Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blogging by the Bay

I am back to blogging after spending some much needed time off on vacation. Liturgygeek and I celebrated our 1st anniversary by traveling to the Bay Area. I always enjoy visiting Northern California, and because I spent part of my boyhood in Marin County, I find that visiting the Bay Area is always special.

We spent the first part of our trip in Sonoma so that we could visit Liturgygeek's moms and family. Our big trip during this portion of our vacation was out to Point Reyes. As a boy, my family visited Point Reyes often and my dad liked it so much that he spent a couple of years searching for a Point Reyes lighthouse figurine. Unfortunately we visited on Tuesday and the lighthouse is closed on Tuesday. We did get some nice views of the ocean and the deer that live on the cliffs above the Pacific. Beside the deer, other wildlife that we could see from Point Reyes included some whales. The whales were a little ways off the coast but we could see them blow water when they surfaced.

The famous San Andreas fault runs right through the Point Reyes National Seashore. Even though the fault caused both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, I was not afraid to stand on the active fault line. The blue post I am standing beside marks the fault.

After a great first part of the week in Sonoma, we spent the last part of our trip in the city of San Francisco. I feel a little weird visiting San Francisco. In many ways I remember an idealized version of the city from boyhood, and I have to struggle to accept the reality that the city is great on its own merits and not as some fantasy from my childhood that never existed.

Perhaps it is because we spent a lot of time way from the usual tourist precincts but on this trip I found that I really became entranced by San Francisco. It began to move from the mythological city of my childhood to a city that I as an adult can appreciate and enjoy.

We explored the Mission District and we went down to the farmer's market at the ferry building. It is sad to report but the farmer's market in San Francisco far outclassed any type of market that I have seen in Iowa. We sampled a type of olive oil flavored with truffles that was absolutely fantastic. We have plans to order some to be shipped for us to have in Iowa.

As a cosmopolitan city, there are always major events. The President's Cup golf tournament was played during the week we there. Even though Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson played, we did not see them. Our trip also coincided with fleet week and the sky above San Francisco roared as the Blue Angels thundered above the city. During the fleet week there is an air show and a parade of ships. The picture below shows an SFFD fireboat and a U.S. Navy ship.

No vacation is complete without a ballgame and this year's ballgame was the Atlanta Falcons vs. the San Francisco 49ers. It was not a fun game because the Flacons stomped the Niners 45-10. However, the experience was great. We had a good time with some wild fans and just hanging out. Candlestick Park is starting to show its age but in a league of ultra modern stadiums it is fun to visit an NFL stadium whose claim to fame is the greatness of the team that plays there and not the bells and whistles of the scoreboard.
We stayed at two great places. In Sonoma we stayed at the Jack London Lodge. The rooms had a quaint and rustic feel but they were nice and comfortable. The breakfasts on the patio was nice and the hot tub was very nice. In San Francisco, we stayed at the Cornell Hotel. The Cornell is located at the corner of Powell and Bush; Right on the cable car line. It is a small but comfortable hotel. While we stayed there, it felt like we were staying at an undiscovered gem in the heart of San Francisco.

I like food and we ate out well. We ate at Guy Fieri's restaurant Johnny Garlics. It had the feel of a chain restaurant and was kitchy because it was an outlet for the Fieri empire but the food was good. Liturgygeek has a friend that owns a restaurant in Sonoma called Maya. The pork chop was amazing and one of the most flavorful pieces of meat I have ever eaten. We ate supper twice in the Mission District. The first place was an Indian place called Dosa. I am not a big fan of Indian food but it was very good. The other place is called Foreign Cinema and it was great. It is the type of place that can only be found in San Francisco. The food was fantastic and they play movies on the wall while you eat. Finally, the best breakfast I had was at Brenda's French Soul Food. The had beignets to start and then large servings of New Orleans style breakfasts.

Well, that does for my summary. There was too much we did on the trip to give an adequate summary. Oh well, I guess I will have to make another trip.

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