April 20, 2012

A Hip Trip

Papallama and Grammy are in their "go-go" years.  It comes just before the "slow go" years that come just before the "no go" years. 
Our latest "go" was to San Francisco and the wine country of California.  Since this blog is dedicated to my boys, bear with me as I write a little travel journal entry for them.  Thinking back thirty or forty years, I realize travel and technology have changed tremendously, so in the future, I am sure their travels will be something we can not even imagine today.

Boys, to get to San Franciso, it takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours by plane from Charlotte, NC.  But before you even get on the plane, you are taken through a security check where you must remove your shoes, pack liquids in containers under 3oz, and walk through a scanner where you are checked for weapons or explosives.  Why?  Look up 9/11. For some reason, Papallama always gets a thorough inspection.
Caught the early flight out

To pass the time on the plane, it's a great idea to download a movie from iTunes.  You know iTunes.  It's on your Apple iPad. Speaking of Apple, Papallama keeps bemoaning the fact that he never bought stock in the company. Our first computer was an Apple. We loaded programs on it with a cassette player.  What's a cassette player?  Okay, this is birdwalking...back to the trip...

Didn't take long for the iPad to catch PBuddy's attention!
We really acted like tourists on our trip...seeing as how that's what we were.  We wanted to see the major landmarks that we had read or seen whenever San Francisco was mentioned. 

Alcatraz was a famous prison there.  Nicknamed "The Rock", it was supposed to be impossible to escape and the conditions on the island were brutal.  Our tour was one of the highlights of our trip.  When we arrived by boat, we were given an audio tour (headsets with an audio player) and a former prison guard shared many interesting stories and events about this national landmark as he led us around with his narration.  There were two prisoners who escaped and have never been accounted for. Wonder what happened to them?
Even on a sunny day, this would be a miserable place to be.
If Papallama looks scary, imagine a real prisoner!

My favorite day started at the tiny diner, Mama's, for breakfast, followed by a walk up a beautiful street to Coit Tower.  Coit Tower was a gift to the city from wealthy Lillie Hitchcock Coit and built in 1933.  You can really get some spectacular 360 views of the area from there, including Lombard Street, the crookediest street.  Plus, the walls are covered in murals painted by post depression workers, and they are a lesson in the areas history beautifully depicted in art form.  From there, we were lucky to catch a bus to Fisherman's Wharf, where all the tourists wind up sooner or later.  We saw sea lions hanging out at the pier enjoying a little bit of sunshine which we saw very little of while we were there.
Typical San Francisco residential neighborhood
Top of Coit Tower
A very diverse city
The Golden Gate Bridge seems to be visible just about anywhere you are in SF!
Crookedest Street
Just a small sample of the murals!
Sea Lions have taken over the piers.
Coit Tower from Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco has a large population of Chinese, and when you are older, they may even be the majority in that area.  We ate at Hunan's Home in China Town.  It was one of our better meals, especially for the price.
If you look closely, you will see Hunan's Home, a great Chinese restaurant.
Beautiful Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park
You can see the Golden Gate Bridge from lots of vantage points, and it's what most people associate with San Francisco.  It's an engineering marvel for its time and still serves the infrastructure of the area very well.  We crossed it to get to Muir Woods and wine country. 
The bridge is always being painted as rust is it's worst enemy.
The giant redwoods were something I had dreamed of seeing since I had read about them as child.  They were as big and beautiful as I had imagined all these years.  I do believe the whole trip was worth it just to see them and stand in their shade in person.

Where's the top?

My new screen saver
 Wine country included Sonoma and Napa Valley.  Not much of a wine drinker, this wasn't my favorite, but we did travel through pretty rolling hills covered in grape vines.  No wonder...the land sells for $300,000 an acre in Napa Valley.  Grapes are grown and sold there just because of the name and what it signifies to wine makers. 

Wine caves underground are great way to store it as it ages.

Sonoma was a cool little town and we had lunch at Sunflower Cafe.
And we met the Bush Man!  We kept seeing "Have you seen the Bush Man?" on travel brochures, but we had no idea what it was talking about.  Then, as we were walking down the sidewalk in Fisherman's Wharf, a branch of a shrub jumped out at us and growled!!!  Papallama jumped a foot off the ground and said, "Hey, man, you scared me!"  The "Bush Man" makes his living jumping out at poor unsuspecting tourists and yelling, "I made you holler, give me a dollar!"  (No, he didn't get a dollar from Papallama.)

We left San Fran happy for having had the experience. Grammy wants to stay on the east coast for the next trip. Papallama says we may cross the pond.
Cable Car ride is a must in San Fran!

But first, laundry...maybe in thirty years, we won't know what that is!

1 comment:

  1. And here I thought our weekend in Texas was a big trip! Sounds like you had a great time.