As morning dawns on day two of the tour the city is wearing her usual robe of fog. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and the coach wheels roll at 8 a.m. as we head out on a full-day of sightseeing. I don’t think sightseeing does justice to what Julie showed us not only on this day but everyday. I will give a short list of what we were shown in San Francisco and if you plan to visit the city it could easily be used as a guide for you to see some amazing sights. Let’s begin with the Union Square Area, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, The Embarcadero, Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Viewpoint, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, The Financial District, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, The Presidio, Mission District, Haight Ashbury, Grace Cathedral, Civic Center, Alamo Square and the Victorian row houses that were featured in the TV series “Full House, the church steps were Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe took their wedding pictures because they were not allowed to marry in the church because they had been divorced, wait a minute let me catch my breath and say that you get the idea that we saw everything! At mid-day we boarded a private catamaran for a 2 hour cruise on San Francisco Bay with a lunch provided by the iconic Boudin Bakery showcasing their signature sourdough bread. We sailed around the bay on a beautiful sunny day passing by Alcatraz Island, Sausalito and then under a fog shrouded Golden Gate Bridge. After docking we take time to enjoy the Sea Lion colony at Pier 39 as they bask in the afternoon sun. Then it is back to the hotel at 2:30 but only for three hours to recharge before it’s off to an up and coming neighborhood called “Dogtown” for an evening with “Hands on Gourmet” where we will all participate in preparing our dinner. We split into four groups after starting the event with a “little” wine. The theme for tonight’s dinner is a 5-course Spanish meal featuring Paella and I must admit even with this many cooks in the kitchen it turned out great. We ride back to the hotel while taking in the city at night and stop near the Bay Bridge that an artist has covered with LED lights producing a display of changing designs covering the entire length of the span. More photos can be found in the preceeding post “San Francisco Photos”
When my wife and I were contemplating a vacation destination earlier this year we examined all the usual suspects and each was met with an overwhelming lack of enthusiasm. As we pondered the question my wife suggested a totally different type of vacation than we normally take and immediately we were intrigued by the idea of trying something new. That is how our Tauck tour of San Francisco, Sonoma and the Napa Valley came to be and how sometimes when fate deals you a hand it turns out to be all aces! I am not going to do what your crazy Uncle Fred did when he used his Kodak Carousel slide projector to show two hours of photos documenting his trip through the Mid-West culminating with the money shot of Aunt Mable posing with the “World’s Biggest Ball of String” in De Kalb, Iowa. No, there will be none of that because we were lucky enough to have Julie, one of Tauck’s very best directors, who made our time together more like traveling with a good friend that knew the area very well and wanted to make sure that you were enjoying yourself while getting to experience everything the area had to offer. Our driver Mark handled the coach with a calm ease that came from his understated confidence in his superb driving skills which provided a relaxing environment for his guests. The one other unknown in the equation is who will be your traveling companions and on this trip we were blessed to be accompanied by twenty of the most warm and friendly people we could have imagined and for this we are extremely grateful.
In the following posts I will try to share some of the highlights of our trip but it will be impossible to relate the true experience of the journey because as they say ” You would’ve
had to been there”. I hope that this series of posts will prove to my friend and fellow blogger Jeff a.k.a. “the drunken cyclist” that wine bloggers are capable of addressing the broad subject of wine and life:-).
We arrived at San Francisco International Airport and were greeted by our limo driver (Yes I did say limo) who took us to the Palace Hotel on New Montgomery St. in the heart of the Union Square District. A Welcome Reception and Dinner was held that evening where we all enjoyed plenty of wine and a good meal while getting acquainted with our newest friends. To be continued!!!!