Monday, June 1, 2009

Spur of the Moment San Francisco

We were supposed to be camping on Lake Shasta today, but when the forecast called for a 25% chance of thunderstorms, we decided that taking an aluminum boat across the water to sleep under the stars during potential lightning sounded less than fun. So, my brilliant husband suggested we take a spur of the moment trip to San Francisco instead. I just have to love that adventurous spirit which remonds me of when we were young and free. We've been wanting to go for months, and a travel deals email newsletter I subscribe to just happened to recently post a special on the newly remodeled Hotel Tomo in Japantown. We booked a room yesterday, loaded the animals food and water bins last night and hit the road at 6:30 this morning. I gotta say, the internet is just so darn handy for travel. In less than an hour on a Sunday night I was able to book a bargain room and find more than enough free and cheap stuff to do all over the city.

After sleeping through the alarm and snooze, we still arrived in time to start a walking tour of Fisherman's Wharf. We had to bail on the tour early, as it was freezing and although the guide was nice enough, at every frigid stop he just took too long with his talking, and we were shivering. I know public speaking isn't always easy, but limiting “uuuum” and “uuuhhh” from a speech really can keep things moving. We needed to buy beanies for the kid's heads and eat chocolate at Ghirardelli, so we snuck out on our own. We explored boats, shops and maritime history, played with antique amusements, and ate $50 worth of clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls which we do every time we go to San Francisco (so much for cheap.) How wonderful to be in a city where you can just walk into an art gallery and see works by Dali, Picasso, Chagall, and Warholl.

After we had our fill of the area around the piers, we headed to the Presidio which has some beautiful old buildings, lovely waterfront and wooded trails and of course, lots of history. Fort Point is at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge and has all sorts of wonderful old brick halls, spiral staircases and passageways for kids to run through. If it hadn't been windy enough to blow Dorothy back to Kansas, we might have walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, but it was beyond blustery, so we skipped that.

We checked into the Hotel Tomo, which I must say is the funnest hotel in the Best Western chain I have ever stayed at. It features Japanese pop culture d├ęcor galore, cool chairs, colorful doors, and full wall anime murals in every room. After a bunch of snacks, multiple trips up and down the elevator- stopping at most floors, a few short moments of rest, and a much deserved glass of wine, we are off to go explore the neighborhood. Adventure is good.