Tuesday, April 19, 2011

California Dreamin', Part 2

Day 3

After our very busy day before, we were excited to take it "easy" today.  First stop:  Walgreens.  Yes, we needed to make a very important purchase-- sunscreen and chapstick.  Forgetting that you can still get sunburned in freezing cold, windy weather, we were now sporting what I like to call the, "red raccoon" look, or the "look at those tourists who don't know any better" look.  It was not very flattering.  Since we knew the majority of today would be spent outside, we lathered on the sunscreen.

On the way to our tour, we walked through fisherman's warf.  Seafood EVERYWHERE!

Although I had a to-do list in my head, we did not have much planned for Day 3 except bus tours.  Which, as I said before, are very exciting.  So after coating our skin, we hopped on another bus tour of the city.  We learned a lot of history during this tour.
This is a very fancy Gentlemen's club.  They were on every corner.
You may not be able to tell from this pic, but the hills were so steep, you felt like you were about to drive off a cliff.
We learned on our tour that San Fran is the NY of the West Coast.  This was their version of Central Park, and it's actually larger than Central Park.

For instance, have you ever heard of the famous 1906 earthquake in San Francisco?  This earthquake, causing 3,000 deaths, destroyed most of the city because of a fire that erupted.  Our tour guide referred to this disaster as the "shake and bake."  They ended up having to blow up several buildings to stop the fire.  Most of the beautiful mansions in Nob Hill were destroyed by either the quake or the dynamite.  It really shaped San Fran into what it is today.  In fact, part of San Fran was built on a landfill, partly created from the rubble from this quake.  Interesting, huh.

 downtown San Francisco
 All those buildings are post earthquake except for the brown one in the middle.
 more painted ladies.
 We saw the Full House houses again!

Nic spotted the Seminole fan.
Lombard Street.  The crookedest street in the world.
 Lombard was designed because the hill was originally too steep for vehicles to drive up.

 Our bus tour ended right outside of Ghiradelli Square.  It was definitely a sign for us to stop by and enjoy a treat.

Anyway, after we rode a couple more bus tours, we decided to "try" to walk around the city.  We explored downtown and did a little shopping.  And then went over to Chinatown for more shopping and for dinner.  Our dinner was very good, and from what I could tell (the people next to us were eating octopus) it seemed pretty authentic.

Day 4

This was another highlight to our vaca.  Today we were going to explore the redwood forest and do a little wine tasting in Sanoma valley.

Muir Woods National Park is home to the beautiful redwood trees.  We were awestruck as we ventured through the boardwalk.  These trees were hugemongous!!!  Everyone needs to see these trees.  It really felt like we were in a different world.  Speaking of, we learned that George Lucas filmed part of his movie Star Wars in Muir Woods.  Pretty cool.  We also learned that redwoods are poisonous to termites (I'm thinking my parents should have built their house out of redwood).

On to the wine tasting.  Our first stop was Williamson Winery.  This quickly became our favorite winery.  One reason was that they paired every wine with a food.  They were all delicious, and that must mean it's pretty good considering I am no wine connoisseur.  It was also pretty neat because the owner of the winery actually gave us our tasting.  He made each wine sound so extravagant... his australian accent probably helped.  :)  We then went on to George Thomas Winery which was on down the road.  Nic and I were both thinking, "how in the world are we going to drink more wine?"  We were all wined out, but luckily we stopped for lunch in between and spaced all the wine stops out.  haha.  At this winery we were able to see all the neat equipment that goes into making wine.  Not shown in any pictures, but they pride themselves on making their wine in cement.  Interesting.  The last wine stop was Paradise winery, and that was exactly what it looked like.  It was paradise.  The winery was on top of a tall hill, overlooking several vineyards.  It was gorgeous.

Williamson Wines

George Thomas winery

wine tasting

This is a very old vineyard.  You can tell because of the thickness of the branches.  It wasn't harvest season, so there were no pretty leaves or grapes.
Paradise Winery

It was another beautiful, busy day.  And there is still lots more to come...

1 comment:

  1. Look at you rolling out the trip posts...keep 'em coming! :-) Even with your "red raccoon look," you're still beautiful! I'm loving all the pictures, and I'm definitely thinking a San Fran trip needs to be in the imminent future.