This weekend Andrew and I were able to fly to San Francisco and visit with Andrew's Aunt Pam and Uncle Barry. It was truly a treat.
Andrew and I have loved going on spontaneous trips when we can. I had an extra long weekend coming up and we knew we wanted to go out of town. Our original plan was to go to to St. George and Zion's National Park, but honestly I feel like we just went there not too long ago.
So in a spur of the moment decision, we called up Aunt Pam and quickly discovered that we were welcome to stay at her house in San Francisco for the weekend. We booked flights and started packing.
Day one was rainy...and traffic-y. We had tickets to go to Alcatraz Island at 10:30, but at 10:30 we were still stuck in traffic. I can't lie, both Andrew and I were really bummed, so we decided to go to the pier where the Alcatraz cruises dock and ask them if there was any way we could go at a later time. (Mind you, the tickets very sternly state: NO REFUNDS, NO LATE TICKETS, NO NICE PEOPLE AT THIS PIER.... ok, the last one is fake, but that is how it made us feel). Luckily, the people at the ticket booth were very understanding and we were able to board the next boat that left for the island.
Alcatraz was a very cool experience. They have these headset tours that give you all the information as you walk through the dark hallways and peer into individual prison cells. I find the escape attempts (especially the famous one featured in "Escape From Alcatraz") fascinating. It's pretty scary to think that these remarkably dangerous men were housed just a short distance from the bustling city of San Francisco, but the strong ocean currents and temperamental weather definitely kept it secure, and there are no known successful escape stories.
While we were on Alcatraz, Andrew actually ran into one of his friends from work. Crazy! Once we returned to the city, we ended up walking Pier 39 with them and getting lunch together. It was awesome. Then Andrew and I walked around Fisherman's Warf and Ghirradeli Square until we decided to go driving. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and went to the Muir Wood National Forest. Luckily by that time, the rain had decided to stop and our walk through fantastic redwood trees was only a little muddy. Once we were finished there, we decided to head back to Aunt Pam's house for the night.
Day 2 consisted of us riding the big tour busses around the city to see the main touristy sights. These buses are awesome because you can just hop on and off as you please. We were able to see the traditional Painted Ladies (homes that still have their original embellished charms), visit the Japanese Tea Gardens, cross the Golden Gate Bridge (4 times, in fact! Which was a bit much), eat lunch in Sausalito, and explore a little in Chinatown.
Now, in our tour bus ticket, it also included a night-bus tour. (No, not like the Harry Potter night bus....I wish!) The night bus tour was a 2 hour, no-stop tour around the city to see some beautiful sunsets and fabulous nighttime shots. Unfortunately, 20 minutes into the night tour my body was done with buses. I had a headache and felt sick to my stomach. My amazing and caring husband interrupted the guy giving the tour to tell him I was not feeling well. The bus driver made an emergency stop for me, and we were off. A quick Lyft ride back to our car and we were on our way back to Aunt Pam's, where I went directly to the bedroom and fell fast asleep. I was sorry to be such a party pooper at that point, but I just felt so terrible.
We left the next morning after cleaning up. It was a great trip, but honestly one of my favorite parts of the vacation was eating breakfast with Aunt Pam and getting to know her. Uncle Barry was already at work by the time we made breakfast, but we did get to share one meal with him and get to talk to him about his work and life. Aunt Pam is a gem. She is so hospitable and caring. She has had some surgeries on her hips and can't walk around very efficiently, nonetheless she was always asking us what we wanted from the fridge or what food we liked so that she could buy it from the store. We would sit at breakfast for a long time and hear her stories about her life, kids, grandkids, and so much more. After this trip, it is very clear why Andrew talks to highly of his Aunt Pam.
Andrew and Maichael
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