Thursday, August 20, 2015

California Vacation: San Francisco

Here are some highlights of our two-day exploration of San Francisco: 

:: the novelty and fun of taking a ferry ride across the bay.

:: sailboats and harbors, houses nestled on hillsides, striking city landscape views...  

 :: walking around Fisherman's Warf was okay... a little tourist-y, but we liked stopping in the famous sourdough bakery "Boudin". We shared a roll, and boy, did it hit the spot. So crispy, tangy, and chewy. Fun to see all the beautiful loaves all lined up.

:: Chinatown... WOW. So much to take in. My senses on high alert.  Everything in Chinese-- street signs, things for sale, hardly a speck of English written or spoken. Just tons of people crowding the streets (mostly older folks) out buying their vegetables mostly-- voices all around us speaking to each other and hawking produce to the throngs of shoppers, and us not understanding a word and wishing so much that Jane could experience this with us.

:: Chinese medicine shops filled with jars of who knows what... deer tendons and antler slices, ginseng roots of all shapes and sizes, dried centipedes, herbs and teas of all sorts, dried mollusks, lots of things we had no idea what they were, fish heads and bodies and bins of dried fish sold by the pound, fruits and vegetables we couldn't name-- green beans that were two feet long, roots that looked like spears also two or three feet long, lots of green vegetables everywhere you turned... 

 :: junky souvenir shops and acupuncture and reflexology places and greasy meat smells coming from giant steaming woks and sticky glazed ducks and chickens hanging in butcher shop windows and warm, sweet smells coming from corner bakeries and the sweet red bean rice bun with the greasy, crispy sesame seed coating I bought to snack on later in the day (a little like a doughnut, but better) ... many, many interesting, cultural things to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear.

:: our afternoon in Chinatown was one of our favorite experiences of this trip.

:: Oh, and we really lucked out finding a totally vegan Chinese restaurant while we were there wandering around.
Thank you Loving Hut...

:: making our way around the city by foot and bus-- that was quite the adventure. Feet and legs tired and achy. At times feeling a little lost, but couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit Golden Gate Park and stroll around the peaceful Japanese Tea Garden. (I was so excited for this!)

:: many tourists here, and wishing so much I could sit alone and soak up the peaceful quiet and tranquility.

:: the treat it was to sit in the little outdoor garden cafe (another dream on my trip to-do list) and sip that perfectly seasoned miso soup... so warming and delicious.

:: Day two of our visit included a visit to Japantown. Mostly wandering in some interesting shops, we did pick up some authentic souvenirs to take home to the children. The marrieds received some beautiful Japanese rice bowls, chopsticks included. Cute rabbit-print toe socks for Eliza (how could we pass those up?) and a "koinobori" carp-shaped wind sock for Isaac to hang in his bedroom. Also, some origami paper and book we thought they would like, as well as some imported chewy mango candy for all.

:: We especially liked looking around a wonderful Japanese hardware store. You name it, they had it... knives, tools, hanging paper lanterns, bento boxes, handmade paper, kitchen ware, pottery, tea implements (my type of souvenir!) ...

::Couldn't leave without stopping for sushi, rice and vegetables for lunch.

Again, another fun culture-filled day.

 Next up: Carmel-by-the-Sea and our drive along the coast

1 comment:

  1. Loving looking at your pictures and hearing of your adventures. So fun! I know I'd love exploring a Chinatown!