Woah. Well, I’m back – much lighter in the wallet but much, much richer nonetheless. Oh, too cheesy? Sorry, I’ll stop.
The last couple of days in America were a whirlwind of travel, crab, and copious amounts of alcohol. Rickhouse in San Francisco make a damn fine Old Fashioned. They come with complementary hangovers, too – so you get plenty of bang for your buck.
We ate and drank a lot.
And – a fact that I’m not proud of – my last day in America was spent extremely hungover, gorging on a Big Mac (the ultimate hangover cure), and incorrectly referring to Alcatraz as “Alakazam” and “Azkaban“. After the boozy night prior, I was unable to actually make it to the ferry out to Alcatraz. This makes me (and my $50 pre-paid ticket) mighty sad.
I’ve been home for a couple of days now and the last month (and limited sleep on the plane) is catching up with me. No run yet, but I’ve managed to go out for every meal and hang out with friends at the beach on a very sunny day here in Wellington.
That, I think, is the epitome of success. Or maybe tied for first place with a nap. Work tomorrow!
The last couple of days have been the best days of the trip so far. I got to hang out with a bunch of friends (and new acquaintances) and and around San Francisco.
After a brief dinner in the city Thursday night, I headed with them out to their place in Berkeley rather than wander back to the hostel for a quiet night in. I’m glad I did, and we got some quality catching-up in.
Friday allowed for a sleep in before we jumped in the Mercedes for the hour drive out to Napa Valley. None of us had breakfast – though our gracious host did walk down to Phil’s Coffee with me and managed my expectations in relation to American coffee while we waited for the others to change. By the time we got out there (about 1pm) we were famished!
Thankfully, Domaine Carneros – our first stop – had some tasty cheeses and meats to placate us. Their bubbles weren’t bad either. Actually, they were pretty good. Better than pretty good, even.
Given the choice, I’d definitely go back. Not only was the wine and food awesome, so was the setting – the tastings were in a gorgeous building standing proud upon the hill. We were seated by a fireplace, decorated for Christmas, and the service was great.
Our second stop was Cuvaison Estate, next door. This one was focused on still wines – a mix of white and reds.
Not only was the wine completely different to our first stop, so was the setting for the tasting. We were in a modern building with giant windows looking out onto the vineyard. It was a great place, too, but probably more fitting for the summer – when Napa’s at its best.
We grabbed a bottle of our favourite red from Cuvaison and headed into the city for a quality steak. Cue Bob’s Steak and Chop House in the city. They served a good steak. Perfect steak. And the beefsteak tomato salad was pretty tasty, too.
San Francisco pulled out a fantastic day today – there’s not a cloud in the sky, and the sun’s shining without any sign of hesitation. Of course, it’s still a little chilly but it’s not too different to the temperature at home in Wellington, NZ.
Say what you will about the hills, so far I’ve found San Francisco to be a very walkable city.
This morning I did a loop around from my downtown hostel to Nob Hill, and down to Fisherman’s Wharf via Chinatown. The hills were definitely steep in places, and I even tried jogging the steeper part of Mason St at one point. It didn’t kill me! I just regretted wearing so many merino layers for it.
You live and learn.
The highlight of the day was a 90 minute “bridge to bridge” cruise/tour of the bay. It was a well paced, casual ride and not too busy. I had a prime spot at the back of the boat for picture taking, too, which was great.
Dinner tonight with friends who are also in the city for a couple of nights, and Napa tomorrow (assuming the weather doesn’t pack it in completely)!
…unless you’re traveling to the other side of it. But that’s all part of the adventure!
We’re going on a holiday! We went and saw our travel agent today to try and firm up our flights for the end of the year.
New Zealand’s a long way from anywhere so we’ve really got to try and make the most out of any long distance travel. This often means packing in a lot of stops in the time available. We have a very busy 5 weeks planned for the Christmas/New Year break…
… fly into Los Angeles…
… Christmas in Las Vegas …
… New Years in New York City (Times Square, anyone?) …
… London, and possibly a night in Edinburgh…
… Munich for several nights Bavarian awesomeness…
… overnight train to Amsterdam…
… sightseeing in Paris, and…
… stop off in San Francisco on the way home.
See – it’ll be all go for 5 weeks of very exciting travel.
We’ve both travelled before, but to different places. I did London, Paris and a Contiki around Italy just over a year ago. The Boyfriend lived in Canada for a short while a couple of years ago and saw a bit of North America. We both had things we really wanted to show the other, and each of us had burning desires to see some of the awesome places the other had talked about so often. I think our current itinerary addresses a lot of those.
And what better time to do than while we’re young, happy, and still have disposable incomes?
There are a hundred and one different things that each of us want to see and I don’t think we’ll be able to fit everything in. Actually, I know we won’t.
So do you have any recommendations or suggestions for things we just have to see?
Are you a local in these areas? Is there something that epitomizes your city that tourists just aren’t aware of (yet)?
Or, perhaps more importantly, is there anything that we should avoid at all costs?