Samantha, just Samantha (samantilles) wrote,
Samantha, just Samantha
samantilles

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How I spent my Birthday, or Damn Woolsey and the city cloak!!!


 It was a bit strange, walking around in a city I've never been to completely by myself to celebrate my birthday.  On one hand, the city is gorgeous, it was high 60s and even hit the 70s (which compared to DC, heck, screw the comparision--its my dream temperature anywhere!!) and the city wasn't crowded!!  I'm here visiting a friend from college, but she couldn't get time off during the week, so rather than cooping myself up in her appartment, I journeyed out into the city as a really independent gal.  

I should note that I planned this trip before the new year.  I only mention this because after I saw the series finale of Stargate: Atlantis, I got superexcited to come to San Francisco.  I geekified my entire trip by imagining half the SGC in San Francisco, and even pulled out my madcool Atlantis soundtrack while taking a boat tour of the bay...  Knowing I would be visiting SF helped me complete and write out the fic i popped out as a tag to the finale and how Daniel would react to the news...  it got me excited and squeeing as I repeatedly reminded people in my office I would be out of town.

So, onto the pictures (lj cut for your flist protection!!)

So, as a birthday gift to myself (as if the ticket wasn't enough of one...) I upgraded my rental car to a kickass Audi A4 convertable, which I've had loads of fun driving around in...





So, I got my behind out of bed and drove from the East Bay into the city... Throughout the course of the day I drove over quite a few bridges, the first being the Bay Bridge (which shares its name with the Chesapeake version, which I cross all the time.)  Despite the bit of traffic I hit, the scenery was beautiful, though I will realize later I hadn't seen what beautiful really was...


Making it to the city was the easy part, but I learned early on that the city does spread itself out for quite a distance.  I originally found the first parking structure I could find when I was in the vicinity of Fisherman's Wharf, my destination du jour. However, I then came to realize that I was about three miles off.  I made it back to the car and tried again... but I did get a rather neat shot from the earlier piers...


At last I made it to my destination...


I did the classical touristy things (after all I am a tourist!!  why shouldn't I??)  and walked around for a wee bit on Piers 39-45, including the Musee Mechanique, the USS Jeremiah Carpenter ships and the Pappolito submarine, and eventually a boat tour of the bay.



For the boat tour, we went around Alcatraz (which for one I wasn't really interested in visiting--prisons just creep me out a bit, even if they are shut down for good...) and then up and under the Golden Gate Bridge, which is the subject of a mini photo group down below.



while on the boat tour, my camera battery died!!  *gasp!!* but never fear! I had my trusty iPhone with me to take the necessary shots, even if the quality isn't as good as a real camera!!  Fortunately I found a small tourist camera shop who sold me a charged battery for my Nikon S1, and I was back on the way.   I was a bit jealous though while on the bay:

I did find it strange how we did kind of make our way around the center of the bay, avoiding it like there really was some invisible ancient city right there...but maybe that was just my imagination, or my incredible jealousy of Daniel who might hopefully get to visit it!!...

I managed to get lost and find a cute little private marina--but apparently i wasn't the only one who got lost, in that five minute trek three other people asked me how to get back to fisherman's wharf, which i did know at least as that was where I came from.  I was in search of food and chocolate by then...  


I made my way to Ghiradelli Square, which sounded promising for a bit of birthday cake and seafood...  I started out at McCormick and Kuleto's,

where I had some AMAZING stuffed salmon with crab and brie cheese... OMG it was sooo damned good!!!  But it wasn't the only good thing to come out of the restaurant.  I was seated (alone) next to a gal that was also alone.  We started talking, and by the time we left, we had become tourist partners.  Amanda is a natal ICU nurse in Denver and she was absolutely adorable.  I had much more fun with someone to chat and walk with...

We found the Ghiradelli shop, where I was really looking for cake (I don't even really like chocolate that much, but I wanted a birthday cake darnit!!!) but only came out with some giant cookies and brownies.  The cookies are huge (an inch thick in the center) and you can taste the telltale sign of cookiedough.  The brownies had the consistency of fudge really.  I still haven't finished one of any of them yet...


But then I found the motherload...

It was this absolutely cute little shop completely decked out in pink... needless to say it satisfied my need for birthday cake...

From the top left: Chocolate peanut butter, filled passion fruit, filled lemon, coconut, filled banana caramel and carot...  I haven't actually eaten them yet... will do so soon (sadly I wanted to make sure I actually blogged about them before I ate them... the true sign of a blogging addiction...

Amanda and I then made our way back to fisherman's wharf, as my car was parked there and she hadn't visited it yet.  We stopped in Boudin Sourdough,


which is apparently well known for its bread and clam chowder.  We got samples of the chowder for free (after all we had just eaten at McCormick and Kuletos!!) and I ordered sourdough by fedex home... hehe...
 
my father will love me for getting him sourdough... he'll also hate me for the same reason--he's got an addiction to sourdough...

And onto the Golden Gate:
About four pm I headed out of the city to meet Gisela (the gal I'm staying with) for dinner back on the east bay.  I took the absolute opposite way to get there by going north to the golden gate bridge, which I happily drove across with the sun beaming down into my opened up convertable and bopping along with music...  It was sublimely happiness... for some reason the golden gate became the main focus of my attention after the boat tour, though I did always want to drive it, and now I have!!  So now for the pictures:




I didn't realize plantlife could hold up that much weight, but there it is!!

So the drive back from San Francisco was drop dead absolutely gorgeous... i took it slowly in the right lane and took in all that the bay had to offer from Sausalito (OMG Gorgeous) to Larkspur (those luxury homes were actually listed as "estates" and now I know why...) and even to San Quentin when I got temporarily lost with the GPS tracker not going the same way as the signs for the Richmond bridge were going...  I wanted to stop just about every thirty seconds, but there were shockingly no shoulders on which to stop... *sigh*  By the time I hit Sausalito and Larkspur, sunset was beginning, though it would actually be another hour before it went down completely.

Gisela and I then journeyed south to San Jose for the night where we hit this high end shopping district called Santana Row.  We enjoyed fish & chips and a wee bit of Guiness at Rosie Cann's Irish Pub and walked around just as the shops were closing--it was still in the sixties even at 9pm, which is wonderful!!!  I actually had on my fleece from the Lands End website that beanpot had pointed to back in December... it was the perfect thing to wear all day long.  it really was... *happehsigh*  we came across a strange sign though, that caused me to take a photo of it and ponder why that number had been chosen...


The night ended with starting "The DaVinci Code" which Gisela hadn't seen yet, though I was asleep before the nun took a hit to the knocker with a big stone block...  
 

 
Tags: birthday, pictures, san francisco, vacation
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