On my fifth day in San Francisco, I started out exploring the neighborhood of North Beach. This in the home of the iconic City Lights Bookstore.
North Beach (where there is no beach, btw) is a little grittier and more crowded than I would like. After a yummy frittata breakfast and a quick stop at the post office, I caught the bus to the Palace of Fine Arts. On the way, I passed by this beautiful sidewalk produce display, which just epitomizes California for me.
A short walk later I reached the Palace of Fine Arts. Oh. My. Gosh. It's beautiful!
It was like a classical Greek oasis at the edge of the city. The water and the park were beautiful and if I lived in San Francisco I would take a picnic lunch and watch the birds at least once a week.
Not only were there seagulls, there were also a few swans, a bunch of ducks, and maybe even a goose or two. Everyone there seemed to be having a wonderful time. There is definitely the feeling that people who live in San Francisco are just really happy to be where they're at.
Sadly, the Exploratorium (the children's science museum that operates inside the building) was closed on Mondays. So I headed up the hill (shocking, right?) to the Presidio. The closest part was 1 Letterman Drive.
I'm not exactly sure what all goes on there, but there is a division of Lucasfilms there. And there is a great Starbucks on the ground floor of the building on the right. And behind that building? There's a Yoda fountain!
The next day I went back to the Palace of Fine Arts so I could go inside the Exploratorium. I didn't actually go into the museum, but I did hit their shop and got some very cool goodies. My favorite? A cherry tree bonsai kit in a can. I can't wait to open it up and grow my own mini cherry tree.
After another chunk of work at the Lucasfilms Starbucks, I hopped on a bus that I thought would take me to Point Lobos and Cliff House. Only my bus decided to change route numbers halfway there, took me two blocks (downhill) out of the way, and I decided to hop off before I got even more off track. Since getting back to my original bus would require hiking up two block (and I was so over hills at this point) I just kept walking toward the ocean. Instead of heading to dinner at Cliff House, I decided to go to the beach. And I'm so glad I did.
At first, there weren't many people on the beach. Just a few dedicated surfers and some other tourists trolling for shells. Then, after five, the people and the dogs came out to play.
Just being by the water energizes me. So much so that, when I had to figure out what I wanted to do on my last day in San Francisco, I decided to head back to the beach.
I paid homage to my mermaid princess. Sat on my fleece jacket. And just ... absorbed the beach. If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the roar of the ocean even now.
The only bad thing about the beach was that, because I was so far north and the air was so cool, I didn't give sunscreen a second thought. Or even a first thought. My hours on the beach turned into a pretty angry sunburn. Not everywhere, because thankfully I didn't have a swimsuit with me, but on my chest, arms, face, and (strangely enough) on my right calf.
You can see my tomato-like complexion in this pic, which I snapped in the lobby of my hotel while I waited for the airport shuttle. I have to say, I was extraordinarily sad to leave San Francisco. I adore Seattle, and I'm excited to move there, but if I had the money... Well, we'll just see what happens if my Medusa girls become bestsellers. I might just have to make their home, my home.
Well that is the end of the official travelog of my Great Adventure of 2010. Technically spent a couple weeks in Texas before finally heading home, and I'll post a blog about the TLA conference soon, but my grand tour ended in San Francisco. I'll have some concluding thoughts over the next few days. And I'll have the photos and memories to last a lifetime.