Thursday, July 02, 2015

San Francisco Day 4: Land's End

One of the joys of Facebook is that you can sometimes find yourself in the same city at the same time of someone completely unexpected.  Such is the case when my cousin Erin called me Monday night.
"You're in San Francisco, so am I!!!"
"No way!"
"Yes, I'm only here for a few more days, but let's get together."
"I leave Thurs."
"No  way, so don't I!"
This was pretty much our conversation, but I had some things I wanted to see, and Erin came over Wed, and we took a Lyft to Land's End.  No the retail store, but the hiking trail.


Caffeine and Lyft, a must in San Francisco.






We started at Eagles Point, we saw a little sign pointing the way and we just started following the trail.  It was amazing to say the least.  The views were breathtaking.  Following the Coastal Trail lead us through gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific ocean.

Erin and I just kept exclaiming, "This is amazing, this is so beautiful!"

And she was really happy to be out and about hiking with me.  I had so much more fun sharing this trail with her.  I should also note here that Erin is a marathoner, I am...most decidedly not.  So without her encouraging me, I might not have made it as far as we did.  But I have no fear of getting close to the edge of cliffs, which I think made her very, very nervous.

I'm a treehugger at heart!

The ocean, sandy, rocky, salty, not too cold, and glorious.  Loved this!  I could have stayed here all day.  There was one sad moment when we saw a sea lion that had beached itself.  Apparently this is a growing problem, and it is a heartbreaking one as so few can be saved.  With warmer waters mothers have to swim longer and farther away to find food.  So the younger pups are left alone and often get lost and confused, and get sick on the bacteria in the algae.  Two other hikers had already called it in, so I really hope the young pup gets help, and it was clearly weak, but still alive.


This is the stone labyrinth, so very very cool as it is right on the edge of a cliff. 
And yes, that is my shoe flying off.  Don't worry, I saved it.
We mountain-goated it up a cliff so I could get this shot. 
We really are at the edge of the world here.
Also note, this was a close to the edge photo moment that freaked Erin out.

We hiked and climbed a lot.  I needed a few more breaks than Erin.
But without taking those breaks we would have missed views like this.  So slow and steady was best.

These are the Sutro Baths, and yes, we climbed all the way down to see them, since we were already so close and all.

  video
More amazing rocks and ocean.  So beautiful.
We went right in the tunnel, the ocean was crashing up against on one side, it was amazing!

  video

Erin loved it.  There are two holes where you can see the waves crash up.


After hiking 4.4 miles, 10,900 steps, 44 flights of stairs, we were ready to relax with some lunch, so we went to Cliff House, had some delicious wine and fish, and celebrated our great surprise day.




We took a Lyft back, and I was ready to call it a day because I was going out to a play later on and frankly was sweaty and tired.  Our Lyft driver was new, chatty, played great tunes, and took us on a tour of San Francisco, and even drove down Lombard street for us, it really is that crooked folks.

The play I went to see was playing at the Strand, a little over a half a mile walk away, so I took my time to get there.  It is a quirky play, told in a series of vignettes with couples, friends, family, all with how information is shared or interpreted.  Very quirky, but I liked it.


The opening screen is a shot of the audience.  Strange, but I liked it.  And the small theater was packed so I think everyone else liked it too.

My last day in San Francisco might have been my best day.  So glad Erin was here, and so glad she had fun too!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

San Francisco Day 3: Golden Gate Bridge, Ferry Building Farmers Market,Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square

ALA is done, and now I have two days to be a tourist.  To start off my morning, I decided to have a bit of a lazy morning, and didn't leave the hotel until after 10 am.  But after two days of rushing around, a slower pace was most welcome.  I took a LYFT to the Golden Gate Bridge Pavillion,  Yes, I could have taken a hop on hop off bus, but their stops didn't match where I wanted to travel, and only the Golden Gate Bus goes to the bridge and not near my hotel, so Lyft it was.  

The Pavillion was finished in 2012, and it's beautiful outside, great views of the bridge, when the fog has burned off.  Fog typically burns off by afternoon, but mornings are quieter.  There are several bike tours that take you over the bridge and back on the pedestrian walkway. I was impressed, some people on those bikes had no business being on a bike, but points for effort.  Other bikers were very experienced, pulling off death-defying turns like a skier in a slalom race, so you do have to keep your wits about you.  Also note, it is windy on the bridge, but not freezing.  It was cool, but since I was walking, I was fine.  Some people were bundled up like they were getting ready to shovel a foot of snow.


There'a a pavillion gift shop full of Golden Gate Bridge items, including these bookends.
 I was tempted, but I don't need them and can't fit them in my suitcase anyway.
The pavillion is lovely with pathways leading to the pedestrian walkway,
you can sort of see there is a bridge behind all that fog.
The fog drifts so you can catch glimpses of the bridge. 
Marian County behind me.  It's about a mile and a half across, so when you cross and go back,
it's over three miles.  A really nice stroll.
It was scarier for me looking up, not down.  All that fog reminded me of the Stephen King movie The Mist,
I admit, I was a bit freaked.  Come to think of it, that movie should have been set here and not in Maine, hmmm.


video


Next I headed down to the Ferry Marketplace Farmers Market. The market was just about over but I got to see the stalls selling all kinds of fruit, jam, honey and more.  Very impressive how many locals come here to do their shopping.

What I really wanted to do was stop by the Hog Island Oyster Company for some oysters and a salad.
They were delicious! Perfect for the mile walk I had before me. 
I made my way down The Embarcadero to Pier 39. Pier 39 is a complete tourist trap, kind of like an overblown Faneuil Hall, but that's fine.  I was in the mood for touristy things.  I do recommend taking a pedicab to the Pier, since the walk was pretty uneventful and it was really warm out, high 70's and very sunny.  

I was going to wait for ice cream when I got to Ghirardelli Square, but I was hungry after that walk,
and really hot, so fresh strawberry ice cream by the water was perfect.

After hitting the shops, I headed down to Fisherman's Wharf, which is just as busy as Pier 39.  One place I had to stop by was this famous bakery.  My friend is an amazing bread maker, I wish she had been here with me!  The shop smelled amazing!

A sourdough bread alligator?  Cool.  They do offer tours and a chance for kids to make their own bread animal.



Down the street there is this little bar which is famous for inventing the Irish Coffee.
 It was packed with people.



Next I went to Ghirardelli Square, very pretty and a lot quieter than the noise, hustle, and bustle of the pier.  Since you can buy their chocolate anywhere, I was not tempted to buy any.  And since I already had ice cream, I didn't want more.

So I had hot chocolate instead.  With whipped cream, it was delicious! 
And since the wind had picked up, there was a bit of a chill, so it was perfect.


The Powell-Hyde Cable Car turn-around is around the corner, but it was out of service, so we had to take a shuttle part of the way.  We had to get off the shuttle and then hop on the crowded car.  Taking the cable car is iconic, but with all those hills it can be a bit of a thrill ride.

All in all my first full day as a tourist was quite packed with lots of walking, exploring, and eating. 
Very San Francisco!

Monday, June 29, 2015

San Francisco ALA 2015, Day 2

This morning I woke up early, just beat the crowd at Starbucks for breakfast (had another gift card) and I made my way over to my first workshop of the day. It was excellent to say the least, I left with tons of ideas, I can't wait to use them.


After the workshop I hit the Exhibit Hall one last time because I had to replace the posters that got ruined by my malicious water bottle yesterday. But then I saw one ARC, then another, and another. Then the publishers were just giving EVERYTHING away.  I mean these are books, free books, but it's not like I am never going to see it published. So I had to calm down.

This is the madness that I refer to when I talk about the Exhibit Hall.

Only the crowds on Monday at noon look more like this. It's crushing.

This is the line to the post office.  Yes I have another box worth of books,
but no way am I getting in this line. Time for creative packing.

There was another line for this author,  Newbery winner, Kwane Alexander!

Claire Lynn Designs makes these fun tees.  A whole booth of 'em!


I had another workshop I wanted to attend, but it was pretty terrible. So after some urging,
I followed a friend's advice and took off exploring. I went down to the Ferry Building Marketplace.

I sat on the dock people watching, then I just had to get some ice cream, with fresh strawberries.
It was delicious. It felt like I was back in London. Hot weather, ice cream, resting in a park.
Yeah, that's what I did in London.



I had read about these fountains and gardens, the Yerba Buena Gardens.
They are peaceful, and there were so many people taking advantage of
this loveliness on this cloudless day.


Notice the rainbow flags behind the waterfall



I'm not sure how many miles I walked today, but it was a lot. 
This is my dinner, after another luxurious hot bubble bath with an Advil chaser and I'm calling it a night.