The very first day we stopped off in Monteray to visit Cannery Row and the Aquarium. We had a lot of fun, and for being thirty-five weeks pregnant I did pretty well walking around for parking four blocks away and spending about three hours on foot touring the place! Here is some footage I got of the big fish tank at the Aquarium:
And a few pictures from our visit:
We made it up to Hayward just in time for dinner that night where we were welcomed into Sean's grandparents home with a delicious meal, lasagna and artichokes! Artichokes are pretty much my favorite food, and these ones were SO good! We had a very nice time visiting with his grandparents over dinner that night, and got all our stuff settled in for the five days we would be staying. On Friday we stayed in Hayward. Sean drove me around the town a bit and showed me where he grew up. I made him stand out in front of the house he grew up in so I could get this picture:
He also took me to this little shop called the "Ice Creamery" which was one of his favorite eateries as a child. I was kind of sad for him, because we ate lunch there and it wasn't as good as he remembered. He didn't really care for his food, especially the clam chowder- it looked horrible, and on top of that we got the worst service ever. By the time we were done with our lunch we were too full to even try the Ice Cream, although I'm sure that would have been good seeing it is their specialty. We also went to the local... and very ghetto... mall that day, in search of a new pair of Crocs for me as my little swollen feet were hurting from my tennis shoes being too tight, and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it a whole day in the City with them! I was finally successful in finding what I needed after a lot of looking.
Saturday morning we got up and headed down to the Bart station to catch a train into San Francisco.
I was a little scared about taking the Bart under the Bay... I was so worried we'd get stuck under there somehow. But then I just kept thinking about labor and childbirth and all that I will be going through in less than five weeks, and we were at our first stop in the city. We had a great day in the city, and I was so glad I bought my Crocs because there was only one time, after we walked six long blocks and one of them uphill where my feet started to hurt. I did really well walking around the City that day- even though I probably did more walking than what was good for me. We started off our day at the Powell St. Station and hopped on the Cable Car to get down to Fisherman's Warf. We waited in line for about an hour just to get on the car... well Sean waited in line, while I took a tour of the Baby Gap!
We made it down to Fisherman's Warf where we spent some time checking out the shops and having lunch. We also stopped watched the Sea Lions at Pier 39!
I think the highlight of our whole time in San Francisco was the Bay Adventure Cruise we took with the Blue & Gold Fleet out of Pier 39. We spent an hour on a boat that took us around the bay. We went underneath the golden gate bridge, around Alcatraz, and then out to check out the Bay Bridge and saw some amazing views of the city. There was some educational narration on the tour about San Francisco, and specifically the parts we were seeing. I thought it was pretty well done, and not to cheesy! It was very cold and windy from the boat, but it was worth it for all that we got to experience. I was wearing shorts that day, and we had both forgotten our jackets. For the other parts of the day we were just fine, and not too cold... but it just gets really windy out on that boat!
After our little bay excursion, it was time for a six block walk over and up to Ghirardelli Square. We somehow ended up in the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop, where we found the most amazing Ice Cream I have ever tasted. It was Ghirardelli's Rocky Road in a Chocolate Dipped Waffle Cone.
We ended our day in San Francisco with one more trip back to Powell Station on the Cable Car, and then hopped on the Bart for our trip to back to Hayward in time for dinner. I cooked Sean one of his favorite meals- Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomato Alfredo sauce, Caesar Salad, and Garlic Bread! After that we were both pretty tired and we're very glad that we had planned to rest a day before venturing back into the city!
We spent Father's Day at "home" in Hayward with Sean's Grandparents. There is this Italian style restaurant called Banchero's that they frequent for special occasions. I had heard all about it, and how it is a family tradition to take the whole family there every Mother's Day. But since this was my first visit up to the area, Sean's grandparents treated us to lunch there. The food was great, but mostly it was neat to get a little glimpse into the family traditions! I really enjoy Sean's grandparents. I especially enjoy listening to all the great stories that his grandpa tells about the kids growing up! We had a really nice time just resting on Sunday and visiting with them. We also went back over to Sean's old neighborhood and visited a family friend from Sean's childhood.
On Monday we decided to brave San Francisco again. Although this time with much less success. Word to the wise: SAN FRANCISCO IS CLOSED ON MONDAY! Seriously... We had planned to set off into the City an hour earlier than our Saturday trip. This is because we knew we'd be fighting the commuters for a seat on the Bart to get home if we left any later than 4:00pm. So we arrived at the Powell St. Station at about 9:20am. This time however I noticed an exit into this mall, that I just had to check out. It was six stories, and I'd never seen anything like it!
We ventured into one or two shops and then just rode the escalators up to the top and back, just for kicks. Then we decided we should be on our way, because we had a lot to see and not too much time to see it in. Since our destinations were quite far between, I used the online trip planner provided by Muni. It wrote down where we were going, which busses to take, where the bus stops were, and how often the bus came by each stop. The trip planner let me select based on my preferences of less walking time over a shorter bus route, and according to the selections made online we shouldn't have had to walk more than 1/8 of a mile at any given stop to get to our destination. The whole bus thing went ALL wrong! First off, the stops it told us to get off on were much further than 1/8 of a mile from our destination- and the worst part is that there were ones two or three stops prior that were MUCH closer to where we needed to go. The very first bus of the day we boarded... bus #5... broke down on us before it even got to the next stop. It turned out the power lines had gone down for that block and they couldn't get them up and running for a while. And since I didn't have my laptop or internet access in the City it was impossible for me to go online and figure out a new route!
About an hour later they had finally fixed the broken down bus, and we re-boarded to head over to the Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park. This is one of those bus stops that we should have been told to get off about four exits earlier, as we ended up walking probably over a mile in the park just to get the conservatory. When we got there, we were disappointed to find out that it was CLOSED on Mondays! We did however get lots of pretty pics from the outside!
Now the problem with the fact that the bus gave us the wrong stop to get off at, means that the route to exit that location is also in the same place as where we originally got off. This would mean another mile walk back to the bus stop to get on the correct bus. We decided to go out to the stop where we should have originally gotten off- only to find that the bus line we needed to get to our next destination didn't depart from that stop. At least there was a map at that one, because we were able to figure out where we needed to go, even though it required three line transfers. By now its about 12:30pm and we still haven't done anything other than walk around and ride on busses. We finally have reached our next destination, The Exploratorium! Well the area to get to the entrance happened to be under construction, so there were signs routing us around the building to enter on the other side. After about five minutes of walking we saw a sign that said "Entrance... 250 meters ahead". After commenting that we would be walking the distance of two and a half football fields, I made a joke about this being closed on Monday's too. Well much to my chagrin, that happened to be just the case! I'm not sure why I never checked the operating hours of these attractions, I guess I just assumed they would be open on a Monday, especially since most schools had let out and being the beginning of summer I would expect an infulx of tourists! It was rather disappointing that our day had started off like this, but at that point I was amused and we were both in good spirits. We had gotten good exercise, gotten to see some beautiful quiet scenery away from the rush of the city, and best of all we had gotten to enjoy each others company! Too many things had gone wrong that day, that it became humorous and we weren't going to let it ruin or trip! On the plus side, we did save ourselves a combined total of $40 in admission to both attractions.
Thankfully, the bus stop for this one was close. It turned out we could really walk through the area that was "under construction", as that construction was just to the side and all fenced off. I'm not sure why the signs were so misleading- but I'm guessing they didn't want a whole lot of foot traffic going in and out. We got on our next bus and headed back over to Ghiradelli Square. Of course, our stop never came up- and we ended up going a few blocks past so we jumped off the bus as soon as we realized and walked back the rest of the way. Sean wanted Ice Cream again, I was pretty cold and opted for some Hot Cocoa!
After resting a bit we decided to continue the journey on foot down to Fisherman's Warf to get some lunch and take a quick tour of the Boudin Factory. You see we had planned this tour for Saturday on our first trip over, but it ended up being closed due to some private party. The tour wasn't anything special, it was self guided and as you can imagine it smelled amazing as they were baking the frest baked bread! We ended up taking home a very cute little loaf, shaped into a turtle! And we got some fun pictures as well.
It was getting to be close to 4:00pm and being quite pregnant it was important to make sure I was able to get a seat for the trip back across the bay. So we picked up a little gift for our neice, Eliann and then headed over to the F-Line Streetcar stop to take us to the Embarcadero Bart Station. We were one of the first ones in line for the next car, but much to my disappointment it pulled up past where the line had formed and all the people in the back of the line pushed their way through to the opening. The car was too full and there was no more room. The streetcar operator told us we would have to wait for the next one. After a lot of walking, and a lot of standing and waiting I was really needing to sit down- but I didn't want to risk losing our place in line. So we stood excatly where the last cars doors had opened and waited another fifteen minutes for the next car. By this time a long line had formed behind us, there had to have been atleast sixty eighty people! Well the next car pulls up to a different place than we were all standing and its a mad dash as the doors open. We fight our way inside and get crammed among the car in standing room only. I had to hold on to the rail with one hand and guard my pockets with the other... in a crowed that tight it would have been way to easy to get pick-pocketed. Oh well, at least we were finally on our way out of San Francisco...
Or at least so we thought! When we arrived to the Bart station it seemed we were early enough to beat the mass rush of commuters that fill the downtown stations as they end their workdays. However the green line train which took us back to Hayward happened to be delayed somehow, and had to be taken off the tracks. The next train didn't get to the station until about 5:20pm, which means that it had stopped at all the other downtown locations and picked up commuters already off of work. We were at the last station before the train would cross under the bay, leaving the city. It was packed just as tightly as Streetcar, but I was so ready to be home I didn't care. I would stand the whole way if I had to. The operator announces to please give up your seat for the elderly, disabled or pregnant- but it was too crowded for anyone to even notice that I was pregnant, and even if they did I doubt they would care. Everyone seemed annoyed to be there and anxious to get to where they were going. I guess the Bart has gotten a lot more crowded since the cost of fuel has skyrocketed. Thankfully I only had to ride the first five minutes standing up, as we approached the first stop in Oakland the two people sitting directly infront of us got up to leave and we quickly snatched their seats for the rest of the way home! We made it back safe and sound by 6:00pm. It sure wasn't the day we planned, but it was an adventure none the less. And we did enjoy each others company through the whole ordeal!
The next morning we got up, packed our stuff and headed home to Atascadero! And it only took us about three hours to get back, the drive home was a lot less eventful than our Monday in San Francisco. It was sure nice to sleep in my own bed again... and after all that, I'm really thankful that Sean has one more day off of work to recover from our vacation! With just about a month left before the baby arrives, I'm really glad we decided to get away for a few days!