious, but the early football game is on at 10 and the Packers were playing the Vikings! Chad had scouted out places to watch the game and found a place called Zeke’s by googling for “Packer bar”. I had suggested he search for a Vikings bar, but even Chad is realistic enough to know that the odds of finding a Vikings bar weren’t good. The bar had every game on, but on one end we found Packer fans! Several of them. Several WI transplants that are there every Sunday. Chad was the lone Vikings fan of the bunch. I was just glad to have people to celebrate a great win with. Chad did enjoy himself though, because at the other end of the bar were Browns fans watching the Browns/Atlanta game. And every other game was on a TV also.

After the game, we headed over to Golden Gate Park to see the Japanese Tea Gardens as my friend Elsie suggested. They were beautiful! It’s just a beautiful well kept area of the park. Admission was very inexpensive and just peaceful. We didn’t go much beyond the Japanese Tea Gardens, because my lower back was bothering from all the walking, but the park is huge, and has a lot of different areas to explore.

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tea-garden-2.jpg tea-garden-3.jpg

haight-ashbury.jpgAfter the park, we decided to drive through the Haight-Ashbury area. Chad wanted to see the place where the Grateful Dead originated and have his picture taken by the street signs. Without being able to find a parking spot, he hopped out of the car and I drove around the block several times while he found someone to take his picture. Once Chad’s goal of a picture was accomplished, we headed back to the hotel.

At the hotel, we inquired about a nice Italian restaurant in the North Shore/Little Italy area. The concierge made us reservations at a very quaint restaurant called Trattoria Contadina. It was an excellent suggestion. Just what we wanted to. It was one of those restaurants where the tables are so close to each other. We ended up talking to the couple at the table next to us. They were in the city celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They had come to San Francisco for their honeymoon 50 years ago from southern California. They had 5 days and $75 then. They were a great couple and just kind of made our night.

us.jpgMonday we headed out over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was drizzling, but luckily not foggy, so we were able to see the bridge well, and see the city from the other side of the bay. We then headed into the small, but beautiful town of Sausalito. It was a very fun town. Lots of little shops and boutiques. It was raining by then and we didn’t have a ton of time, but I could probably spend a couple days just wondering up the streets and checking out the shops.

After about an hour in Sausalito, we headed to Fairfield, CA. We drove through a bit of wine country, but didn’t see any big wineries, but still it was beautiful and felt flat after being in San Francisco! We met my aunt and uncle in Fairfield. They had driven down from Sacramento to meet us. We had a very nice lunch with them and caught up. It was great seeing them. And luckily we even picked the best day to drive out as sight seeing in the rain would not have been that much fun. We were planning on stopping in Berkeley on the way back to check out the campus, but with the rain and traffic we decided a nap was a much better idea! After a quick nap, we walked a few blocks from our hotel to check out some shopping. We checked out Macy’s and Crate & Barrel before finding an Irish Pub for dinner. After dinner, we grabbed a trolley (neither crooked-street.jpgof us wanted to walk up the hill, down was hard enough). The trolley was empty as it was still raining a bit, so we got to chat it up with the conductor a little. He was a Packer fan, so he ribbed Chad a little and I got a high-five!

Monday morning, after checking out, but before heading to the airport, we decided we needed to check out the Crooked Street – Lombard is the crookedest street in America. It was pretty cool. We drove down it and were amazed that people live on the street and even park their car on this street.

We then had to end our vacation and get back to the airport to catch our flight. We had an uneventful (but delayed) flight, and neither of us thought much of the San Jose airport, but it was a good vacation and much needed time away!

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