On Monday and Tuesday I wandered around the city while James was in meetings. I was a little nervous about venturing out on my own, but once I got out there, I was fine. Monday I set out on foot to explore the nearby neighborhoods of Nob Hill and Russian Hill. I walked over Nob Hill, checking out Grace Cathedral and the Cable Car museum along the way. I then hoofed (more like huffed and puffed) over Russian Hill. This was probably my favorite part of the city with awesome views of the bay and streets that ended in stairways through lush gardens. Here I saw Lombard Street, the "crookedest street in the world", which is a block of incredibly tight switchbacks. I've never seen anything like it, not even in Europe, and people were actually driving it! I then milled around a little at Fisherman's Wharf and the Maritime Park, got a hot cocoa at Ghirardelli Square, and then headed back toward the hotel on the famous Cable Car. The Cable Car system is truly amazing (each line is one continuously moving cable that the car drivers "grip" onto in order to move). After a short break back at the hotel, I then headed to the SF Museum of Modern Art for a little cultre. This was a nice museum and a good way to kill some time out of the rain. James and I then ventured out for dinner and ended up at a small French restaurant where we sat at the bar and enjoyed a great conversation with the Italian bar tender and a local couple (a political science professor and an audiologist). It was a nice leisurely end to the day.
Tuesday was a little more rainy and I was glad for my decision to utilize public transportation (though this by no means kept me from getting WET!). I headed out in the morning to the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park. The museum was incredible - both the architecture and the collections. The 9-story observation tower offered great views of the city. I also got to see a little of Golden Gate Park and the Lower Haight and Inner Sunset neighborhoods while riding the Muni. I didn't get to spend nearly enough time at de Young, but had tickets to Alcatraz in the afternoon, and I had to get across town, so pulled myself away and headed back to the Piers. What a nasty, wet afternoon! I got sick of listening to the tourists complaining about the rain... But, Alcatraz was interesting and I enjoyed getting to spend some time talking with a woman who had lived on 'the rock' growing up (her father was assistant warden during the famed escape and she had written a book about it). We had the incredibly good fortune of finding out that Milk was showing this week at the historic Castro theater in the Castro district (where the story happened!), so we headed that way for dinner and a showing of the movie. Definitely a highlight of the trip!
Today we're heading out of the City to Sonoma. We're planning on hitting some natural areas along the coast on the way and I'm really looking forward to enjoying the scenery and taking in the Golden Gate! I don't think I have many good pictures as it's been very gray the past few days, but I'll go through them tonight and post a few. The sun is shining now and I hope it sticks around, though at least it's not supposed to rain any more.
What a great trip so far!