Mark Twain was right when he said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It was freezing. I probably should have investigated a little more thoroughly before I planned my August vacation. I know you are thinking it is September but this girl has been busy. San Francisco was beautiful.
On day one in the bay area we went whale watching. We went through San Francisco Whale Tours. Nothing against them but I hated the tour. We were taken about 3 hours out into the pacific ocean. The beginning of the journey we were cold but excited. I took pictures of The Bay and The Golden Gate Bridge. Quickly we started to get wet and even colder. Once we were in the ocean my experience began to change. I was suddenly not feeling well. I tried everything watching the horizon, not going inside. Before I knew it was I throwing up. I threw up the drinks from last night, breakfast, white foam, yellow acid stuff and last just dry hived. It was not pleasant. The naturalist on board told me it would get better and that it would be worth it once we saw whales. Now at this point I am trying to call the Coast Guard. Only if I had cell service. I told my friend to offer the captain all my money to turn around. Even with the desperate search for away back to shore I still held hope this would be worth it. I always wanted to see a whale in his natural environment. Needless to say we never seen any whales. I seen a lot of water and a lot of birds. I would like to change what we did this day we went water watching. On the ride back to shore I was hopeful I would survive. I was wrapped in wool blankets and windbreaks. I sat at the back of the boat getting slammed with salt water, using my sneakers as a focal point. When I was told they could see land I thought they were lying but thankfully they were not. I made it. After on shore I felt better not instantly but slowly but surely was going to make it. We went back to were we were staying and got ready for a lovely dinner at Moss Beach Distillery. It was lovely and the views while driving the Pacific Coast Highway were priceless.
Day 2 consisted of city tours, farmers market and Alcatraz. I have to say I loved this city it was so peaceful, clean and beautiful. I adored the farmers market and all of the architectural beauty. I wish I had more time to explore but we had to go to The Rock. I wasn’t nervous or anything heading to a prison of such severity. I was excited to experience the history of the place to hear a story or two and to take pictures of something many others in my life may never see. As the ferry approached the island I had the same feeling I had as I had the first time I went into the Holocaust museum in Washington DC. It seemed unreal. The treatment of these people was horrible. Yes they were criminals but the perception that they were the worst of the worst is not the case. These men were usually the smarter criminals bank robbers etc. They were the ones that could escape from other prisons but we treated them like animals. The cells were disgusting and tiny. I could reach my palms of my hands from one side of the cell to the other. I am 5’7″. That is a small living quarter. Some of these men were not allowed out of their cells for days, weeks at a time. I went inside an isolation cell and it was surreal. This room was home for many men in history who lived in the dark for days, no windows, barely any food or water. I couldn’t imagine it. I have to say the audio tour was really good and insightful but I will say the highlight of my visit was meeting Robert Luke. He was an inmate at Alcatraz. I spoke with him and bought his book which was really good. I suggest everyone check this book out. It is an easy short read.
Day 3 brought the Muir Woods and Sausalito. I was in awww of the redwoods and was able to pick up a bear craved by a local artist. Then we checked out fisherman’s wharf. We had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp and I have to say that the dinner I ordered was better coming back up than it was going down. Not good.
Day 4: We went to Napa and Sonoma. I was able to go to Kendall Jackson. I joined the wine club. We went to the Culinary Institute of America and it was amazing and sad at the same time. There was a time in my life when I wanted to be a chef and I think a little of that lives on. We then went to Sutter Home. I joined the wine club. I love wine. Sadly this was our last day and I was on a flight home that night at 11pm.
All and all it was a beautiful trip and San Francisco was everything I expected.