San Francisco, Day 1

Are you ready for experiencing 5 days in California with me? Okay okay, I was already there and back, but I’m excited to share the fun with you now!

In case you don’t guess by the photos, no, Jameson did not go with us. He stayed with Brian’s parents and had a really fabulous time. He ate really well, saw family at Brian’s cousin’s wedding shower, and terrorized Sasha. Just kidding. But we hear they had a lot of fun, and grandma had to go to bed early after that for nearly a week, she was so tired out!

The flight and jet lag weren’t too bad, aside from whole being up for some 20 hours in a row (maybe not literally, but close with the time change). We stayed at the Hilton in the Fisherman’s Wharf district. It wasn’t a fabulous hotel but decent, but it was free with points, and the location was ideal!

The first place we went was to get food, of course, so we walked a couple blocks (after walking too far one way, we turned around because we realized we had passed it) and stopped at Rogue Ales Public House. Rogue Ales served great burgers. So. Good.

For the record, I did drink a beer here too. When in Rome…! Brian had the Reserve Hop and Russian Imperial Stout, and I had the Trumer Pils

Our next stop was the cable cars. Here’s a tip we figured out after waiting in line for 40 minutes: You don’t have to wait in line. Buy your 1- or 3-day pass, and then walk up a few blocks. The cable cars will stop, and you can get on, though you may be standing on the outside, which is half the fun!

On the other hand, Brian and I got the prime seated spot on the cable car and I got a couple fun photos of myself!

It was pretty cold there right by the water; I was thankful for my hood covering my ears. Most of our time in San Francisco it was in the 50’s, which actually was perfect walking weather!

The cable car went up and down the steep hills of the city, and we rode it all the way to it’s end. Here we are passing Lombard Street; I have pictures of that windy street from better angles when we walked down it a day or so later.

At the end of the cable car line, we were ready to stop at a microbrewery on Brian’s list: 21st Amendment. It was a short hike there (we opted to walk where we could and avoided the bus, sticking with the metro and cable car during our stay).

21st Amendment had a large space. We sipped beers in the loft area. If you haven’t already gathered, there is a lot of eating and drinking on this trip.

Here Brian had the Gigantus IPA, and I had the Saison, which had the most lovely smell. It tasted good too. Brian said that it was one of the best Saison styles he had ever tried.

Here is Brian, looking at a map and scoping out the journey to our next stop, the Painted Ladies.

Contrary to what it may appear, we had a list of things we wanted to do, but no scheduled time frame in which to do them. We also didn’t commit to getting to do everything, because that is the way to make your vacation stressful! Instead, we were flexible with our time, our stops, and had a few key things planned out for our trip:

  1. Alcatraz (we had to book this one, so we scheduled it for the morning)
  2. Painted Ladies
  3. Seeing The Bridge
  4. Seeing Big Trees (Redwoods)
  5. A couple brewery stops (of which we hit all, and then some!)
  6. 2 Wineries we had scheduled (otherwise we just had a list of ones that would be good to stop at)
  7. A couple dinners schedule (not all!)

The key to our stress-free sightseeing vacation was to map everything to see where it was, so that we could make effective, efficient choices about where to go next, with few requirements.

Brian was really, very good about that. And it was the most stress-free sightseeing vacation I’ve ever had. The relatively frequent stops for drinks helped too.

I propped up my camera to take this photo of us by the Painted Ladies on a trash can. No hesitation. It was the perfect height!

Then it was time for another bar stop, of course!

We went to Toronado’s, which is famous for their beer list. Those are dried hops hanging above the list.

If Brian owned a bar, he said, it would be like this. For me, it reminded me of the winery we went to in Ohio, with collections gathering dust. It had such atmosphere.

We stayed awhile. I just looked back at my list, and it appears that Brian had 4 beers. I had one.

Brian started with a Russian River Pliny the Elder, which he has had before but loves; followed by Russian River Damnation, Firestone Walker Pale 31, and Drakes Drakonic. I had a Two Rivers Pomegranate (hard) Cider which was nice and sweet.

We were there long enough to take photos of the awesome bathroom.

Dinner that night was at Bocadillo’s, which we did make reservations for. It’s a smaller restaurant, serving tapas. We were able to stop at the hotel first to freshen up first.

Dinner was excellent; I am developing a fondness for tapas, since you can try so many different things. I’ve now had tapa dishes in Chicago, Vegas and San Francisco, and always been happy to try new dishes.

And for us, since we had been eating and drinking all day, it was perfect to just get a few dishes without overfilling ourselves.

Then we stopped at a fudge and taffy shop Z. Cioccolato‘s, and a pastry shop, for dessert. I had a butterfly cookie like my grandma used to make which I have never seen before in any store. It was a great, late end to our first day in San Francisco.

Up tomorrow: Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Buena Vista Park, Lombard Street, and just a couple more shots of food and drinks!

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