Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair....

We woke up to the sound of waves and a fog horn in Half Moon Bay. I wished we had had some time to explore the area, as our room was phenominal and the town appeared to have much to offer!

The sitting area
We stayed at The Beach House. Each room is set up as a suite and has a view of the ocean. We were double upgraded when we arrived so we had two balconies with ocean views in a corner suite! It had a king bed, a huge bathroom with a separate tub and shower, a kitchenette, a fireplace, and a separate sitting and eating area! Ryan was a little annoyed that the mini bar was not stocked, but we distracted ourselves by sitting in the outdoor hot tub next to the ocean the night before.

The view from our room

Look how close we are to the ocean!

The Ritz
After some business calls we hit the road once more. We headed for our next hotel, The Ritz Carlton of San Francisco, where Ryan's conference would be held. It wasn't check in time yet, but of course the Ritz was happy to take our bags for us until our room was ready. We dropped off the rental car and then jumped on a double decker bus!

Lots of means of transportion in the city!  These are super cool!!


On top of the bus!


Another way to get around!  The famous Trolley!

Yes, we took the tourist route with the hundreds of other people with the video cameras and fanny packs. I know that some people think taking little tours like these are corny, but I LOVE them! I really do! I even like the corney jokes! It was the fastest and easiest way to learn about a new place and its inhabitants. We were able to jump on and off the bus at different stops. The top was open so that was the best place to sit. If you get stuck on the bottom of the bus you can't see much especially if your bus has windows that look like they have screens in them. If you wait for a popular stop like Chinatown you can skirt up to the top for a new open air seat!

Be aware that San Francisco has the lowest average yearly temperature in the United States! The warmest month is September but while we were there it was in the mid 60s. With the wind coming off the ocean this makes it very chilly, especially when you are the top of a moving bus on the San Francisco bridge with no sun! Be sure to bring warm clothing!!! Our entire group was not prepared for the weather and everyone ended up wearing matching sweatshirts with a San Francisco logo on it!

On our tour we saw Lombard Street, Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge, Japanese Tea Garden, The Wharf, Pier 39, Postcard Row, and much more! We learned which neighborhoods to stay away from, where to shop, and where to eat. I loved the city! It was jam packed full of people and buildings which all seemed to be right on top of one another! Everyone was going somewhere and it was never quiet! I always felt safe and never out of place as the combination of people in this city is fantastic! It feels like the entire world is represented in a few small blocks!
The Painted Ladies

The skyline by the Painted Ladies
It is cold on the bridge on top of a bus!!


Golden Gate Bridge



Chinatown


Yummy sushi in Chinatown!  They came by on little boats!


Shark fins anyone?  I have no idea what else is in there!
An alley in Chinatown

The the end of Pier 39


Alcatraz



The sea lions at Pier 39


Fisherman's Wharf

Yummy food down at the Wharf



A few quick hints about the city:
  1.  If you want to see the massive sea lions on Pier 39 instead of going right down the middle of the pier where all of the shops are go to the left side and walk down.  You will have the shops on your right and the boats on your left.  The seals are all the way down at the end past the boats laying on the docks.  They are smelly, but fun to watch! 
  2.  For the best prices on souvenirs do your shopping in Chinatown!  This is especially true if you are looking for things for your kids.  I ended up buying a few things to give at Christmas time as well because the prices were so great!  There are a ton of shops everywhere.  The items in the shop on Alcatraz are different from the items in the shop on Pier 39 that is called Alcatraz.
  3. Union Hill has a lot of shopping as well, but it isn't a "touristy" place with trinkets.  It has stores like Gap. 
  4. If you go to Postcard Row or the Painted Ladies, (these are the victorian style houses seen on the opening of Full House) be sure to walk up the hill in the park across the street.  You will then be able to see the San Francisco skyline above the house which makes for a great photo shoot! (I didn't realize this until it was too late!)
  5. Take a tour!  This city is jam packed full of things to see and do and you can spend months in it and never know about what was around the corner!  Once you get the lay of the land you can pick what to go back to and explore more in depth. 
  6. Go for comfort over fashion.  You can walk everywhere, but you will have to do some walking uphill - dress for that.  Dress in layers.  In the sun it can be warm, but even if the forecast calls for sunny and in the 70s you will get that breeze off of the ocean and lots of fog so you can feel chilly easily!

We found our way back to our hotel by walking up hill. I have never experienced streets quite so steep before! We were out of breath by the time we reached our hotel. The Ritz is all it is cracked up to be. You know you have made it when you visit their public restroom and find soft hand towels to dry your hands instead of hand dryers or throw away towels! It also says something when you wake up one morning with a bomb squad and police patroling the building because George W. Bush has checked in! (Unfortunately, we didn't see him, but two men in our group were able to shake his hand in the lobby!) Ryan was most excited about the stocked mini bar. (This was before George W. was in the hotel.) I liked the view we had of Chinatown which was a few blocks away.

What I like best about the city!!  All of the people and organized chaos!!
Our night ended after a welcome reception with Ryan's business associates and some time spent in the hotel bar. We only see most of these people once or twice a year for very brief periods of time, but when everyone is together we all pick up where we left off and I always walk away with a sore face and gut from laughing so hard!

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