The City by the Bay

Trip Start Feb 17, 2013
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, February 17, 2013

Considering myself a California girl who spent 17 of my formative years in Sacramento, spending the day in San Francisco is like going home for me.  I love San Francisco; it is my favorite city in the world.  I love the sea air, the sea breezes, the sea food, the eclectic people who populate this beautiful setting.  Rarely coming to CA via air, this was a treat to see all the familiar sites from the air -- Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake, Folsom Lake, too hazy to see downtown Sacramento, and, especially, seeing the sites of San Francisco -- the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and the recognizable skyline of the City by the Bay.  

We arrived late morning, stashed our bags for an exorbitant fee at the Travel Service Agency in the international terminal of SFO.  We then hopped on BART for the Embarcadero to be tourists in this glorious city.  In its 40 year operation, having opened when I was in high school, this is only the second time I have ridden BART.  It was a novelty 40 years ago, a train going underneath the Bay.  Our first trip was just a couple of years ago when we took our grandson, Anthony, to San Francisco on Amtrak, then took BART under the Bay.  We have a picture of him calling his Dad from under the water!  

Exiting BART at the Embarcadero station, we walked across the plaza near the Hyatt Regency, which again, about 35 years ago was a novelty for its rotating bar.  Buildings have sprung up around the Hyatt so, I presume, the view is not what it used to be.  We happened upon a peaceful protest, protesting the Keystone Pipeline which is supposed to carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and will, according to the protesters, harm the environment.  

Always a goal when in San Francisco, we ventured to Boudin Bakery for clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.  San Francisco has the BEST sourdough bread in the world, hands down.  I could actually taste the clams in the clam chowder, unlike at Salt Lake's Market Street Grill (Patrick) which is known for its clam chowder.  Tom said it was the most expensive bowl of clam chowder we have ever indulged -- about $55 per person, taking into account the $55 for baggage storage, $33 for two round trip BART tickets, and $24 for the clam chowder.  But, there are some things worth splurging on!

We then wandered over to Ghirardelli Square (hard G, not soft) for a piece of world famous chocolate.  One store was handing out free samples of caramel filled chocolate pieces and that was enough for us -- very sweet, very rich, and very yummy.  Besides, if we'd bought a box to take with us, it will melt in the humidity of Southeast Asia.  

On the way over to Ghirardelli Square, we passed a bar that was playing live Dixie Land Jazz music, so we went back to have a drink and to drink in the atmosphere.  Happy Hour on Sunday! We do live in a different world in Utah.  The band was great, all about our age, all dressed in suits, and looked and sounded professional.  After enjoying our drink, we took an old-fashioned trolley (not the San Francisco cable cars) back to the Embarcadero BART station to return to the airport where we waited until 8 p.m. to check in for our China Airline flight to Taipei.

 Now, here's Tom . . . 

For those following our footsteps or following IN our footsteps, the Airport Travel Agency is in the International Terminal before security.  Easy to find if you ask.  They will store your bags if you choose to head off to "The City" for the day.  If you have more than two bags, consider renting a cheap hotel room, it will be cheaper!  But there is a shower concession next door if you have an athletic day downtown.  SFO still stocks a wide collection of characters that are escapees of the 60's.  And, when in between the latest Obama campaign, still protest whatever.  Yesterday it was a pipeline bringing American crude oil from North Dakota to the American refineries on the Gulf to replace the terrorist supporting nation's oil that the refineries presently use.  Go figure, but a fun show anyway.  Then we were off to the wharf area overrun by locals and day tourists enjoying the sunny day and the opportunity to burn their fossil fuel driven cars to get there. Some things can't be explained.  But don't try to explain "the city."  Some days Utah politics make more sense...which is scary!



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