Friday, January 23, 2015

The 40th Anniversary Trip, Part I - San Francisco

When we decided last summer that we would celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary by going to Hawaii, it was a no brainer that we would begin our trip by making a stop in San Francisco.  We had visited this city on two previous occasions and loved it, but it had been thirty years since we were there.

Our hotel was located just a block away from the famed Fisherman's Wharf.

The Wharf was not as I had remembered it.  A great place to see, to be sure, but much of it has become inundated with touristy-type of junk places, t-shirt shops, cheap souvenirs, stuff like that, but there are still some fabulous places to eat.  At the suggestion of friend Jerry Frissora, on our first night there we ate at this place,

It is right on the Wharf, right by some grungy docks and boat areas, but our meal there was probably the best one we had during our entire trip.  The cioppino, for example,

served with fresh hot sourdough garlic bread was not to be believed.  So, thank you Jerry!

We rode public transportation (a $2.25 far got you a transfer that you could use for the entire day!) on the full day that we were there.  Went to the North Beach district and ate lunch at this neat place...

We sat at a small table on the sidewalk in front of the place.  Made us feel like part of Tony Soprano's crew sitting in front of Satriale's!

We also took the bus to the top of Telegraph Hill, and visited this place, Coit Tower, which you have no doubt seen on dozens of TV shows and movies filmed in San Francisco.

Coit Tower was built in the early 1930's to be a landmark for the City, and on the inside, there were several wall murals that were painted by local California artists as a method of providing employment through FDR's Works Progress Administration.  The paintings were fabulous.  Here is a sample, a photo that in no way gives these murals justice:

A trip to the top of Coit Tower provides some spectacular views of the City.

Dinner on our second night was also on the Wharf,

and featured clam chowder served in a bread bowl.

Here's a great story from our time in San Francisco.  I stopped at the concierge desk for some advice and spoke with a lovely young woman named Jennifer Speigel.  During our conversation, it comes out that while Jennifer has lived in SF for over fifteen years, she is actually from Pittsburgh.  Where in Pittsburgh, I ask, and she says, are you ready for this, Squirrel Hill!  Did you go to Allderdice, I ask, no, she says, I went to Oakland Catholic, whereupon I tell her that I went to Central.  At this point, given our respective ages, I wanted to use my old friend Chuck Spatafore's great line "Oh my God, I think I dated your mother!", but I didn't. 

Just goes to show that you can never get to far away from Pittsburgh no matter where you are (and I have a similar story to tell about an encounter later in the trip while in Maui).

The stop over in San Francisco was great.  We had a wonderful visit, and it was a wise way to begin our trip.

One part of our San Francisco trip that I haven't mentioned was a guided tour that we took of this place:

That part of the story, however, deserves its own separate Grandstander post.

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