Thursday, June 23, 2005

Shall we begin?

After our San Francisco trip, I thought it would be convenient to start up my very own weblog and post some of the good pictures for all to see. My goal will be to post at least once a week with some tidbit and/or new pictures each time.

Erin and I flew out to SF on June 12 and had Monday (June 13) to ourselves before my class started on tuesday. We decided to do a Wine tour that included seeing a few SF monuments and stopping in Muir woods before wine tasting in the afternoon.

We stopped at the palace of fine arts in the morning. Our guide said that whole area was built with the intention to tear it all down. It had something to do with building up the city after the 1906 earthquake and in preparation of a major fair around 1915. The rest of the area was indeed torn down afterward but there was enough public outcry about the palace of fine arts that they let it stand. You can see why:

On the way out to Muir woods we crossed the golden gate bridge and had a great view:

There are 2 types of sequoia trees in california, coastal and giant. Both can only survive in very particular environments and the coastal only reside in a small area around the bay. About 95% of them were cut down for lumber but fortunately one man bought up a section of land in the early 1900s and had the president name it a National Monument so that some trees would be preserved. They are the tallest trees in the world and reach well over 300 feet.

Finally, we spent the afternoon wine tasting at 3 different wineries. There are literally 100s of small family wineries in the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Most are so small that they only sell out of their wine tasting room and on the internet. Some are larger operations and distribute their wine to retailers. We both preffered the white wines over red and ended up buying 4 bottles.

On the drive back to SF we stopped in Saucaledo, a really, really expensive place to live. It lies in Marin county, supposedly the most expensive county in the US. The houses ran in the $1-$30 million range. They did have some nice views.

For the remainder of the trip we went to a number of the famous SF sights. Coit tower offers some great views of the city.

Of course there is Alcatraz

Erin loved the sea lions in fisherman's wharf. They were very active and funny to watch. They were always playing 'king of the raft.'

One morning I did a 10 mile run from our hotel to the other side of the golden gate bridge and back. It was awesome, although I did have to get up at 5:30. It was a crystal clear morning and a park runs along the bay to the bridge so I had a great course. A couple days later Erin and I took the bus to the bridge and walked across it. This time it was very windy and rained at times, but still fun.

Then there is Lombard Street, supposedly the "world's crookedest street." (which I definately don't believe)

Great city, great week.


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