Friday, July 31, 2009

San Fran-tastic!

We're back from our trip to San Francisco. It was an interesting 6 days and, if you don't count the family squabbling, it was a good getaway. San Francisco is a very neat city, with lots to see and do.

We started our visit on Saturday with a stroll around Union Square, which was where we stayed, and into Chinatown. Unfortunately, I don't have photos because they are on the OnlyChild's camera and she hasn't uploaded them to my computer yet.

On Sunday we went to Alcatraz. Now that is something not to be missed. If you find yourself in SF, you absolutely must go to the Rock. Here I am on the ferry on the way over. It was extremely windy and cold. In fact, the cold temperatures all week surprised me - I had to buy a sweater!

The island.

Can you imagine spending years in a cell like this? (Notice the crochet on the left-hand side... the prisoners taught each other games and crafts to fill the time.)

Alcatraz has the best view of San Francisco.

We took the audio tour, which explained how the prison was organized and shared stories of some of the more famous inmates - Al Capone, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis (a Canadian), the "Birdman". Afterwards, we explored Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf. Very touristy, but lots of fun.

Look at all the sea lions. They were just lazing about at the pier. There were over 300 of them the day we were there!

I met a long-lost relative!

On our last night, we went to Alioto's for dinner. Stacy recommended this restaurant and it was a great choice. I had halibut - it practically melted in my mouth. Alioto's also had probably the best service of any place we went while we were in SF.

On Monday, I dragged a very reluctant Mr. P and OnlyChild to the Mission District. I wanted to go to 826 Valencia. You will understand my fascination with this place if you watch this video.

The front of the building houses a Pirate Store. The back of the building is a writing/tutoring centre. In the course I'm taking right now, one of our assignments involved watching this video. I was so excited to actually get to visit the place. But, alas, I didn't talk to anyone there. It was too busy, I was too shy, and it was lunch time.

We spent the afternoon in the Castro district and in Haight-Ashbury. The Haight district was the hippie epicentre during the Summer of Love (1967 - I wasn't even thought of then!).

This is one of the landmarks - fishnet-stocking clad legs above a very gaudy lingerie store (that mostly caters to cross-dressers, from what I saw).

We had supper at Lori's Diner, a San Francisco institution. There must be 7 or 8 of these restaurants in the city. Very good 'malt shop' type food.

On Tuesday we took the bus to Ferry Plaza for the Farmers' Market. There's also an arts and crafts market there daily. While we were there, an episode of a new television show, Trauma, was being filmed. We weren't even able to get to most of the booths because they were performing a stunt. We did see the stunt, though. Can you believe I didn't take any photos?
On Wednesday, Mr. P and I went to Sausalito. The OnlyChild opted to stay back at the hotel. I think she was getting sick of us at that point (and the feeling was mutual, to be honest; nothing like a sulky teenager on vacation). When we left San Francisco, the fog was so thick. But by the time we docked in Sausalito, the sun was shining in a blue sky.

Sausalito is so beautiful. It's a little upscale community with lots of boutiques and art galleries. We didn't buy anything, but we did enjoy a lovely lunch at a waterside restaurant.
Look at this yacht that was moored just off-shore! It has a helicopter on it, for goodness sake!

Yesterday morning, our last day in SF, the OnlyChild and I went to the SF MoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). We love museums! We went to the MoMA in New York City last summer and were very much looking forward to seeing San Francisco's version. This one was incredible. One of their permanent exhibits is a collection of photographs by Robert Frank. You have to look him up. I was so impressed that I bought a book of his photos!

They also had two limited exhibitions - Richard Alvedon (wonderful photographer also) and a combined exhibit of Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams. I'm not a fan of either of them, but I have to admit it was a clever pairing of the two. It worked.
I took a few photos of art work. Here's a piece by Diego Rivera - "The Flower Carrier". Rivera's work was quite political - not just pretty pictures!

This one is "Kind mit Pudeln" (Child with Poodles) by Katharina Fritsch - 224 poodle sculptures in tight circles around a child lying on a gold star. Of course, there is also a message behind this work.

I took many more, but I don't want to bore you. Besides you should go and see it for yourself!
On the way back to the hotel, I asked the OnlyChild to take a photo of me in Union Square in front of one of the heart sculptures. I wanted you to see my dress, finally. It's a good thing I was wearing leggings... that wind! I would have had a Marilyn Monroe moment!

And then it was time to check out of the hotel (they allowed us to stay until 2:00 pm) and head to the airport. Sad to leave... but good to be heading home! I missed Abby, Derby and Rex, and I missed sleeping in my own bed.
I just want to show you a few of my purchases:
I bought this book at Borders, which was just down the street from our hotel. Book prices in the US are so much cheaper than in Canada. This is A Writer's Paris by Eric Maisel. I also own another one of his, The Creativity Book. Eric Maisel is from San Francisco. I love this book and I'm almost finished reading it already. Needless to say, I go no course work done while I was in SF and even the school books I brought along remained unopened. I read this instead.

We bought a couple of books at Alcatraz, too. Mr. P is fascinated with Al Capone (and gangsters in general - must be a guy thing). The book on the left was written by a woman who lived on Alcatraz as a child. Her father was a guard. She was at the store to do a book signing, so we chatted with her for about 10 minutes and she signed our book. She had some very interesting stories to tell!

I thought this sign would be good for my office at school. You know, to remind the kids why they are there. I think you can click on the picture to read the magnets. These are based on the Alcatraz Rule Book.

When we were at Ferry Plaza, we picked up a few of these pictures from an artist named John Turin. He was actually painting them while we were there. John is originally from New Zealand but now makes his home in SF. I doubt he has a website, but if you're ever in SF, look for him. His watercolour pictures are so sweet.

Of course we bought chocolate from the Ghirardelli store. We also picked up a few souvenir items for gifts. But I think most of our money was spent on food!
It was a fun trip. Thank you to Stacy for all the advice on what to do and where to go. That's one of the beautiful things about blogland - meeting people from all over! Stacy was so much better than the guide book I bought. Oh, and Stacy, I walked right by ImagiKnits and didn't go in. I know, I know... but that was the day I dragged the family blocks and blocks to go to 826 Valencia and I didn't want to push my luck. Next time...
Now, back to reality. I have a huuuuge project due on August 8. Originally the due date said August 5, but I got a message from my professor today saying it should have been listed as the 8th. Thank goodness! I still have a ton of school work to do (for my real job) before the new year begins. And, I want to fit in some sewing.
Busy, busy, busy!


Pat said...

GREAT post. I'm glad the trip was such a success. You were missed by not being in Blogland on a regular basis!!!

Barb said...

Loved going on your trip with you...what wonderful pictures.

Julia said...

What a great trip! My dd and her family are in Montreal this week end fro a wedding.

lani said...

Great trip my baby lives in Oakland and when I go up there it is like being in a different world ..I always call it the land of Oakland and really can never get enough ....great pictures.....

Dogwood said...

I left a post on yur blog earlier today but must have done something wrong! Eek...sometimes computers don't do what I want them to do! Anyway, I was interested in what you saw and what you did while in SF since I live here and always wonder what tourist like to do. You did some really "cool" things and some that I need to check out!!! San Francisco is such a fabulous city and I love living here! Although, I love it in the county too which is where I will be for the next few weeks. Thanks for sharing you great photos! Cory Dogwood

goldenbird said...

Wow, that was an exhilarating post! I enjoyed it so much, and not just because you said my name about five times :-)

It looks like you has lots of fun. I have wanted to go to 826 Valencia for years but have never made it there. I will watch the video a little later. I love the writing of Vendala Vida (who is married to Dave Eggers). Have you read her novel, _And Now You Can Go?_ It's so good. I'm glad you liked Alioto's and Sausalito.

Love the Diego Rivera and John Turin art. I'm a fan of Eric Maisel, too, and have read one of his books on writing and listened to his podcasts.

Wow, I could say a million more things about your trip but will stop here. Welcome home and glad it was an interesting trip.

Thimbleanna said...

Looks like you had a great trip! I love SF -- haven't been there in years and years though. And gosh, you're just a babe if you weren't even thought of in '67!

Jeanneoli said...

I love San Fran also. My husband and I have such sweet memories from that gorgeous city!! Thanks for the book looks amazing (and that cover makes it even more tempting).

Patty said...

Looks like you had a great vacation. Lots of very interesting things! 826 Valencia very interesting!!We teachers always seem to find something to do with our trade where ever we go!

Kasey said...

thanks for the re-cap....
we lived there for 5 years...
oh i miss it.