California 2016: Day 1 and 2 (San Francisco)

So those of you who follow me know that we spent 2 weeks in California last month. I am just now getting around to blogging about that.

We had found Southwest flights directly from St. Louis to San Francisco and it didn’t leave until later in the afternoon, so we got to take our time driving to St. Louis to get on the plane. The kids did pretty well in transit and we arrived in San Francisco in the early evening, though it felt like later to us because of the time change. While at the airport, we were able to buy our MUNI passes to get around the city, and then took a taxi to our hotel in the Cow Hollow area. We didn’t do anything too crazy that evening because we were tired, but we did get to explore the area around our hotel and had a late snack at a diner across the street.

The kids also played Bean Boozled. If you have never heard of it and someone asks you to play, I suggest you decline unless you like to taste gross stuff. Basically, they are jelly beans that can be either a pleasant flavor (like lime, peach, or something normal) or something absolutely horrid (like barf, dead fish, moldy cheese, etc.). The kids made me take a video of them playing this and it was absolutely disgusting. We got to bed way too late but we didn’t have anything too early planned for the next morning.

This was the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from our hotel room:

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The next morning was the beginning of our first full day in San Francisco. We had breakfast at a nearby restaurant. We had found some free walking tours through a volunteer group associated with the public library. We did several of these tours while we were in San Francisco, but we did our first one that first full day we were there, and it was in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco. I didn’t know much about that area at first, but it was apparently where the hippie movement was big. There happened to be a street festival happening that same day so we got to walk around and see what was going on before the tour. The tour was really interesting and the guide was really well-informed and was into music so we got a lot of information about the music that came out of this area of town. He also showed us houses where Janice Joplin lived, as well as The Grateful Dead house. We learned a lot about the culture of that part of town and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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wpid-wp-1468724213577.jpgAfter the tour, we opted to take a taxi to Twin Peaks which offers a really nice view of the city. We then walked down the hill to catch a bus to the Castro area of town. Yes, I know this is the gay area and we had two small children with us. I considered this an educational experience, though. There were shops that were inappropriate for children and we walked quickly past those. There were lots of gay men and lesbians holding hands, as well as cross-dressers and rainbows down every street. Anya probably just thought they were My Little Pony decorations. I waited and waited for the questions I was so sure would be coming from her, but she never said a word. I don’t know if it is because we didn’t make a big deal out of anything we saw or if she was just that unobservant, but neither of our kids said a single word about it. We must have gotten lucky!

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We walked through the Castro area and ended up in the Mission district that had a huge park with a playground that we thought the kids would enjoy. We stopped and let the kids play for awhile before finding dinner at an Indian restaurant in the Mission district. After dinner, we headed back toward the hotel and got some ice cream. It was a full day but it wasn’t too rushed or hurried, so it was the perfect first day in a new city.

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