Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I Left My Heart In San Francisco
Two weeks, four cities, five hotels, three great vendors, one old employer, a million laughs and memories and miles walked, and one fantastic weekend with my husband -- San Francisco, I miss you already and I've only just left.
If you are looking for a cute place in San Francisco, I can't say enough good things about the Harbor Court Hotel -- it is a Kimpton property, located right on the Embarcadero, just across the street from the ferry building, about 1.5 miles to Pier 38 and 1.5 miles in the opposite direction to AT & T stadium (needless to say, we walked A LOT). The F train streetcar runs right outside, and the BART stop is 4 blocks away. The picture above was taken from my hotel room window on Saturday morning.
After being on the road for basically two weeks for business (from Denver to DC and back to Mpls before taking off for San Jose / San Francisco), I was absolutely ready for a relaxing weekend of quality time with my husband. Although we definitley didn't completely unplug, we tuned out the most of the world and just had a ton of fun. Pictures to follow, but here's a brief synapsis of what we did:
Friday, I checked out of my work-related-hotel and into our darling tiny room at the Harbor Court (note: if you want a big room, this hotel is NOT for you, but if you want a darling hotel with a great location and a fantastic view, a cozy lobby and nice amenities (bathrobes, slipper socks, high quality toiletries). I walked and walked and walked some more - probably 5 miles total - exploring the city a bit and just generally getting a feel for the location. I grabbed a quick lunch, tried to get Alcatraz tickets (SOLD OUT), and then went back to the hotel to catch up on some work while waiting for MIke -- he arrived around 6 PM, and after a quick glass of wine at the free lobby happy hour, we started walking once again... he was starving, we had 7:30 dinner reseravtions at Alioto's in Fisherman's Wharf, so we just stopped at a few cute bars along the way and took in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city (bridges, clanging, sea water).
Dinner at Alioto's was "eh." I was SUPER excited to go have a true San Fran seafood experience -- it's only been the past 5 years or so that I've eaten sushi and seafood, and I had big visions of red and white checkered table clothes and hammers and giant crab legs. Um, no. What I got instead was an overpriced and mediocre meal in a past-it's-prime location. Very dated. It was packed, however, so clearly they are doing something right. The waiter was very nice but I was hugely disappointed in my meal. Bummer, dude.
So, more walking -- down to the very end of fisherman's wharf; we poked through little gift shops and wandered and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. Then home and to bed fairly early, because we had a pretty big mission the next day.
We were bound and determined to get out to alcatraz island. There are a million different ferry companies that will do bay cruises, but only ONE company where you can get off the boat and walk around the island. The Hubs was absolutely dying to do this -- I was "eh" about it, mostly just wanted a nice cruise, but I have to say - I am SO glad we did it. Fascinating. And absolutely incomprehensible that people actually ESCAPED from this place (or tried to). Anyway -- they were sold out for days, but apparently if you get there early, they release 50 tickets each morning. So we got there at about 7:30; the box office opened at 8, and we snagged tickets on the 10:30 boat. More walking from 8 - 10:30 -- again, through the wharf with coffee in hand. Gorgeous day.
After Alctraz, we did the Golden Gate bridge, which I'd only ever driven across, never walked around. Beautiful. Striking, breathtaking, amazing view of San Francisco. Then to the crooked street for some pictures. And then back to the hotel for a nap before heading into Little Italy (North Beach) for dinner. Anyway, we'd gone to North Beach upon the recommendation of a cab driver, who suggested we should go to Tony's for the "best pizza in the country," but there was a two hour wait, so we wandered into a little place called Calzone's, which was fantastic.
This was definitely my best meal of the trip, in fact, I could go for it right now. Hand-made linguine with shredded crab with a tomato-scallop sauce. Oh hell yes. And a delightful salad of fresh beets with goat cheese to start -- and I have to say, the beets TASTED different than they do in the midwest.
Sweeter, lighter, healthier, happier.
(Kinda like me, when I'm in California).
We walked home from Little Italy -- I'm limping a bit by this point, more on that in a bit -- and went to a nearby bar on the Embarcadero, called The High Dive, for a nightcap while looking at the water. I had been to this bar a few times before with my former employer, and it brought back a rush of memories walking in the door.
When we finally got home on Saturday night, we collapsed. I think we must have walked 10 miles -- not just street miles, but also climbing all the way up the steep hills of alcatraz. We were exhausted -- collapsed into bed, fell dead asleep, and the next morning, although I woke up at my usual crack of dawn, I showered, dressed, and came back to bed and slept until 10 AM. I didn't want to waste our time in SFO, but we needed to sleep!
We got up and ventured out for food and coffee -- Mike was worried about being cold at the game and so was I -- so we were both in jeans and long-sleeved shirts. Good thing we left in plenty of time because after only 15 minutes outside, we realized we'd ROAST in those clothes and went home to change into shorts and t-shirts -- and we STILL roasted. It was unseasonably warm in San Francisco this weekend - in fact, I got sunburned - and sitting in those bleachers in the direct sun was intense. We enjoyed poking around the ballpark (I'd been there before; Mike had not), watching the boats come into the bay hoping to catch a home run, gazing at the insane view, and day dreamed about moving...
After the game, we went walked up to the neighborhood where I used to spend a ton of time -- I pointed out my old office, the hotel I used to stay in, and we ducked into 21st Amendment, one of my old favorite hangouts... then to Kate O'Bryans, another old haunt. At Kate O'Bryans, we made friends with two fun guys who convinced us we should move, met the parents a US Open golfer, and sitting next to me, a girl who lives like 5 miles away from us at home (of course).
And then, walked back to the Ferry Building and had dinner at a cute seafood place on the pier. By this point, I have now - finally - had my fill of fresh crab.
Did I mention there was some walking??
And then, home and to bed -- up early to catch our 10 AM flight.
My father-in-law picked us up at the airport and deposited us home, where I was excited to see the work that had gotten done while I was away -- the basement floors and walls were painted and epoxied, and the garage scraped and painted -- we vegged out for the night, I focused on drinking gallons of water to rehydrate my sunburned and sore body, and around 10:30 I completely fell asleep -- my head on Mike's chest, he sat still until I naturally woke at 11:30 and we went to bed.
Today -- total re-entry shock. After basically two weeks of travel, I'm back in the office and I"m not quite sure where to start.
Also, I alluded to some foot pain earlier in this post - well here's the deal. I (stupidly) forgot to put my custom orthodics into my new running shoes, and hten proceeded to walk a marathon's distance in orthodic'less shoes. So in addition to some normal calf and quad soreness (hills), my left foot is totally jacked up. I'm limping, it hurts, it was really swollen last night... this morning I immediately put the orthodics in and broke the dress code and am wearing running shoes at work and things are starting to loosen up, but OUCH.
And now I'm off and running -- my final thoughts?
1) I love San Francsico and so does MIke and if we could win the lottery or something, we'd move in a heartbeat.
2) It felt really good to be so active for the past two weeks - even when I was traveling for work, I made time for lots of walking and fresh air breathing.
3) I'm ready to recommit to weight watchers / workouts.... the latter will have to wait a few days until my foot feels normal. I am ready.
4) I don't ever want to go back to the life I had pre-weight loss -- where physical activity was so hard and the mere though of a hike made me want to gag. I like being active, and i like LIKING being active.
Off and running,