San Francisco

San Francisco: After leaving Santa Cruz and a GREAT breakfast with Johnny (who had been up for about 32 hours straight) we continued north to San Francisco. Before getting into the city we stopped for lunch with Dicken’s dad’s roommate from college and his family. The McBurnies could not have been friendlier, and we had a great dim sum lunch with Anton, Bernadette, Lauren and Kirsty. Bernadette works for an amazing company, Nikken, that makes magnet therapy products… we are definitely looking into ordering some, and you should too! Check out the site: http://www.nikken.com/

Then we headed up to San Francisco where we met Torrey’s family! Bud, Mary and Kiera were all waiting at the Inn at the Presidio, a cool hotel that used to be Officers’ quarters. While Dicken went to see his friend Eddy Nadel back in San Mateo, Torrey and her family went to look for some authentic Chinese food in the country’s largest Chinatown. Everywhere we had intended to check out was surprisingly busy, so we decided to wander around and find one with the best window display… after I spotted one with pictures of Obama from a recent visit, I decided that this was where we were going. It didn’t disappoint, and we had great salt and pepper crab, Szechuan chicken and dumplings… followed by froyo down the street (because what else do you do in Chinatown?)

The next day, we had a great day of exploring in San Francisco. We did the touristy (yet awesome) hop-on, hop-off bus around the city… that took us from Fisherman’s Wharf, down by the Golden Gate Bridge, over to Haight Ashbury, through Little Italy and Chinatown. At the end of the tour, we took the bus back to Fisherman’s Wharf where we hopped on a ferry over to Alcatraz! This was one of Kiera’s favorite stops on the trips, and she took so many pictures of the place that we thought she might like us to leave her there.

San Francisco Travelers! Standing in front of the Full House row… which they happen to be blocking

Alcatraz has a deeper history than many think. Featured in the movie “The Rock”, we almost always remember the island as a maximum-security prison known for its infamous prisoners and even more famous escape attempts. However, the area has had many other uses as well. After the U.S. acquired California in the Mexican-American War, it was used as a military garrison by the Union Army in the Civil War to protect the area against Confederate sympathizers. The island then went through its many years as a military prison before it became too expensive to maintain. The most surprising use of Alcatraz, in my opinion, was when Native Americans took it over in 1969 as a means of protest against new federal laws against their customs and ways of life. They occupied the island for nearly two years, and now if you ever visit the island, you will see spray painted letters on the main building saying, “Indians Welcome”.

Alcatraz Island from the ferry boat

That night, we went out to a great Italian dinner with Torrey’s cousin Dan and his wife Mary, also joined by Johnny again who came up from Santa Cruz. Given the large number of family members present, we underwent a “photo war” with the east coast cousins. With three hours on them and some new Australian friends that we met at a local bar, think it’s safe to say that we won:

Photo wars commence… we are not really sure who that guy on the left is

The next day in San Francisco was beautiful, and we all rented bikes and went across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Despite the incredible amount of pedestrian traffic on the bridge, we made it across… white knuckles all the way. We had an amazing lunch, somehow lost Mary for an hour, did some shopping and headed back across. Johnny then managed to secure a sailboat in the bay (he’s quite the jack of all trades) for us to use that afternoon. Oddly enough for such a nice day, we were one of the only boats out of the harbor.

The crew’s all here!

That afternoon, Johnny managed to find a sailboat for us to use so we all went out for a cruise around the bay. Oddly enough, we were one of the only boats out there! We sailed around checking out all of the cargo and tanker ships anchored in the bay and enjoyed the beautiful weather and nice wind as the sun set over San Francisco.

For our last night in the city, we went over to Dan and Mary’s, had some great Mexican food and got to spend some time with their kids (Torrey’s second cousins) Danny and Jack. A note to you all: please move back to the east coast so we can see you all more!

Danny and Jack… no caption necessary.

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