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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm Back. . .Jus' a Few Pictures from our Trip to San Francisco

Hi Everyone!! Well, we're back from our trip to San Francisco. We actually got back yesterday evening. It's nice to be home but we had a real fun time on our trip. Our trip to San Francisco is actually my 6th trip to that city. My best friend Laurie moved to the city right after high school and I've visited San Francisco on several occasion to visit her. Laurie and I were friends from kindergarten and she is till this day my best friend. I'll dig up some of my old photos of San Francisco and post them when I have a chance. Since my first visit to San Francisco in my early twenties, it's been my favorite places to visit since. During this trip, we did a bunch of things that we didn't get to do when we visited San Francisco in November last year. We did all of the tourist stuff last year like Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Cable Car ride, etc. The goal of this year's trip was to visit places that we didn't have a chance to see last year.

We visited a lot of places but I posted just a few of them. I can't cover everything that we did but I just wanted to highlight a few of them.

Here's a picture of China Town. We headed to China Town early in the morning before it got too busy. We wanted to visit China Town because when we visited San Francisco in November last year, we didn't have time to eat dim-sum at one of the restaurants.

The one thing we wanted to do on this trip was to sit down and eat dim-sum. What's dim-sum? It's basically dumplings and little snacks that the waitresses cart around; similar to a sushi bar, you pick and choose what you want to eat.

When we were living in Hawaii, dim-sum was something we could find in any Chinese restaurant but it's hard to find a restaurant that sells dim-sum in many areas of the Continental US even in California unless you live in the city. Temecula's Chinese Restaurants are sort of primarily "Panda Express" type of restaurants which I don't think is real Chinese food. Ha! Not the way I know it. The only area I found that matches the same type of Chinese food in Hawaii is in San Francisco and we really miss it. Therefore, it was a MUST for us to visit Chinatown again. We found a restaurant that served dim-sum early in the morning. Most restaurants open at 11:30 so we were lucky to have found this restaurant. Well, we really had an awesome dim-sum breakfast!!

China Town is such a colorful place to visit. I think besides the Fisherman Wharf, China Town is the busiest of all the different sections of San Francisco. We spent half the day exploring China Town.

Shopping in China Town is like shopping in the same stores over and over again. Again, like any tourist area, China Town is a tourist trap but a fun trap nonetheless.

This is a picture of the tower at "Japan Town". This is the first time we visited Japan Town. Japan Town is actually several block of shopping centers, shops and restaurants. It's a lot quieter than China Town. . . .actually, much quieter. It's very serene and unassuming . . .so typical of Japanese culture.

We walked around and visited the different stores and shops. My kids are into "anime" (japanese animation); therefore, it was fun for them to shop here. My DH watches anime with them so he had a fun time looking around too. I'm the oddball in the family. . .I don't watch anime.

San Francisco was so chilly at night. It must have been in the 40s but because of the wind it felt a lot colder. We hung out sitting in front of the fire pit after we returned to the city from visiting Sausalito.

We drank coffee and hot cocoa. It was a nice way to end the day!

My daughter and I decided to tour the Fisherman's Wharf on our own because my DH and son were not interested in walking around the wharf. They wanted to visit the shops which I wasn't interested in doing. The shops are a tourist trap and I never buy anything from these shops.

While my daughter and I were walking around taking pictures of the scenery, one of the tin man who dance on the streets called us over to take a picture with him. I should have known not to do it because he asked for a tip afterwards. Anyway, I did it for my daughter's sake because my daughter wanted to take a picture with him. Sure. . .why not? We are tourist anyway and this is what tourist do.

I took a lot of pictures at the Fisherman Wharf but I'm not going to post them. There's just too many of them.
We visited Sausalito on Saturday. This is the view of Sausalito from the ferry as we approached the town. Interestingly, Sausalito was originally a shipyard used by the military to build World Ward II ships. After the war was over, Sausalito became a quaint town and is now a major tourist destination for those visiting the San Francisco area.

There's a lot of nice shops, boutiques, and restaurants to visit in this little town. This is my third visit to Sausalito. It's a nice place to head to if you ever visit San Francisco. Sausalito is a town on the opposite end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

While in Sausalito we decided to do a Segway tour. Riding the Segways was so much fun. It was a great way to tour certain areas of Sausalito. The tour itself wasn't that interesting but riding on the Segways was the best part of the tour. The tour spans several miles, primarily the marina area. It sure beats walking.

Here is what I ate for lunch at a restaurant in Sausalito. You're like "what the heck is that?". Don't be grossed out but on the top is "unagi". . .basically, eel. This dish was called "Ahi Parfait" and it was yummy. It's like a huge sushi roll without the seaweed. The center is spicy ahi and avocado. The bottom is rice with a wasabi mix.

Coming from Hawaii. . .dishes like this is actually quite typical. One of the reasons I love San Francisco is the awesome, awesome restaurants. My DH accused me of wanting to travel to SF just for the restaurants. I believe he's right to some degree. I just love SF overall for the eclectic aspect of the city and surrounding area. There's just so many things to do and visit. It's never boring.

We drove to Silicon Valley (San Jose) after visiting Napa Valley to visit the Winchester Mystery House.

My daughter is pictured with a hard hat because we did a walking tour of the basement of the house.

If you don't know the "story" of the house, click here for a bit of history of the house. It was a fun tour of a very strange house. Initially I wasn't impressed with the architecture or quality of the house until I realized the house was built in the late 1800s. Looking at it in that perspective, the quality of the materials and "modern" aspect of the house became quite impressive.

Here is my DH at an unfinished portion of the house. The house has 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, 47 fireplaces and a lot of weird staircases. It also had a section with unfinished rooms such as the one pictured to the right. There were doors that opened to a wall, staircases that lead to a ceiling, hallways that lead to nowhere, windows on the floor. . .just a bunch of weird stuff.

It's a fascinating house considering the period it was built - late 1800s. It's fairly modern for that era. The house has 3 elevators, heater, boiler room, hot running water, which was during that time, technologically advanced for a house.

The house was a lot bigger but the great earthquake destroyed part of the house in 1906. It was 7 stories high back then, now it's only 4 stories. If you are heading to Silicon Valley one day, the Winchester house is a great place to visit.

On Friday, we drove to Napa Valley. It was a very cold and windy day. The drive through the wineries was really nice.

The drive to Napa was a spontaneous decision. . .it wasn't part of the plan but we figured, "ahhh, why not?". We visited a few wineries but did not do any tours. The tours that allowed kids were at specific times of the day and we didn't have the time to hang around. Besides, I live in Temecula, Southern California's "wine country". Our subdivision is located right at the backyards of the wineries. I mean, literally, the backyards. Temecula has over 20 wineries and a few bed and breakfast in the area.
This statue is in front of the Robert Mondavi Winery. Interesting. . .I don't know what it represents. It sort of looks like a monk.

This was taken at the Robert Mondavi Winery. I'm not sure what this statue suppose to represent. It stood at the center ground of the winery. My interpretation of this staue is that this is what happens when you drink too many of Robert Mondavi's wine. . .you take off your clothes and stand around naked. Yup, I can see that happening.

Anyway. . .just thought I would share this strange statue with y'all. . .just be careful when drinking Robert Mondavi wine, okay.

Here is a picture of grapes at the winery. I thought it was pretty so I took a picture of them. I don't drink wine or alcohol as a matter of fact. Not because I have anything against them. . .it's just I don't like how they taste.

It was a nice drive through Napa Valley. After the Napa Valley drive, we headed out to Davis on to the University of California Davis campus. My daughter wants to attend Davis because of the school's extensive science programs. Well, Davis is an interesting town because the bulk of the residence are college students. Unfortunately, it's in the middle of nowhere. Anyway. . .if you got to this part of my post, thank you for looking at my vacation pictures. If you've never visited San Francisco, it's a MUST. This place is fun with so many things to do and see. I highly recommend San Francisco as a vacation destination.


Michelle said...

You took some beautiful pictures! I'm surprised you do not scrapbook more often!

Tracy.H said...

Sounds like you had an amazing time!! Awesome pics! good to have you back! ;0)

Rhonda said...

I am SICK with jealousy!!!!! I LOVE San Franscisco and we only had time to spend one day there last year. I am ABSOLUTELY going's my favorite city in the world! Love your frames too, gorgeous!

malieta said...'s a welcome back
The pictures of San Francisco are fantastic, I can't get over the beauty of the city. Is the Winchester house spooky? I have often wondered about it. I tell ya, the sights and the food are intoxicating.
Nappa Valley is beautiful also! I have never been on the West Coast...I think I'm missing out on something.*smile*

Shell said...

I'm envy you as I love San Fran and can't wait to get back someday. I have been there three times now and love it. My dad has an army buddy that lives in Lodi so we visit when we can. We were just out there last Spring break and had a great time. Thanks for sharing pictures.

Eleanor said...

Hey Maria,
Looks like you had fun in SF. Wasn't the weather beautiful?! Thanks for sharing your pictures.

Jen said...

oh wow, Maria - thanks for sharing all of these pics. I totally enjoyed reading about it - you are always so thorough about your trips and what you and your family does. Love that photo of 4 of you on those Segway - hah! I didn't even know that's what they were called. The sushi looked totally familiar. The house - WOW - what a trip, it sounds weird just by what you've said - I will have to definitely ck out the site. Funny, we were just talking about going to SF for spring break next year.... if it is a go, I will have to let you know so that you can share with me again where to check out. The Winchester house... most def!!!

Happy to have you back home again!!!


Aimeslee said...

Maria's back! Yay! Your trip looked fabulous! My only complaint is you needed to be in the photos, you bad girl. I've seen a special on HGTV about that Winchester House and I agree, it's fascinating. Sometimes I wish I would just take a vacation to California, but it would be so expensive from Texas....maybe one day.

Kim said...

Looks like y'all had a blast!!! We went to S.F. this time last year and LOVED it. Your photos brought back great memories. We were hoping to go to the Winchester Museum but didn't make it. Darn it, guess we have to go back :)

Anonymous said...

You have just visited most of my favorite places while visiting California. Our son teaches in the town that you live 3rd grade so we come out to California a couple times a year. Our most favorite thing to do is fly into SF and drive down the cost to Oceanside and fly out of San Diego. Loved all your pictures and made me HOMESICK for California. Have to check out our sons webpage on the Temecula (SP???) schools...try and then enter the zipcode to Temecula - he's listed under Mr Fisher. Not sure if you know anyone that has kids in 3rd grade....but I think he's the BEST! Thanks again for sharing all your wonderful SF and Company pictures. Kadie from Madison (Wisconsin)