Returning to the City by the Bay -- April 21-24, 2013

I said in my previous April 1st post that Jimmy and I would like to return to San Francisco, and I wasn't kidding. Three weeks after Matt and Jennifer's wedding, we came back to the "City by the Bay."  This time, thanx to a recommendation from Alice and Tom (Jen's parents), we'd arranged to stay in the Marina District's reasonably-priced (by San Francisco standards, anyway) Cow Hollow Motor Inn.  And were very pleased by our choice.

When we looked online for an extended forecast, this week looked sunny, till a few days before we left. Then the weather people starting yammering about rain both Tues and Wed.  Not good.  We debated about changing our mini-vacation till the following week, but decided to let it be.  So?  Tues and Wed were clear, sunny, and outstanding! (ha ha, don't believe everything they say, right?)

But first (one of my favorite phrases), a phone call from my cousin, Judy, shortly before we left, led us to her and husband, Don's, Oakland home in the hills overlooking the city.  Judy and I grew up in different areas of the country and have only seen each other once since we graduated from high school (long ago!), but recently connected via the Internet.  Jimmy and I enjoyed lunch with them, and Judy took us hiking on quiet woodland trails thru second-growth coastal redwoods in Joaquin Miller Park high above the city.  Thanx, you guys!

Judy and me -- wonder if we've changed since the 1960's?

Jimmy and I had "done" many of the tourist-y things, such as riding the cable car, experiencing Pier 39's bellowing, honking, belching seals, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Coit Tower, etc.  This time we wanted to explore other areas, do different things.  And so we did.

April 21st was our 13th wedding anniversary, and I wasn't aimin' to cook!  After checking in, Jimmy and I took off, on foot as usual, heading for a seafood dinner at Fisherman's Wharf.  We took the long way around, (made a wrong turn?) walked along the Bay next to Marina Green, past Fort Mason, and wound up at Scoma's on Pier 47. We did good.  Best seafood dinner I've had in forever.  Don't know that I'd ever eaten swordfish before; tonite's was very yummy.  On the long trek back to Cow Hollow, we walked off those delicious dinners! 

 Alcatraz looks as though it has a pier at its base.  Nope.  It's an optical.

 We listened in on the conversation for a while; it was animated!

 May not look like much from the outside, but the food is excellent.

And the view from inside is nice, too!

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We wanted to spend time on Tuesday (our first full day), at Golden Gate Park -- visit the Arboretum and Japanese Tea Garden, and anything else that took our fancy.  This time we drove!  We managed to make our way along part of Scenic 49-mile drive (wow, truly scenic) in the Presidio area on our way to GGP. Today was sunny, cool and windy.  Jacket weather, as you can see by the photo below.

At Golden Gate Park, our first stop was at the Conservatory of Flowers (mainly because we parked across the street from it).  I took way too many pictures, but it was the kind of intoxicating place that induces a person to point the camera!  

California's first municipal greenhouse, completed in 1879, was patterned after London's Kew Gardens Conservatory, and is chock-a-block full of rare and exotic flowers.  If you're interested, you can go to the link above and learn the names of some of the posies you see in this blog.  We spent a couple of hours poking around, and even joined a docent-led tour.

Click on any picture to enlarge.  This one especially!

I can tell you this flower is called "Voodoo Lily," and it's unfurling and beginning to give off its "signature stench of dead rats."  Bleah, it stunk!

Carnivorous plants were featured during our visit.  They had lots of pitcher plants, etc., displayed.  Fascinating.

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On our way to the Japanese Tea Garden, we walked thru the Rhododendron Dell.

Me and a giant rhodie -- it was just that kind of day!

And into the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.  Originally created as a "Japanese village" exhibit in 1894 for the California Midwinter International Exposition, this is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States!

A proper arched drum bridge.  We both made it up and over! 

 A five-tiered pagoda remaining from the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition.  Wow, almost 100.

 Very beautiful.  Serene.

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As we left the tea garden (oops, we had coffee), we encountered a block of "sprouting" trees near the de Young Museum.

And just then, this red-tailed hawk flew in for a photo op before taking off for higher trees.
I kinda hoped it was after a gopher.

We ran out of time to tour any more museums, and made for the Prius, wandering into yet another fabulous garden.  I could show you photos, but this has already been a very full post.  Just like our day!

We're aiming for the area right near the water.  Wish this picture could demonstrate how steep this street is.  I wouldn't want to walk either up or down.

Since a granola bar was all we ate for lunch, we were hungry, capital H, and after cleaning up, we set out on foot for a nearby Japanese tapas restaurant.  Nope, not to be; it wasn't open YET.  As you can see by the above photo, Amici's is next to our Inn.  We looked, we smelled, we stayed.  Great pizza!

Superb day.  Wait till you see tomorrow!


  1. What a grand day! Best kind!

  2. We had a weekend in SanFran years ago ... loved it ... did the typical tourist things back then ... hope to explore more of what the city has to offer someday.

    (Belated happy anniversary!)


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