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2019-PLEASE NOTE: Since Google has stopped Open ID comments, I've been receiving Anonymous comments that don't SEEM like spam. If you DO comment on a post, please don't be disappointed if I don't post it. When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 21, 2013

Here I am - in San Francisco!!

Heather and I flew from Baltimore on Wednesday and arrived at 10:30a.m.but by the time we got off the plane, got all our luggage, picked up the rental car and got ourselves to downtown San Francisco to our hotel, it was about 1:00 p.m. and we both pretty much crashed.  Spending a majority of that time in our hotel gave us enough time to decide we were not impressed with it - and it was a Hilton!  But, it's where we were so that was that.  Thursday morning after the experiences we had had with the food in the hotel, we decided to get outside and see what was around us.  Heather spotted a tiny hole-in-the-wall type place across from the hotel that had a sign saying breakfast and lunch so we decided to give it a try.  It was really great and a fun experience - very, very busy and one of those tiny little kitchen areas behind the counter right as you come in the door.  And I had an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly - one of my favorite treats in the world that I never have anymore because I have banned peanut butter from my kitchen - too tempting!

We then went and set up Heather's vendor area and once that was done it was time to go to the Westfield Mall, a big, beautiful mall where she had made a spa appointment. (NOTE:  This link is worth a visit just to hear the voice and dialog of the video that opens up.  But on a more serious note, it ends beautifully with shots of this dome).  I had thought I would just wander around the mall while she was doing that but I ended up staying in the waiting area of the spa because it was so nice and peaceful.  Afterwards, we ate at a nice little spot in an open area of the mall under a huge dome.  The food was great, it was happy hour which meant a large glass of wine for $5(!!), and we were real pleased with it.
The huge and quite lovely dome - the little white dots everywhere are tiny lights.

This was a Japanese restaurant right across from our little cafe.  I've read and recently saw a video about making noodles by twirling them around in the air and stretching them into long, long ropes of dough and that's exactly what this guy is doing.  Pretty fantastic!  So that was pretty much it for Thursday - we went back to the hotel and rented a movie which turned out to be horrifyingly stupid so rented another one, enjoyed that, and went to bed.

Friday I was on my own and I had spent time Thursday figuring out a trek that would end up with the Golden Gate Bridge.  I walked from the hotel to Union Square (only 2 or 3 blocks) and they were getting the park area all set up for some big marathon so I walked on to the gate into Chinatown - I didn't want to spend time investigating Chinatown itself cause I had a long ways to go yet, but I got a picture of the gate and had a nice visit with a young man who wanted me to take his picture in front of the gate.

I was kind of surprised when I saw the gate.  I've seen the Washington D.C. gate into Chinatown which is pretty impressive and figured San Francisco's would be even more so but, actually, it's I think probably smaller and drabber for want of a better word.  However, I believe SF's Chinatown probably has a much richer history and is more authentic (again for want of a better word).  I read a little of the history of the early migration of Chinese to California and the discrimination against them was painful to learn.  I knew about the interment of Chinese during World War II (a definite smear on our "land of the free" proclamations) but hadn't realized how poorly treated they were as they began immigrating to California.  Women were not allowed to immigrate because they were considered prostitutes, no Chinese could become a naturalized citizen (nor could children born in America to Chinese parents gain citizenship status), they were restricted to the area that is still Chinatown, and so on and so on.  Not good...

My next journey was over to Powell Street where I would catch a cable car and that would take me to the bay area.  Had my first uphill climb here and thought "hmmm....the legs aren't what they used to be."  Reached my destination and after my first two attempts to get on one, learned that you wait at the very corner - not at the cable car stop sign - and when they stop, you go out into the road and board them (they're in the middle of the road).  Although just because they stop, doesn't mean you necessarily can board them.  The first two times I made my attempt, they stopped but I was waved away because they were full.  So I waited there while two more full ones passed me and decided okay, I'm going down to the stop before this one!  Did that, waited through two more full ones, went back down yet another time, waited through two more and finally got on one and was one of those passengers you see hanging on to the side - quite exciting!

These next pictures are just snaps at random as I made my way to the bay area.

On the left, a lovely column that is the focal point of Union Square I think but was surrounded by tents, delivery trucks, etc., for the marathon.

On the right, a beautiful old building that houses a hotel (there's a third bay that I cropped out cause it was slanting inward so much in the photo).  Lovely trim at the top of the building...

On the left - outside an antiques and art gallery type shop - I think they may be bronze although I'm not sure and it's one unit - bench with monkeys.  In the background - a mermaid!

On the right a pretty church tucked in between big office type buildings.  The stained glass windows were beautiful in the morning sun.

On the left - looking down to the cable car stop where I finally got on one.

On the right, my first view of the bay after I got a seat on the car.

And here I will stop for now - we're getting ready to go out for another day of exploring Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  I've discovered that when I have someone to enjoy my travels with, it's much harder to keep up with my blog.  But I'm still glad to have it because I also find that if a couple of days go by without me writing in it, I'm already forgetting things!

Next post will get me to the Golden Gate Bridge.


Jamie said...

wow! As usual I am a little jealous of your adventures! Looks like a lot of fun! Is Heather still there or are you solo? Be careful! Can't wait to hear about the rest.

January said...

So glad you're having fun and having beautiful days for it! xox

Diane Adams said...

Cool Mary Lynn. San Francisco is one of the places in CA that I've always wanted to visit, but have never had a chance to do so.

Chinch said...

If the next post gets you only as far as the Golden Gate Bridge, you'd better be taking lots of notes and/or pics because if I'm figuring correctly this is Friday, so Sat & Sun & now Monday yet to come?!! Sounds wonderful so far and I'll be looking forward to learning about all the rest. xoxo

Christopher said...

Huh---I posted a comment here yesterday, but I don't see it... Anyway; glad you've been able to see a bit of the city, and ride a cable car---something I don't think I got to do on my visits!

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