Saturday, March 16, 2013

California Getaway!

How embarrassing. Over 15 months later. yikes. I'm surprised Blogger still let me log into this blog. It's okay though, because my excitement has been renewed by a fun present from Jer:

A fancy new camera! 

It was just in time for our trip to San Francisco last weekend. Jeremy had a work conference there with Visa on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we flew out on Saturday and explored the city for a few days. While he was at his conference for those 2 days, I just hung out in the hotel room, but half of the trip was payed for by his company. So it really was a pretty cheap vacation, and we had a blast! 

We decided to not really make an set plans as far as what we wanted to see. We had several suggestions from friends of "must see" things, and I think we ended up hitting most of the big stuff, but it was nice to not have a real schedule to have to stick to. Needless to say, this camera got quite a workout. I tried to pick out my very favorites, but sorry for the photo-heavy post. 

I had a fun time messing around with different settings and trying lots of different things. Jeremy got in on the action as well, which was fun. :) 

We actually ended up getting some awesome shots, probably mostly luck, but I'm still quite proud of it. (again, sorry for ALL the pictures to follow) It's an awesome camera and I can't wait to keep learning all the ins and outs of it.


 Our first day there was a little overwhelming. We had rented a car, and let's just say it's not quite like Salt Lake City.... The traffic was terrifying and people were very horn-happy. We were starving and trying to find a donut place I'd heard about called Bob's Donuts. (Delicious, by the way!) It was stressful to say the least. 

Once our tummies were full of sugar, we felt better, but still a little lost. The San Francisco Gods must've been smiling down on us though because where we had parked for donuts ended up being just a few blocks away from the famous Lombard Street!

Such an exciting coincidence! We joined up with all the other tourists and explored a little. Driving down it was crazy! Even seeing it in the movies and stuff didn't quite do it justice. It was pretty awesome. 

The Golden Gate Bridge was stunning. I couldn't get enough of it. It seemed like every new angle and light that we'd see it in brought it to life in a new way. Absolutely amazing.

Even though Jeremy is afraid of heights, he conquered his fear and we walked partway across it. We made it to the big cement pillar-type things in the above picture. 

We followed a little walking trail from the parking lot to the bridge, but apparently we were on the biker side instead of the pedestrian side. We had noticed we were a little out of place, but couldn't figure out where else we could've been and how we could've possibly gotten to the other side, so we just kept going, ignoring the dirty looks from bicyclists. One guy even wagged his finger at us and yelled "Wrong side!" 

Whoops. Okay, I'm sorry. We stayed out of their way as much as we could, and didn't cause any bicycle accidents, but really they should put signs up or something if they want to keep the traffic separated. Even after Jeremy kissed the ground we got back off the bridge, we looked around for signs-- but nada! So we didn't feel that bad. We're not mind-readers, ya know.

On Sunday, we went for a drive up to the Oakland Temple. We were worried the grounds would be closed up, since it was Sunday, but we pulled up to a full parking lot bustling with people in their Sunday best. Come to find out, a stake center right on site had just finished with stake conference. We felt super out of place in our jeans, but it was a beautiful place. 

It's funny because I've gotten so used to the Utah atmosphere where there are so many Mormons everywhere, that being in San Francisco felt so much... different. (On Saturday, we even had the misfortune of seeing a nudist bike club. Seriously. I wish I was kidding. A group of completely naked people riding around the pier on their bikes. Still trying to get that image out of my head. We learned from a guy who worked at the pier that the "indecent exposure" laws there make a few exceptions, one being the annual appearance of this club. yikes) So it was really nice to walk onto the temple ground and feel that peace. Almost like we were home. Sounds corny, but it was wonderful.

After Oakland, we made the hour drive down to Santa Cruz. I really enjoyed that part. The beach was beautiful and we had lunch out on the pier.

Below was the view from our table. It was mesmerizing to watch the sun reflect off the water and so fun to see all the sailboats out. I could've sat there for hours and hours.

Holy Hamburger! I know, right? It's the first time that my smushing technique for getting a big burger to fit in my mouth didn't work. I actually had to eat it with a fork and knife it was so huge. So tasty though. BBQ sauce, onion rings, and a fresh slice of pineapple-- how could you go wrong? It really hurt my burger-lovin' heart to have to leave half of it uneaten because I was so full. (I think it would've hurt my actual heart though had I eaten the whole thing haha)

Isn't he cute?? :)

We dipped our feet in the ocean, but it was freezing! So that's about as far as we got. I have no idea how people were actually out there swimming in it!

On the way back to our hotel, we decided to take the highway along the coast. It was so beautiful!

  Monday was our last real exploring day, so we decided to go to Fisherman's Wharf. Our first stop was the Aquarium of the Bay. My favorite part was watching the jellyfish. Fascinating to watch them move.

There was so much to see at the Wharf. We basically just stopped in whatever little shops jumped out at us. Jeremy's favorite was the NFL/College gear shop. He made a beeline for the BYU hat :)

 We had lunch at Boudin's. They were advertising their "Original Sourdough Bread" and I'd heard they have the world's best clam chowder. It lived up to the hype for sure. And all the decorations in the store were made out of sourdough bread! Like the crab and lobster above. So clever.

And of course we couldn't leave there without seeing all the sea lions sunning themselves. I've seen pictures where all the little docks are full of them, so I think maybe we didn't hit the best day for that, but they were so noisy, I can't imagine what it would've sounded like with more.

After Fisherman's Wharf, Jeremy wanted to explore up north of the city. So we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The fog was just starting to roll in off the ocean. I have honestly never seen anything like it. It was so gorgeous to watch the low clouds coming in and just enveloping the bridge and the city on the other side. 

Here is Jeremy's favorite part of the whole trip-- our rental car. (you think I'm joking. I'm not) He spent almost the whole weekend trying to convince me that we should definitely sell my car and buy a Chevy Cruze. It was a super nice car, I'll give him that :)

And the last stop on Thursday before the airport was Golden Gate Park. I couldn't believe how green it was. Parts of it felt like we had stepped out of the city and into a rainforest. It was a misty, foggy morning which just added to it.

We couldn't believe all the different types of flowers.

And finally, what trip to San Francisco would be complete without a little visit to the Tanner house? haha TGIF anyone? It wasn't quite as distinguishable without the red front door, but I can't blame them for wanting to blend in. The poor people that live there. They were the only house on the whole street that has a gate out front. I'm sure they've had many unwelcome porch-dwelling picture-takers over the years. We at least had the courtesy to stay on the other side of the street :)

Pretty charming little row of houses there. All the details and everything. wow.

Well, did you enjoy that tour of San Fran? I may be a little overly excited about that camera. I know it's more fun to look back at pictures that have people in them, but Jeremy got tired of me taking his picture. So we did end up with lots of just scenery-type shots. oh well. It was such a fun trip and it was fun to have a way to really capture everything. Thanks Visa for the fun vacation!  :)