Thursday, November 5, 2009

Napa to San Francisco

With a heavy heart I left sunny Napa Valley on Tuesday and headed to San Francisco; what a fabulous, lively city! It was equally as sunny and warm and fabulous. Every place I am lucky enough to visit in CA offers something great, I am so lucky I get to explore this state top to bottom.
I've been staying at these Bed&Breakfasts totally on a whim. No planning ahead, just wake up, go on line and 10 minutes later, have something booked for that evening. Most are owned by grannies and grampies who are totally adorable and welcome you with open arms. Plus with the economy being as such and staying here and there midweek, they are glad to cut a weary traveler a deal. This place is called the Golden Gate Hotel which is in an A+ location, two blocks from Chinatown, two blocks from Union Square, close to Fishermans Wharf, etc.
When you click on there website the first picture has a cat...which would normally be a red flag. But as you read on you learn that 'Pip' lives there and greets each guest; plus, he, like me, has his own blog (see lower right hand corner of their home page) and he gives you the dish on what to do in San Francisco. And just like they say, he is literally at the front door and greets you.
The front desk is where Pip hangs out with the guests. Even if you despise cats, you'll love him. He's full of love and sweetness.
My old hotel has the coolest potties with sinks built in! When you flush, water comes out of the top. The bathroom was teeny tiny so I guess this is a space saver, I think we need to bring this concept back...unless you are washing up with toilet water from the tank? In that case, not so cool.
My little bedroom was so cute, robin's egg blue and brown, my favorite. And there was a sink in the bedroom, just like my grandma's house.
Humorous sign in the shared bathroom...I know, I know, yucky to share a bathroom in a Bed&Breakfast but actually it worked out perfectly as there was no one staying around me I had it all to myself right across the hall so I paid a 'shared' rate and got 'private' accommodations.
Realizing there was more to San Francisco than old hotel bathrooms I ventured two blocks away to Chinatown which was lively and colorful and a great way to spend the afternoon.
I've hardly collected anything from all of the places I've been but two things I did get here were an excellent 16" cast iron wok from this facinating Chinese family who took the time to explain how to prep it before its very first use and a jade bracelet which symbolizes good luck, health and protects from evil. Its one of those where they have to squish it onto your wrist, I can't imagine ever getting it off...perhaps with a hammer.
Another great thing about staying at a Bed&Breakfast or a boutique is that the guest all become family. This couple had an extra ticket to this sightseeing tour which was great, an expense I would normally pass up on being on a tight budget but this was a great way to see the city.
Loving these houses and their colors.
Some of the 'painted ladies'.
San Francisco skyline.
Moreso than driving up and down those super steep streets I really wanted to ride on a cable car. This spot was at the bottom of the hill where the track ends. The car stops on the circular piece which rotates around and repositions the car facing back up the hill.
Loved San Francisco, got to see a good part of it and will definitely be back.

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