Tuesday, May 1, 2012

San Francisco

We had a magical four days in the Bay area :)  I had been getting the itch to travel again for a while, but wanted to go somewhere semi-close to avoid a long flight with Olivia, and also somewhere a one-year-old could enjoy too.  When I mentioned San Fran, Jack got excited.  He had been there before and thought it was a perfect fit for what we had in mind. 

I couldn't believe how much extra we had to pack for one little person.  Half of my suitcase contained her clothes, my carry-on was her diaper bag filled with diapers, snacks and busy items, and we also had to bring a carseat, travel stroller, and pack n play. ps. Also, I used to plan my wardrobe so carefully for trips.  When you are focused on a baby though, you plan her outfits and then just throw in some hoodies and jeans for yourself.  Consequently, you look haggard in the photos.  Also, my Nikon has ruined me for all other cameras.  I decided just to take our point and shoot, and so all of our pics look crappy to me. Oh well.

Our trip was a great lesson in perspective and focusing on the good.  First instance: I could have been stressed out that our flight left an hour and twenty minutes late, therefore causing major nap-scheduling conflicts,OR I could just be thankful that people moved around in the plane to allow us an empty seat between us for Olivia, and that Jack was able to stand with her in the back until she fell asleep.

I have heard numerous times that babies have a hard time with the change in altitude, so I nursed Olivia on the ascent to help her ears pop, and she didn't seem to have problems.

Lesson on perspective #2:
When we arrived at the car rental desk the employee informed us that, even though we had reserved (and paid for) a car, he could not rent it to us because we had debit cards instead of credit cards (I've never used a credit card, and Jack hasn't for many years).  For a mom with a tired one-year-old, in a strange town, this could be a major freak out moment.  I'll admit, I was not very nice to Jack at this particular moment.  HOWEVER, after my husband explained our predicament to two other rental counters, Alamo agreed to rent to us.  Kicker: it was a nicer car than we would have gotten at the first place, and cost $50 less. Blessings. Glass is half full once again.

Lesson on perspective #3:
 We got to our hotel, the Westin on Market Street.  It cost $48 a day to PARK AT THE HOTEL WE ARE ALREADY PAYING TO STAY AT!  We managed to find a close lot where parking is a cool $28 a day instead (sweeet :/)  then go to check in.  HOWEVER, They upgraded our room just for asking, and we then had a killer view of the city.  High enough from prying eyes that one of us felt comfortable walking around naked...
Our first night there we rode the cable cars down to Fisherman's Wharf and then back up to the hotel.  Olivia loved the conductor, who was a gruff old fellow.  By the end she had him smiling and talking to her.  I loved the old cars and how people would just hang of the sides of them, sometimes coming so close to being swiped off by a parked car!  I told Jack I was surprised we weren't asked to sign an insurance waiver before boarding.
of course we had to try clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl on the wharf.  It was okay, but nothing compares to Market Street Grill's clam chowder.  Liv liked the bread, Boudin's had it traveling in baskets on rails  connected to the ceiling
Jack and i haven't been much for nightlife since our little peanut was born, but we stayed out later than normal our three nights there and then would go back to our hotel and all take a bath together to wash off the day's dirt, get in our pajamas, then put Olivia to bed in her pack'n'play in the bathroom.  Buba would walk to a nearby restaurant and pick us up food, then he and I would watch Friends on my laptop in bed.  We found an incredible burger place this way
Friday we did my favorite thing, toured Alcatraz.  My favorite thing on any vacation we've had is sure to be the activity or place with the most history.  If there's a creepy or morbid factor added, i'm hooked.  Thanks to the advice of many friends, we booked our tickets ahead of time online so we'd be sure to have a spot.  We took a ferry out the the island, watched part of a documentary (I say part because Olivia didn't find it too interesting) and then walked through the cell house via audio tour.  They had some of the original inmates telling their stories on the recording and it really came alive for me.  I especially liked how they had so many photos of the inmates and what they had been arrested for.
ps. a surprising number of the inmates were there for "kidnapping."  Is this what they delicately referred to pedophilia as back in the day??
 right here it says 'Indians Welcome' because, apparently the Native Americans roosted here for a while when they were kicked off their reservations or something. I didn't really pay attention to that part, I was all about the creepy convicts :D
 the guard tower and burned-out warden's house
Buba channeling his inner Birdman

after Alcatraz we had dinner on and walked around Pier 39

 Lesson on perspective #4
We set out to drive across the bridge to Muir woods.  The main road out to the bridge was closed and so we had to drive an hour out of our way on residential detour roads, got lost, hit heavy traffic, etc.
HOWEVER. . .Our long detour took us past an amazing park that we would not have otherwise known about, and by these cute little houses that I told Jack we had to buy (and the Clar and Tasha had to buy one also, so we could share yards and grow old together)
Also, Olivia was able to take her second nap on the long drive, and Jack and I had a good long talk about everything and nothing.  On the way up, there was an old man selling fresh fruits and nuts out of his pickup and we got some amazing macadamias, cashews, and grapes. 
When we got to the woods, it was insane.  The parking lots were full and there were cars lined up for two miles up to the opening.  My incredibly smart and savvy husband pulled right into the park, walked up to a ranger, and explained that we didn't want to push our baby in her stroller up the narrow busy road for two miles.  The kind ranger agreed, and my husband came back with a Handicapped Parking Certificate in his hand.  We parked within ten feet of the entrance (I'm sorry if this offended or angered anyone.  It really helped though :)  Oh, and the reason it was so busy was it was Nat'l Park Week and entrance was free.  Score again.

Muir woods was incredible.  This was the only time on the trip that I really wished I had my Nikon. The redwoods, winding wooden paths, and crystal clear streams were breathtaking.  I've never seen Olivia be so content to sit in her stroller and look around
This was our bench :) We joked about a scenario where we were somehow separated and then 40 years in the future I finally found my way to our bench and there was my Buba, sitting and waiting for me.  I'd sit beside him and hold his hand and we'd die on our bench together. :) It sounds weird now, but we were laughing pretty hard about how the rangers would find us and call Olivia and tell her we were found on a bench and how she'd roll her eyes.

by the way, on this trip i practiced my new "picture smile" in which I try not to show three inches of gums on top.  I think it is coming along nicely.
On our way back into town we walked on the Golden Gate Bridge and Jack told me all sorts of statistics about the high suicide rate off the bridge.  It was weird.

I have a thing for crumpets, so I was pretty stoked to see this sign in Ghirardelli Square.
I also got Olivia a darling little board book that uses numbers to tell the Pride and Prejudice story. Love.
 At the Ghirardelli shop I got vanilla ice cream with melted peanut butter and dark chocolate fudge.  It was incredible. . .until this weird girl sat at the table next to us and pretty much stripped down to her underwear in an attempt to cool off.  As if this wasn't enough, she then pulled her underwear bottoms to the side to cool off even further. When when we were done with our sundaes, she asked if she could have our leftovers. I said yes because why not.
 Our last stop was the maritime museum.  This photo is not a birth announcement, just a very flowy shirt I got whilst shopping at the huge Forever XXI out there

 The trip turned out to be a smashing success.  Thank you to all of our friends who made suggestions for which sites to see.  We had so much fun exploring a new city, the weather was warm and perfect, and I was happy to see we could do something like this with our little girl.  I know if I had left her at home it could have ruined the trip for me, I'm a little too attached and I think the anxiety would have gotten to me.  She was so fun and I loved seeing her experience new things with us.  I feel like the whole of San Francisco became enamored with her.  We had people stop about every 20 seconds to tell us how beautiful she was and talk to her.  The large Asian population in San Fran was especially taken with her for some reason and about twenty people asked if they could take a photo of her.  She helped us make friends wherever we went.

On the way home Jack asked if I was okay that it wasn't a relaxing, chill vacation like I may have needed and I told him it was exactly what I did need.  Because it gave me a change of pace and scenery, and sometimes you need to get away to remember how much you appreciate home.  Today I made my shopping lists and did our laundry and it felt good to be putting everything back in its place.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...