After we jetted to the West Coast Friday (via Southwest Airs), we took the BART to our hotel in Union Square in downtown San Francisco. We checked into the Hotel Fusion, which was a great place for what it was. It's a very basic, inexpensive hotel in the heart of downtown that includes WiFi and breakfast. It doesn't have a gym or pool and the rooms are small, but the rooms have fridges, are clean and have plenty of hot water and great water pressure. I go on vacation to see sights, not hotel rooms, so it's a win, in my book.
Friday night, we walked all over the city and saw lots of touristy highlights, which I don't have pictures for because my camera died. We did visit Fisherman's Wharf to say "What's up?" to the sea lions, as well as checked out a great little restaurant in Chinatown. We saw Lombard Street and trekked up some massive hills in the name of seeing it all. Also, there's a super cool flagship Walgreens around the corner from our hotel that's even nicer than the Chicago flagship. There's a full liquor section, sushi, frozen yogurt and a beauty bar.
Saturday morning, we were up bright and early to take our Extranomial Tours trip to wine country. But first, we stopped at Muir Woods to see the giant coastal redwoods. This place is so gorgeous and peaceful, featuring trees as old as 3,500 years old and nearly 400 feet tall. It's amazing to see some of these trees, which are like looking at a wall of tree. I hear there are redwood trees that are up to 30-feet wide.
Next up, we stopped at Mayo Family Winery for a tasting. We tried sparkling, chardonnay, pinot noir and many others. Nothing there really struck our fancy, so we soldiered on.
Next, we had a tasting at Madonna Estates, which was awesome. The employee was very knowledgeable and the vines grew up right to the back door, so we got to know more about the production and the products. We bought two bottles here and look forward to enjoying them soon.
Cline Cellars, which was a much larger, more corporate experience. There was a wedding going on and lots of hustle and bustle here. There actually wasn't any type of tour, just a straight up tasting. I loved their red dessert wine, but I couldn't justify the $48 price, so we bought two equally lovely, cheaper bottles instead.
At the end of the day, the tour guide showed us a bit of Sausalito and let us stop and take pictures of the bridge. The tour was excellent and well worth the money.
On Sunday, we walked the entire city. That's only a slight hyperbole. Tim calculated that we walked at least 12 miles. We started with AT&T Park, then headed to Mission Bay, swung through Carnivale in the Mission District, walked up Castro Street, checked out the Presidio, strolled through Golden Gate Park and then took the bus back to Fisherman's Wharf to pick up more chocolate, sourdough bread and seafood.
We also decided to take the Alcatraz at Night Tour. It was a really cool experience. You're ferried out to the island, then go on an audio tour of the prison before taking optional tours or your own wanderings. Ironically, the best views of San Francisco are from a place that used to house condemned men. No women were ever incarcerated there, and no executions ever took place.
We ate A LOT this weekend, so check back tomorrow for full details on what made me fat this weekend :)