Friday, July 27, 2012

Vacation with Cousins in San Francisco-Day 1!

View from our hotel room
 Earlier this week, Stewart's cousin M and her daughter C were visiting from Portland. We wanted to maximize our time with them so I decided to take the kids with me and stay in a hotel for one night in San Francisco. We wanted to get a room in a hotel with a pool, but those are few and far between in San Francisco. The Palace Hotel pool looks really great, though, so if there is a next time we'll definitely try to book it early (it was sold out by the time I made the reservation). We ended up at the Westin San Francisco Market Street, which is right by one of our favorite areas in SF, the Yerba Buena Gardens. The location is perfect, close enough to all the touristy things and to public transport, and to Beard Papa, which unfortunately was closed by the time we were ready for dessert that night.

Knowing we had a great place to rest that night, we were ready to explore the city. We started out after lunch with our first stop at Bi-Rite Creamery. Whenever we go on the weekend, the line is out the door to the corner of Dolores Street so we end up getting soft serve or the ice cream sandwich. Today we had perfect timing. Someone was leaving so we got a parking spot without having to circle the block. After several attempts, I parallel parked the minivan and we walked up to the ice cream hot spot. No line!!!! Amazing! I tried several of the flavors before choosing white chocolate with raspberry swirl, something I could share with E. R got his usual strawberry and H got his chocolate. Cousin C doesn't like ice cream so she chose the handmade pistachio caramel corn, delicious! Right after we arrived, though, a line had started forming and it was out the door and a few steps down. Such good luck!

Then it was on to Lombard Street. I had never driven on the street before, only climbed up the steps a decade ago. The drive up the road to go down the street was pretty steep. I thought we would flip over and fall off. Because of the long line of cars, it was stop and go and we started sliding backwards several times. Cousin M asked me if I had been doing it to thrill the kiddos, but no. Thank goodness I haven't worn out the brakes on the swagger wagon! R was scared to go down the street so he and Cousin M walked down. They walked faster than we drove. I put the car into 1st gear so we would go as slowly as possible. I'm not even sure that's right but it made me feel better. If you go, remember it's only one way beginning at Hyde St.

Pretending to be sorry for throwing his water bottle
Our final tourist destination of the day--the Golden Gate Bridge! I've driven over several times but I've never actually walked on it. If you go to the parking lot right next to the bridge and find it full, don't be dismayed! There is a bigger parking lot if you drive down a bit. The walk was a lot of fun. We made sure to wear our jackets because it does get very windy up there. Cousin M spotted quite a few dolphins, and Cousin C said she saw a shark. Maybe it was wishful thinking on C's part but I'm not about to go in the water to find out. Something of ours did go into the water, however. R couldn't resist the temptation to throw something over from such a high place. Of course, he chose his stainless steel water bottle. I know it was deliberate, because I had bought H&E new ones last week. Previously he had been the only one with a cool stainless steel one, but now it wasn't *new*. I had done something similar when I was a child. In kindergarten I wanted a new sketch pad so I put a line on every page of my old one so I could tell the teacher I was done. She saw right through that trick and made me keep the one I had. So R will go back to drinking from a plastic water bottle until he learns he can't be rewarded for bad behavior!

After the bridge, we made our way to the hotel. I had checked the yelp reviews and the first one said that parking at the Hearst Building across the street was $25/day, which is a steal compared to the Westin's $59/day. No brainer. When we walked out of the parking lot, we saw there was a California Pizza Kitchen on the ground floor. Again, no brainer. Mac&cheese and pasta for the kids, Korean beef taco for me. I would have preferred to go to Super Duper or Amber (Indian) but I knew the kids wouldn't eat much there. One thing that irked me at CPK was that, after we had walked in and the hostess grabbed menus for us, a couple came in. She decided to seat the couple first, I guess because she thought it would be quicker and less of a hassle for her. Not cool young lady, one day you will have kids too and being treated like a second class citizen because you have them will make you feel terrible!

Then nighttime at the hotel. 12 hours in one room with 3 kids. Imagine what you will.

To be continued with Day 2 in my next post.

No comments: