Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Left My Heart in San Francisco (and maybe some other things too!)

What a great city. San Francisco is friendly and beautiful, and sooooo welcome after Utah's very ambivalent spring. Apparently 10 inches of snow fell in Utah while we were gone, downing various branches around the city. Glad I missed the whole thing.

We had a blast and wore ourselves out doing it.

Our first stop was the Jelly Belly Factory. Free tours and jelly bellies, and food shaped like jelly beans. So fun for everyone.

San Francisco's Exploratorium was more cool hands on things than any two hands or 12 hands in our case could ever have time to explore.

China Town was the real deal. We didn't find such great bargains as we'd hoped, but then we didn't have time to dig too far into the non-touristy areas. We had Dim Sum at a authentic little place, and liked most of it.

The most interesting and gripping place we visited was Alcatraz. Touring the prison with old inmates narrating the experience was a little scary at times, but Leah held up. The highlight was meeting Darwin Coon, a prisoner there in the late sixties, who was signing his memoir book. Learning about the escapes, the food and punishment was enough to want to keep us all crime-free.

Pier 39 was very fun and touristy, but by far the highlight was was the sea lions camped out on their own thrones (floating piers) and their antics. They were hilarious to watch. We probably watched them for an hour. They played king of the hill, and the older ones told off the younger ones when they got too rambunctious. Apparently they are there year round since the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.

Oh yeah. There was an aquarium thrown in there as well. Small and doable in less than an hour. Great since our feet were killing us.

The Mechanical Museum was a hit. It was so fun we ran out of cash and nickels. The kids had a blast playing all the turn of the century games (our equivalent would be an arcade of pin ball-type machines). We managed to avoid the peep show girls and the sex-0-meters, but had fun with arm wrestling, horse racing and fortune telling.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was way more than your average theme park in my opinion. This was the activity that I was least looking forward too, but ending up really enjoying. My kids will tell you they rode the best roller coasters, ever. I will say I rode just one of the many there, and that was plenty enough to last a a good long while. Whew! Our favorite family ride was the river rafting, where we all had a wet, wild ride.

Golden Gate Bridge was beautiful. We walked half way across, enjoying the views of everything, occasionally looking straight down to the rocky water below. It was unbelievable when a helicopter flew over the bridge with a big banner. We were so excited to see what the banner said. Another Geiko ad!!!! At the Golden Gate Bridge! Now for sure I will never call to save 15% in 15 minutes, cause they spoiled my maybe one and only experience standing on the bridge.

Watching the San Francisco Giants was amazing. The view of the bay made it hard to concentrate on the game, as our eyes would wander out to a passing ship or sailboat. We hoped someone would hit a home run into the bay, but that only happens 45 times a year, and it wasn't our night.

Whew!! Loved all the family memories. Thanks to Aunt Georgia and Uncle Dave for allowing us to intrude upon them in their home in Walnut Creek for four nights. This is our last trip before Adrienne graduates next month. It was everything we had hoped it would be before she moves on to college.


Suey said...

Fun stuff! It sounds like your trip was everything it was supposed to be. SF is one of the best vacations we've ever had too.

Kirstin said...

I loved reading your memories as it brought back a lot of our own when we took this trip. SF is one of my favorite places on earth, I love that city! What fun!

Cathy said...

Wow, sounds amazing! I'm glad you had an opportunity to get away together to explore and have some fun.