Monday, February 16, 2009

Girls' Getaway in San Francisco!

Because of our impending move to Germany, my Mom and I decided we needed one last mad dash together to get in some much-needed girl time. We spent 5 days in San Francisco, our favorite city and had a wonderful time and some great adventures. Below are just a few of the highlights of the trip!

Here are some shots of the city:

Here we are in Sausalito, CA across the bay.
The next few photos were taken in Muir Woods a National Park full of Giant Redwoods.

Here is a picture of the hotel room we reserved.

Now it wouldn't be a trip without a story to tell - here it is. We had a fabulous first day, walking for miles around to all of our favorite places. Above is a picture of the hotel we reserved. It was a great little hotel right off of Union Square - admittedly not five-star, but just what we needed.
We arrived back to the room after a late dinner and were really ready to crash after vigorously sightseeing for nearly 18 hours. One hour of sleep had been granted to us (this would make it 11:30 am) when a car alarm went off right below our window. It wouldn't have been bad if the owner of the car knew how to turn it off.... but he didn't. After five minutes of trying to sleep through the sirens and honking horn sound effects, we called down to the front desk to find out what was going on. The car was a rental, he said, and the guest who had rented it couldn't figure out how to turn the alarm off. We resigned ourselves to waiting it out... the alarm blared intermittently for the next ten minutes and then finally gave out.
By 12:00 am, we had settled back into a sound sleep, but a half hour later we woke to the sound of a garbage truck. In a city as busy as San Francisco, it's necessary to perform garbage pickup at night in the absence of traffic. We waited patiently until the sound of the truck faded away into the distance and thought we would have no more trouble. We were wrong. Perhaps because the city is so compact - perhaps because it was late and they wanted to reduce the noise - perhaps just because they have a weird system there - the full garbage bins (we're talking the industrial metal ones used by businesses) are taken to a garage to be emptied all at once and are then taken one by one to be replaced. You'll never guess where that garage was in relation to our hotel. Of course it was across the street. We called down to the front desk once again to find out if garbage pickup happened every night - at least we were in luck there - it only occured once a week. The front desk agent then told us reluctantly that the street sweepers were expected for the following night...
At 2:00 am when there was no garbage left in the city... we were exhausted. We thought at last our chance for sleep had come. It just so happens that 2:00 am is last call for bars in California. I'm sure not everyone who left the bar five blocks away was drunk, but one one man definitely was - very much so. He apparently felt very strongly about something and felt the need to share those feelings with the quiet that surrounded him. By this time, all we could do was laugh. It just wasn't our night to sleep. We called down to the front desk a thrid time, and calmly explained to the front desk agent that if we could not sleep, we could not stay in their hotel. He was very understanding and more than happy to move us to one of the hotel's sister properties, the Kinsington Park hotel.
If it sounds ritzy, it is. This wasn't just any sister property - this was the rich-sister-from-the-East-Coast-who-married-well-and-had-a-trust-fund property. It was gorgeous. And because we had been inconvinienced, the manager at the Kensington Park upgraded us to one of their premium rooms. My mom and I thought it was well worth the first night's inconvinience to have had the opportunity to stay here the rest of the week!!
It just goes to show that there is a silver lining to every cloud! Here I am, getting some much-needed rest in a verrry comfortable bed.

The day we arrived, we couldn't help but notice enormous lines outside of all the major department stores - the line above was wrapped around Macy's. It turned out that Estee Lauder, as a part of a class-action lawsuit, had to give away free products to any customers who had purchased their merchandise at any point during the previous three years. Because there was no way of verifying who had purchased anything, everyone who saw the line got into it. My mom and I found a much shorter line at Saks Fifth Avenue and got some free Chanel perfume.
We happened to be there at the same time as Chinese New Year - we missed the Grand Parade by a couple of days, but here is the dragon. It takes an incredible number of people to animate a dragon of this size.
We saw some of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches while we were there. The ones below range from Stinson Beach to views from the 17-mile drive outside of Monterey.

One thing about this city that constantly amazes me is it's ingenuity. Check out some of the ways people make their living:

The next few pictures are especially for the benefit of Auntie Gail to take her mind off of her poor broken foot! Here is Schroeder's - a former favorite stomping ground! Is it anything like you remembered?
Although we didn't eat at Schroeder's, we experienced some incredible little restaurants - here are some pictures of just a few!

It's safe to say that we ate very well on our trip!
We had such a wonderful time!
On the homefront - all of our furniture has now been packed up and shipped in crates over to Germany (we are told it will take between 45 and 60 days for it to get there). We are currently living out of four suitcases, and were lucky enough to have my mom invite us to stay with her until we leave.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that is a nice hotel. Of course both of them were way nicer than where we stayed when we went to Disney last week. How nice for you.