Spring break turned out to be an exhausting, painful, fun, adventurous, wet, delicious and laughter-filled 10 days!
The painful part, (and maybe some of you have experience to share with this), the first day of our trip to San Francisco I did something to my leg/hip/groin. I noticed it in the airport when we deplaned and were walking towards the BART. I thought it was just a cramp that would go away in a few minutes. But it took several days to improve. Whenever I'd sit or lie down for any length of time, the pain would be back when I started walking again. Then the pain would ease with walking. By the end of the trip, the pain was mostly gone. And I thought it was a thing of the past. A few days after returning (a full week after the first inkling of pain), I took a bad step on uneven flooring in an antique shop, and all of the pain returned. Again to dwindle over the course of a few days. Then on Monday, I was squatting in the garden planting lettuce seedlings, and the pain was back. So, I'm trying to be mindful of this pain, and gentle my way through the days. Has this happened to any of you? In googling groin pain/strain, it doesn't look like there's much to do about it, except rest/ice/compression. Advil helps.
Onto much better parts of my spring break!
Okay, I'll get to the adventurous part. My son and his girlfriend went to Shanghai over spring break. My son's girlfriend is a university student, graduating this spring, so she still lives by the university schedule, meaning her vacation time is limited to breaks between quarters.. She's originally from Shanghai and she wanted my son to meet her family and see where she's from. My son is an adventurer. He is up for all kinds of travel. The two of them flew non-stop, 13 hours to get there. They stayed a little over a week, and flew about 11 hours, non-stop to get back home the morning before Easter. Wow! They had some adventure. Looking through their photos, they saw so many sights in Shanghai.
While my son was in China, my two daughters and I had our own adventure. We spent 3 whole days and 2 partial days in San Francisco. 4 nights of hotel stay was all we could afford, so we jammed in as much as we could in the mornings, days and evenings. Even with pain in my hip, we walked all over the city, up and down hills, along the waterfront, in neighborhoods and parks, through a posh district or two, as well as after dark in a rather shady part of town (this is where I grabbed my two daughters's hands, and whispered, "quick let's get out of here", as we practically flew ourselves back to a well-lit, well-traveled street). That evening was the only time I felt even remotely unsafe in the city.
What we saw--
We spent a day in the Legion of Honor art museum (and saw Rodin's The Thinker, Monet's Waterlilies, Raphael's Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn, as well as scores of other European paintings and sculptures. At one point, one daughter even said, "Rembrandt, is that THE Rembrandt?" This was exciting for them to see actual works from the great masters of Europe.)
The day that we visited the Legion of Honor, we brought a picnic lunch with us of hard salami and cheese sandwiches, apples and oranges, pretzels, cookies and water. We sat in the park-like setting on a bench, overlooking the entrance to the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can't get much more scenic in SF than that!
Our fee to get into the museum was very reasonable, a whopping total of $16 for the 3 of us. We were able to get a $2 discount on each ticket, by showing a transfer from the muni bus we took to get there, stacked with a student rate for 2, by showing student ID for my daughters. The Muni (SF's city bus system) was also reasonable, at $2.25 one-way, per person, for the 30-minute journey out to the museum.
|typical selection of "appetizers" every evening -- this particular evening there |
was French bread, artichoke dip, fresh fruit, a variety of cheeses
and an almond tea cake -- enough for the 3 of us to call a light dinner
Later that evening, after a light dinner, we walked the hills of different neighborhoods out to the top of Lombard Street, then walked down the zig-zagging street to the base. A lot of folks like to drive down Lombard, but I think the best way to see this famous venue is to start at the top and walk down the steps, then at the intersection at the base, look back up to the flower-filled beds which are centered on this street's zigs and zags.
|at the gate to Chinatown|
The next morning, we walked to Chinatown. There's a fortune cookie factory, where you can watch the ladies folding fortune cookies. It's on one of the alley-streets parallel to Grant Ave (the main drag in Chinatown). I also took my daughters to see how the locals buy super-fresh fish, by scooping live fish out of a tank of water. My son and I had seen that several years back, and it stuck in my mind at how different shopping can be in different cultures. Chinatown was the only place in all of San Francisco that we bought food. We walked into a bakery and bought 3 buns for lunch, for a grand total of $2.80. That's it for our eating out in all of that city.
|on the cable cars|
We also rode the cable cars, walked along the waterfront, saw the old ferry terminal and Ghirardelli Square (free chocolate samples in both Ghirardelli shops in GS), went to the theater, climbed Nob Hill, walked to Union Square (another Ghirardelli shop giving out free samples, plus a super large Williams-Sonoma caught me eye).
|the Painted Ladies in the background|
The three of us enjoy walking, so this was a great way for us to really see the city. The few times we needed to travel a great distance, we took the BART (to/from airport), the Muni (city buses, took 2 round trips) and the cable cars (one-way, inbound, just a few blocks up from the waterfront, no line for the Powell-Mason line, whereas down at the waterfront there was a 30 minute line for the Powell-Hyde line). Muni is very reasonably priced ($2.25 most destinations in the city, in contrast to the cable cars at $7 per person), and well-worth the ride through the various neighborhoods.
Our hotel was at the base of Nob Hill, near Union Square. It was a boutique hotel, an old apartment building converted to a small hotel. It wasn't the cheapest place to stay in the city, but it was a far cry from the posh hotels in town.What sold me on this particular hotel were the amenities.
|just part of my breakfast the first morning|
Each room had a mini-fridge, stocked with complimentary bottled water and soda pop. The fridge alone was fantastic, for stocking lunch ingredients. But to have the free beverages was a bonus. There was a complimentary hot breakfast every morning, fresh apples and oranges in the fruit bowl all day, fresh-baked cookies in the afternoon in the lobby, coffee, tea and cocoa available in the sitting area all day, and an evening reception of wine and appetizers. As my daughters and I are not drinkers, we used the appetizers as our light dinner each night. The appetizer selection was quite good each day, with fruit, veggies, dips, spreads, cheese, little quiches, crackers, bread, and always a sweet treat. If we felt hungry later in the evening, we still had a stash of foods in our room, which we had packed with us.
Which brings me to. . .
what we packed with us
a whole hard salami (I had to borrow a knife from the hotel to slice each day, next time, I'd pre-slcie the salami)
1 loaf of home baked French bread, sliced
1 package of sliced Provolone cheese
exactly 3 oz of peanut butter, which traveled in my ziploc "liquids bag" on the plane
Cup of Noodles
Cup of Soup packets
home baked gingersnap cookies
The three of us only had 1 backpack each, which we carried onto the plane. Yet, by dividing up all of the food, we were able to carry all of the above with us. We used most of this for our lunches, daily, as well as snacks whenever hungry. As I mentioned before, by bringing some of our food with us, and by taking full advantage of the offerings at our hotel, we kept our eating out spending to $2.80, for 3 people for almost 5 days.
We had an awesome all-girls trip, with much giggling, fun window shopping, lots of sight-seeing, and more walking than I do in a month at home.
I hope you all had a happy Easter!