Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Celebrating Joan's birthday in San Francisco

My sister, Joan, invited me to share her 60th birthday celebration in San Francisco this week.  She lived there in the late 1970's and has gone back for every decade birthday (40, 50, and now 60).  We flew into Oakland because she wanted to visit her former workplace in Emeryville.  Gratefully, our borrowed Gamin GPS device told us exactly where to go.  She remembered visiting the Public Market so we decided to stop there for lunch.

The main floor's food court beckoned us with all kinds of food...Asian, Italian, Greek, American, Indian.  She chose pizza, but I had a Middle East lunch sampler including Hummus, Cucumber Salad with Tzatziki, and Tabbouleh Salad.  Joan told me one of the goals of this trip was to enjoy some fabulous food and this meal fulfilled that goal already for me.    

With full bellies we drove around the area and she realized new buildings had popped up or were renovated.  After the two bit tour we told Samantha, our Garmin guide, to take us to the Capri Motel in the Cow Hollow area of San Francisco.
Joan spent many hours jogging the Marina Green after work when she lived here.
She often jogged across the Golden Gate bridge and back - about a 5 mile jog.
We got extra exercise as we walked along the bay, fighting a strong wind.
Next we walked to the Palace of Fine Arts, across from the Marina Green.  This structure was built only to last one year, a part of the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915.  It soon became a favorite landmark in the city and has undergone several renovations over the years, the last one a $21million restoration in 2003.  

 I noticed these gorgeous lavender plants as we made our way to the Presidio.  My own lavender never produces blooms like this.....
I love the rocks and little stream as we walked up to Letterman Drive

The Presidio of San Francisco is a park and former military base on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San FranciscoCalifornia, and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
It had been a fortified location since September 17, 1776, when New Spainestablished it to gain a foothold on Alta California and the San Francisco Bay. It passed to Mexico, which in turn passed it to the United States in 1848. As part of a 1989 military reduction program under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, Congress voted to end the Presidio's status as an active military installation of the U.S. Army. On October 1, 1994, it was transferred to the National Park Service, ending 219 years of military use and beginning its next phase of mixed commercial and public use.
In 1996, the United States Congress created the Presidio Trust to oversee and manage the interior 80% of the park's lands, with the National Park Service managing the coastal 20%. In a first-of-its-kind structure, Congress mandated that the Presidio Trust make the Presidio financially self-sufficient by 2013, which it achieved 8 years ahead of the scheduled deadline.
Letterman Hospital, built in 1898 and named in 1911 for Jonathan Letterman, was featured in every US foreign conflict in the 20th century and remained in service until the army base was decommissioned in 1995. The historic building was demolished in the 1960s to establish a modern building which was erected in 1969. The building was abandoned in 1994 when the base was transferred to the National Park Service and was demolished in 2002. In 2005, Lucasfilm opened the Letterman Digital Arts Center on the site of the old hospital.
 Obviously, these geraniums have been blooming all winter - the plant looked more like a shrub.  Joan and I were surprised to find the buildings on Letterman Drive were all new.  We followed some people into one of the buildings and happily noticed a Starbucks so we sat with a cup of tea, watched the young people coming in and out of the Lucas Film building.  

We made our way along Lombard Street, back to our hotel.  Joan remembers having drinks with friends at this little corner bar!  
 I'm guessing this green tile is original to the bathroom in our hotel room.  

 We celebrated Joan's birthday, just two blocks from our hotel.  The Balboa Cafe, a historic cafe, served a memorable birthday dinner.  I had the halibut and Joan enjoyed a special penne pasta dish.   A gentleman sat next to us and we assumed he may be a "regular."  We highly recommend this restaurant to city visitors.

Wednesday morning we hopped on a MUNI bus and headed to Fishermen's Wharf.

 We told each other our stories of visiting this area when we lived here before.  I lived in Santa Rosa from 1974-1977 and Joan moved to San Francisco while working for the C.I.A. in the summer of 1977.  We visited the city mostly with people who came to visit us.  My husband at the time entertained clients at some of the best restaurants on the Wharf.

 The sourdough bread brought back memories of the first time I had great wine, white cheese, and this great was enough for a full meal.
 Pier 39 now is mostly souvenir shops and trendy ice cream and coffee shops.
 Allan and Lisa treated Joan to this great lunch, a Crab Louie, at Tarantinos.

 The lines for the Hyde-Powell Cable Car were long, so we just walked by...
 Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe became our afternoon delight.

 Joan drove the rental car down the famous Lombard Crooked Street.

 And though China Town
 Joan began communicating with a former co-worker, Rebecca, prior to the trip, and she picked us up on Thursday and drove us through the Presidio and up to the building where Joan once worked for the C.I.A.
 They giggled a lot because the building now looks like a prison.  It does have a beautiful view close by and Joan remembers running over the Golden Gate Bridge during her lunch hour. 

We enjoyed a great lunch at the famous Cliff House restaurant.
Rebecca drove us across the Golden Gate to Sausalito and then to Ft. Baker to get a different view of the bridge.
 Rebecca invited us to her home on Pierce Street, near Beach, and we sat in a lovely living room and Rebecca, her husband Mike, and Joan recalled the memories of working in San Francisco.  They could not remember if Joan attended their wedding so she got out the wedding album and an envelope of cards and showed Joan the wedding card she'd given to them 33 years ago.  

Joan spent a lot of time searching for the perfect gifts for her boss and co-workers.  She never bought a thing for herself.  I learned, once again, how generous she is.  I was no help and because I don't buy gifts and souvenirs anymore.  I did find this cute hat for, who else than myself - a visual memory of this great trip to San Francisco.
Thank you for the wonderful memories!

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