A Whirlwind Summer!

One of our best friends turned 40 this year, and he wanted to celebrate this milestone in San Francisco with a few of his closest friends.   MyMan and I were invited to go, and fortunately – we were able to!  It’s a city neither of us had been to, and we both very much wanted to go.

The girls and I flew back to the States a week after getting back from the cruise.  It was a whirlwind time!  I had just enough time to do the laundry from the cruise and pack for our 3 week visit to the states.  image

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to a 10 hour flight with the girls alone again.  But we all managed just fine.  All I can say is thank goodness for technology!  image

The first week or so we visited friends in South Texas.  The girls loved catching up with their besties!  Then I went on a side trip to San Francisco and the girls stayed with family in North Texas.  Then we spent our last few days back in South Texas catching everyone up on doctor and dentist appointments before flying back to the Netherlands.

There was A LOT of traveling that went on this summer!

While I was in San Francisco, the girls stayed with my in laws and my sister (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and MyMan flew from Amsterdam directly to SF to meet up with me.  He and I flew into SF a day early because everyone else on the trip and been there before, so we wanted to see some sites we figured they didn’t need/want to see again.

I knew I was in California from the moment I was in the San Francisco airport!  image

We stayed in the heart of Union Square at a boutique hotel called Inn at Union Square.  It was very quaint, and the room was nice.  The view left something to be desired, but you couldn’t beat that they had complimentary wine and cheese every evening!  imageimageimageIMG_8299

After looking around on TripAdvisor, I decided to buy tickets for an all day small group tour to see the city.  It was called Dylan’s Tours and it was a fantastic way to see the major sites and areas of SF in a day!  It was a 6 hour tour that took us all around San Francisco, and even into Sausalito and Muir Woods.  Highly recommend this tour if you visit this city!

MyMan and I made it to where we were meeting for the tour, but we were a bit early. So we strolled around for a while, and saw our first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge!  image

And upon closer inspection – yes that is some crazy person (there were several) in the picture below swimming in the bay area water…that water is freezing!  Not to mention sharks!image

Then we headed over to Hyde St. pier to look around. image

Soon, it was time for our tour to begin, so we headed back and met up with our guide. One of the first stops we made along this tour was to this alley way in the Mission District where many of the artists go to do their murals.  It is regulated by a board.  Artists who want to have their work here turn in their designs to the board, the board then votes on the works they want to be there, and then choose which areas the new artists can have.  So every few months or so – these change.  It’s quite fascinating, and the breadth of topics varies greatly!imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

But no one touches Carlos Santana….Ever.image

This was a park that was in the opening credits of Full House.  It’s interesting because the houses are called the Painted Ladies – and they are famous.  They used them for the outside shot, but used an entirely different house to actually shoot the show.                      Pic from the internet: alamoview

It definitely had a lovely view!imageimage

We drove through The Castro neighborhood – which is widely known as home of the gay and lesbian community.  I loved that the crosswalks were rainbows, and rainbows adorned many of the homes and businesses in the area.imageimage

You don’t see it in this picture, but the Hand Job nail & spa was right next to The Sausage Factory.  image

A throw back to the 60s and 70s was going to The Haight neighborhood.  We stopped here for a while and a chance to look around.  It had a very “hippie” vibe to it.imageimageimageimage

We drove up to Twin Peaks for another amazing view of the city.  We were lucky it wasn’t a foggy day!imageimage

Then we drove up to the posh neighborhood of Pacific Heightsimage

We drove through several other areas of town and I didn’t get pictures of all of them.  But they included Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Nob Hill, Sunset, and the Tenderloin neighborhoods.

After driving around those neighborhoods, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge over into Sausalito to have some lunch.  It was so lovely there.  And we had some of the BEST tacos! image


After lunch, we went to an area that had a fantastic view of the bridge.


After we left there, we made our way to Muir Woods.  It was so beautiful there.  Reminded me a lot of British Columbia, and the time we spent in the forests up there.  Our guide told us to take either Bridge 2 or 3 in order to have enough time to look around and not be late for the pick up point.  We managed to get to Bridge 3 in plenty of time, so we went up to the Cathedral Grove trail, and looped back around.  It was a nice stroll on a boardwalk the entire time.  IMG_3200image

The trees were so magnificent and tall!  I tried to get an idea of just how tall with my camera, but it was hard because of the position of the sun.imageimageIMG_3189IMG_3190IMG_3193IMG_3194

Once everyone came back to our meeting point after Muir Woods, it was time to head back.  It had been a great day, full of sites – and we were all beat!  It was time to head back to the hotel, kick off our shoes, and partake in that cheese and wine at the hotel!  We were meeting up with our friends the next day!











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