J's friend let us stay a couple nights in her condo, which happened to be the perfect location in SF for exploring. I never realized how hilly the city was until we were walking back and it was completely uphill. The picture above was actually one of the smaller hills.
On the first day, we discovered the Boudin bakery, a left-handed store, a performing pirate (which Ryan would have loved), a couple of lonely sea lions, and some various touristy shops. I ended up with a shirt that says "I'm left handed, but I'm always right."
We also saw Alcatraz Island, home of the infamous prison from the early 1900's. They built it on an island so that the criminals couldn't escape. Clever.
The next day, we had brunch at one of J's favorite restaurants, where I ate entirely too much. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my ever-growing (baby) tummy, so I ordered enough for five people and devoured it. Afterwards, we headed out for some more sight-seeing.
Our first stop was the Japanese Tea Gardens at Golden Gate Park. We walked around, drank some tea, and enjoyed the amazing weather. It was warm with a sharp crispness in the air.
We then discovered the California Academy of Sciences, which is a huge interactive museum filled with everything from earthquake simulations to rain forests to penguins. I found a few souvenirs for Ryan: non-scary dinosaur figurines and a crocodile t-shirt.
Next, we decided to stop and take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was kind of underwhelming, but I'm still glad that I got to see it.
That night for dinner, we met up with K and J's friend and went out for Spanish tapas at a place right near the condo. We shared everything, so I had the opportunity to try some new things that I normally wouldn't order. It was all so yummy!
Monterey and Carmel
We did the 17 mile drive, walked to find the best views, stopped for a delicious picnic lunch, visited Pebble Beach and Carmel-on-the-beach, and then headed down towards Big Sur and the Bixby Bridge.
I found it all to be absolutely breathtaking and soothing for the soul. If only every day in this fast-paced, crazy life could be so peaceful. I know that one day in the future, when things get hectic, I will think back to this moment and remember how I felt.
We then checked in to a hotel in Monterey and went out that evening to the local Fisherman's Wharf.
We were fascinated by the dozens of sea lions that gathered around the dock. They were so animated and alarmingly loud. I think that we could have watched them for hours.
We had dinner at another amazing restaurant (we ate well on this trip) and received roses on our way out. It was a little random, but I guess it was nice?
The next day, we drove to Davis to see K's place before heading to the airport. We stopped at a local farmer's market for fresh fruit for lunch. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip with my favorite ladies.
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”