We leave for San Francisco at 6:00pm the night after our wedding. We have spent the day recuperating, opening gifts, and even having a Bloody Mary with friends to watch the Packers play at a local bar. I am, let’s be honest, pretty hungover—which, while that was not really supposed to be part of the plan, means it was an all-around great party!
Plus or minus 5 hours later, we land in San Francisco. It is chilly and we are tired, but excited. We hop an airport shuttle and head to our hotel. I try to keep my eyes open as we stop to drop off other passengers, craning my neck to see any familiar sites I know of the San Francisco skyline. We arrive at our hotel, the Fairmont on Nob Hill, and check in goes smoothly. Our accommodations are amazing!
I am DE-lighted to find that our room overlooks the Brocklebank Apartments, which any Hitchcock fan should be able to tell you is where the amazingly awesome “if-you-haven’t-seen-it-ever-I-should-smack-you” flick Vertigo was filmed. After unpacking a bit and getting settled, we fall into bed exhausted.
Monday morning dawns bright and sunny, and we know we are in for some beautiful weather. San Francisco’s “summer” season is actually in September and October, which means only one thing: it’s HOT here. Hmm, we should have thought about that before we planned our trip—we’re both more of the “we love sweater weather” types. Oh well, we plan to enjoy the trip regardless, and we set off this morning in search of coffee and breakfast.
We end up walking all the way down to Fisherman’s Wharf, which any San Franciscan can tell you is a major tourist trap. Oh well, we’re tourists, right? We walk up and down the Wharf, snapping pictures of Alcatraz and the Wharf itself, which, in the early morning hours, is really an amazing site. It’s less tourists and more fishermen right now, and we find the inner workings of the harbor to be fascinating. I have to pinch myself sometimes—I can’t believe we’re here, in San Francisco, on our honeymoon!
I try desperately to get Dr. Groomy to take a boat trip around the bay, but he hates boats. Instead, after a delicious breakfast at the Boudin Sourdough Bakery, I make him trek all the way to the opposite end of the Wharf to visit the illustrious Ferry Building—aka the foodie heaven of San Francisco.
It reminds us of our own Milwaukee Public Market, but it’s much more successful than ours! We explore the market, taking in the sites and sounds. Fresh coffee, seafood, oysters, a dairy bar…the Ferry Building has it all. I buy some truffle salts (I have a bit of an obsession with truffles) and we trek through the financial district to take a cable car back up to our hotel. What a ride!
View from the cable car line
On the way back to the hotel, we stop at Grace Cathedral and admire it’s unique labyrinths and architecture.
The architecture is awe-inspiring, but it reminds us so much of the Cathedral we got married in that we’re embarrassed to admit that we’re not quite as awed as everyone else.
After stopping back at the hotel to rest up a bit, we head just a few blocks away to Chinatown, easily my most favorite part of our trip.
We love it here! We spend the afternoon exploring the sights, sounds and smells.
In front of the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which was really just ONE room. You walk in off the street and the machines are right there, whirring, creaking, and dropping hot batter into a press. Once the cookies have been flattened into discs, little old ladies, who I imagine to hardly have any fingertips left from handling the hot cookies, sit and fold each one, slipping the fortunes in as they work. We walk past it twice without realizing it, it’s so tiny and unobtrusive.
We’re tourists, yes, but we still want to see the parts of Chinatown that tourists generally don’t venture to. Being in Chinatown makes us feel a little bit more daring…a little bit more cultured. We stop and have dim sum for lunch at one of the million dim sum restaurants that line the Chinatown streets. Dr. Groomy tries to learn how to eat with chopsticks…and fails, miserably. So we buy a set for each of us so we can practice at home.
Dim Sum is the Cantonese custom of small plates. Waiters wheel the food around the dining room on hot carts, stopping at each table to offer their selections to you. You pick and choose as you go. We tried a little of everything and had such a blast eating and drinking with the Chinatown locals (We were probably the only English speakers in the restaurant. If you ever go to Chinatown, DON’T be a tourist—get off the main drag of Grant Avenue. Everyone is so friendly throughout the Chinatown neighborhood, and locals are happy and willing to introduce you to their culture.)
After lunch, we stop in a tea shop and buy real green tea, not the Lipton kind you can get at your local grocery store. We also pick up some authentic tea cups (no handles!) for $1.00 a piece as well, so we can re-create the time we’ve spent in Chinatown at home anytime we want.
Feeling happy and satisfied, we head back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap before heading out to dinner in North Beach.
To be continued…
*All photos are mine and may not be used without my express written consent.