Mar 29, 2010

San Francisco

Over spring break this year, we went to San Francisco.  My husband has been there before, and has friends living there so he was pretty familiar with the city.  I'd been there once for a conference, and had, like, half a day to see the city.  So, basically, I hadn't seen anything. 
The boys knew of San Francisco because of a book in the Magic Tree House series (big surprise) called Earthquake in the Early Morning.  It's about the big earthquake that hit San Francisco and caused a fire the destroyed most of the city.  Fortunately, the boys forgot about the earthquake and fire disaster, and were just excited to be going to a place where Jack and Annie had gone.  In fact, Oldest wanted to start packing two weeks before we were supposed to leave.  :)
Our first day there, we just walked around a bit.  The hills are amazing, and the boys were fascinated with how such steep hills could be in a city (Chicago is flatter than a pancake).  They quickly got used to that, though, and moved on to oggling the cable cars.  We rode our first cable car on the second day of the trip, which the boys thought was cooler than cool.  :)
We took a helicopter tour over the city, which blew everyone's minds away!  Seeing the city from so high up was just plain amazing, and DH got some great pictures.  We saw the downtown skyline with the bay bridge in the background, Candlestick Park baseball field, Golden Gate Park, the 'crooked' part of Lombard street, and a bunch of other stuff.

We ate some really, really good food, too.  My absolute favorite was breakfast at Dotties True Blue cafe, this tiny place with maybe ten tables and a line stretching down the block.  And, I had the best sushi I've ever tasted at Sebo, which Anthony Bourdain has visited and raved about.  The chef was preparing sushi where everyone could see, and Youngest loved watching him.  Before long, he was asking the chef questions about what he was doing, and what kinds of fish he was preparing.  The chef got a big kick out of it, and even offered him a piece of blue-fin tuna.  And Youngest tried it!  He didn't like it, but that didn't stop him from watching, and asking even more questions.  He was sad when it was time to leave.

Of course, we saw the Golden Gate bridge.  A few times.  And we spent an afternoon at the beach, staring right at it.  It was too cold to go in the water, but the boys kept busy playing in the sand and hunting the beach for interesting rocks.  By the end of the day, they had a huge pile of them.  And, of course, they wanted to bring them all home.  I explained that the airplane wouldn't let them take so many rocks on board because they were too heavy, and they grumbled.  But then they picked out two rocks each, and that's what we brought home.

We took the ferry to Alcatraz, too.  The kids were excited about the boat ride, but once they saw the jail house they weren't so excited.  Oldest was particularly affected when he saw that the prisoners could only visit their families through a window, and couldn't give their moms hugs.  He immediately hugged me, and said he wanted to go.  :)  We walked around the island, and I was surprised at the amount of birds and vegetation that has taken over much of it. 
On our last day, we took a drive up the coast of California and visited Muir Woods, and then a lighthouse at Point Reyes.  The trees at Muir Woods were amazingly tall and beautiful, and I loved the clover that was growing everywhere.  We never got out to the lighthouse, though, because it was insanely windy out.  Youngest freaked out after we'd walked five feet, so he and I headed back to the car while Oldest and DH took the path to the lighthouse.  They made it halfway before Oldest got scared and wanted to turn back. 

We also visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.  The kids didn't to go, but when we got there they didn't want to leave until they'd explored every square inch of the place.  We had tea in the tea house, too, which was super yummy. 

Overall, we had a great time.  We saw lots of cool stuff, but there was still much we didn't see, so I think we'll just have to go back sometime.  :)

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