Thursday, September 13, 2007

The rest of the San Francisco Adventure

I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I flew to San Francisco.
Below is a quick recap of the rest of my vacation (Days 1 and 2 are in the earlier blogs)

The rest of Sunday, September 1st, 2007

  • After a gorgeous hike from Lands End to the tip of the Golden Gate park, I had drinks and dinner with Laura and her friends at the Beach Chalet. It was such a cute place: they had sitting on the lawn where you could get BBQ, but we did not know that so we had fancy food instead :)
  • Laura then drove us to one of the most gorgeous structures I have ever seen: The Palace of Fine Arts. The sun was setting and the views were truly beautiful. There were people taking engagement pictures, just walking around, etc. And the houses surrounding The Palace of Fine Arts were incredible (I can't even imagine how much they must have cost!)
  • We then drove to Ghirardelli Square for some dessert. It was great to just sit for a bit, enjoy the sweets and chat.
  • We then parted as I opted to take a Cable Car back to my hotel: I really wanted to make sure I got as much use out of my 7 day pass as possible.
  • This was such a great day! I am so thankful Anna knew Laura and that Laura agreed to be my guide for the day.

Monday, September 3, 2007

  • The day started pretty early for me as I woke up at at 6:30 am and went to breakfast at Sears Fine Foods (recommended by several travel books and website searches). This was my first real breakfast during this vacation and I quite enjoyed it. The decor was really fun: they had old appliances on shelves, many photographs and old magazine covers (as I'm writing this, part of me wonders if I'm just totally making this up).
  • After breakfast I went to the Ferry Building where I was to meet with my tour group to go to Napa Valley wineries. I decided to book this tour in order to get out of the city for a bit and because everyone has said how gorgeous the country side will be...and of course, I do like wine.
  • The tour was mostly fun (other than the fact that pretty much everyone other than me and some older woman was a couple). We visited 4 wineries, 3 of which were absolutely gorgeous! I've tasted wine at 3 of them and ended up buying dark chocolate w/cherries in the last one (right, a dessert: not wine :)). On the way to Napa Valley we drove over the Golden Gate bridge: super fun! And on the way back to the City we took a ferry. The wind was enormous, but it was fun seeing the City from another view point.
  • Sadness: my camera battery began dying at the last winery (because I'm a dork and don't want to charge it daily), and I had to be super conservative in taking the pictures (which I'm sure some of you who have received my photo album are very grateful for).
  • After the wine tour I took yet another Cable Car to Lombard Street. I walked down and up this one block that has 8 turns. I was amazed how well the drivers could maneuver such twists and turns.
  • Then I treated myself to a slice of pizza at Pizza Art (see my previous blog about it) and headed back to the hotel.
  • I don't know why I haven't realized that sightseeing would be so exhausting and that I would not be able to be up and doing things from 7 in the morning till 10 at night. I was truly exhausted, so ended up sitting at the hotel for a bit and watching a few shows on my computer (alas, the hotel did not have any of the TV channels I was looking forward to watching: Food TV, TLC, Bravo, etc).
  • I then took myself out to dinner at Osha Thai Noodle Cafe which was conveniently located just a few blocks from my hotel. I had a spicy coconut chicken soup, which came in a huge bowl and was really well flavored. It was exactly what the doctor ordered after a long day. I ate my soup, wrote out postcards, and enjoyed people watching. The clientele was rather mixed: Thai students, tourists, and couples on dates.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

  • I got super lucky (doesn't happen often) because 1st Tuesday of the month is a special day in San Francisco: all museums are free. And I LOVE museums (and museum stores). But first, there was a farmers' market to visit! (see my earlier blog about farmers' market in San Francisco).
  • The farmers' market at the Ferry Building was like a kaleidoscope of colors and smells: I treated myself to a basket of fresh raspberries and then bought an almond croissant at the Acme Bread company and an iced tea at Peets Coffee shop. It was so relaxing to enjoy breakfast sitting out by the water and feeling a bit of a breeze (I know, SUPER cheesy).
  • My first stop on the museum tour was SF MOMA. I love modern art and luckily because of my research got to the museum just in time for a tour. The tour guide was fabulous, and it's always nice to learn bits and pieces about different art installations. I particularly liked Martin Munkacsi photography exhibit and Picturing Modernity exhibit .
  • After a quick stroll through the museum store and realizing that I was totally running out of time (had planned to do quite a lot!) I walked through Yerba Bueno park which was so pretty! There was a very peaceful and powerful MLK fountain, tons of flowers, great views of the Down Town skyline and people sitting on a lawn eating lunch.
  • After Yerba Bueno, it took me a while to figure out which MUNI bus to take to the Golden Gate Park, but I was finally able to receive the necessary information from a very helpful bus driver.
  • When I got to my destination, I decided it was time to refuel and went in search of a falafel place Laura mentioned she really liked. I did not have the name--only street intersection, but was able to find it! And I'm so glad I did. The food at Taboun was delicious: I had a falafel rolled up in a grilled bread (sort of like a tortilla) with Israeli salad, hummus, tahini, eggplant and potatoes. I could not even eat the whole thing at one sitting and took half of it for a snack for later. And the service was super nice too! Thanks Laura for a great suggestion.
  • My second and final museum of the day (I really don't know how I thought I could do more) was the relatively new de Young museum located right in the Golden Gate Park ). I had less than an hour to walk through the museum but really enjoyed it, especially the Nancy Kempner exhibit. This woman was super passionate about fashion and had the top designers in the world supply her with dresses, shoes and jewelry. I was really saddened that I could not take pictures of her outfits on display. But I did learn a few interesting things: turns out Oscar De La Renta was born in Dominican Republic and Yves Saint Laurent was born in Algeria...really interesting.
  • de Young museum also had a few blown glass pieces by Chihulli (I saw his installation for the first time in Israel seven years ago and loved it) and my favorite Georgia O'Keeffe. There was a beautiful sculpture garden outside with one of them being a giant safety pin (it looked exactly like the one Anna and I saw in New Orleans) and there was a "group" of apple sculptures: super whimsical. Oh, the museum also had a 360 degree view from it's tower: hard to even describe! [the museum reminded me of the museum of art in Atlanta...wonder if they just all look alike after a while]
  • At the museum store I bought a pretty pair of earrings (see earlier blog)
  • I then strolled through Japanese garden and Botanical garden and took a bus to Buena Vista Park (a hill with great views of the City). It was quite a hike to get to the top, but well worth it. I was completely out of breath but the views were beautiful! and Free! What else could you ask for? (maybe a bench).
  • For dinner I took one of the MUNI buses to a new (to me) neighborhood: Mission District and dined at one of it's famous taquerias: La Taqueria. I had a burrito and it was really good, but I still love Chipotle :)
  • I was contemplating going salsa dancing (took my salsa shoes with me just in case) but the place I was planning to go wasn't picking up the phone, so instead I just listened to El Cantante CD on my MP3 Player (such a great gift idea, Anna!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

  • This was my last day (actually half a day) in San Francisco and there were still a few things on my list that I needed to see.
  • The first was Tartine Bakery highly recommended by Cheryl. THANK YOU!!!! This was an adorable and buzzing place and I treated myself to freshly squeezed organic orange juice and pain au chocolat, which was served warm with the chocolate inside completely oozing: delicious!
  • I then walked around and admired the Mission Dolores a truly beautiful structure. (It was sort of funny and ironic that across the street from the Mission was a Sha'ar Zahav congregation: all that was missing was a mosque.)
  • Before heading back to the hotel to pick up my bags and start my journey back to DC, I stopped by yet another farmers' market at the United Nations Plaza, which is located at the Civic Center. I was so sad I could not take all that produce with me (I packed way too many shoes!!!!). But I did buy a small basket of cherry tomatoes! (see my earlier blog)
  • I also walked quickly through a museum store of the Asian Museum of Art located nearby and was able to see the beautiful City Hall.
  • My very last stop was Xanadu Gallery, located at Union Square, just a few blocks from my hotel. It's the only Frank Lloyd Wright building in San Francisco and I'm really glad I saw it: it was almost a much smaller version of Guggenheim.

And that's all kids! I hope you enjoyed reading my recap. I had the most fabulous time on my trip and will definitely go back!


Anonymous said...

Wow.. too much to comment on. Did you notice the "crack" running through the court yard to the DeYoung?

I visit there fairly often, and it is just recently that I noticed it as being "odd". So I feel kind of dumb about it. My friend pointed out that it was indeed an Andy Goldsworthy piece.

Also be sure to visit again next time you come back. I hope you have pictures. The museum was recently renovated, the tower you visited is new. The clad skin to the building is copper, so in time we will have our only little Statue of Liberty.

Anonymous said...

More Random facts.. did you notice that at the Palace of Fine Arts, the figures of Women face in to the Doom while the Men face out?