Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wine tasting and uphill walking

Though not advisable to do at the same time.

This post is about SAN FRANCISCO!!! What a gorgeous city! I would describe it as hill after hill of beautiful row houses all painted in different colors, parks and open green spaces, and an abundance of quirky atmosphere. It has several museums, tons of outdoor activities, nightlife, funky shopping, and places to eat. I would really love to spend more time in the parks bike riding, reading, or walking, and of course picnic-ing! I do have to warn you all that if you're not a native SF-onian (?) your legs might be rendered useless after one day of climbing up and down to get everywhere! I managed with only minimal soreness this time, but last year I decided to climb to the top of the twin peaks the first day for the views and OUCH. Everyone that lives here is in fantastic shape.

I was there for the second time about 2 weeks ago for a conference at UCSF on Multiple Sclerosis. My parents were interpreting lectures led by leading specialists from the University for doctors visiting from Spain. One day I'll do the same, but for now I'm just there as the technician/ assistant.
This was my second time in San Francisco, I was there for a similar job last year, but last time I had a lot more time to see everything. And the way I tour, I literally do see everything!We still enjoyed ourselves this time with the few hours we had after conference activities had ended to walk around and find good places to eat.

The first day, though, was so much fun! My parents picked me up from the airport and we drove straight to Napa. As it turns out, two friends of mine from college moved out to Napa Valley 4 months ago. Talk about a lucky couple! They were married last year after graduating.She's studying to be a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America and he found a job at a small fancy winery giving tours and helping to run administrative things, etc. Wine? Pastries? Adopt me? We drove to his vineyard and he gave us a personal mini tour because one of his scheduled tours had canceled and he had a bit of time. The place was beautiful. The machines and wine making processes are so interesting! Not much was going on now because it's not really grape growing season, but I can only imagine how cool it would be to see the rows and rows of grapes in the vineyards, and see all the grape squishing in action! Oh, and of course we tasted :) In order to taste several I had to learn to spit some of it. I know that's how you're supposed to do it, especially for my friend who works there and gives several wine tastings a day, but it kind of feels gross! So that was my great first experience in the wine country!

After that, we returned to San Francisco and had a day to do some touring before starting the conference on Tuesday. I was lazy this time and didn't take many pictures, and the ones I did take are on my mom's camera. But I can post some from last year!


This is the Castro District. We stayed close to here this time because it's very central.If you can take a guess from the picture, it's known as the "gay capital of the world". Those words are taken straight out of the tourist guide. It's true, for you Houstonians, it's like a crazier Montrose. It's filled with bars and trendy vintage shops.

China Town! This area is so much fun! It's 24 blocks of shops filled with imported goods, clothes, and food, restaurants, and temples. 

Excuse the shadow across my face. This is Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world! Well, I don't know about the world, but it's very crooked and very famous. 

Did you know San Francisco is the home of sourdough? I did not until last year when we went to the place where it all started- Boudin bakery. There's a restaurant and a deli, and you can watch them make cute little (or very large) animal shaped breads, plus all the traditional loaves. I don't like sourdough at all, but I could tell this was good bread, and I really enjoyed their multigrain! It's also a great place to eat in Fisherman's Wharf with a nice view of the bay. 

Pier 39, where all the seals like to hang out. They're so cute! And they like to make a lot of noise. The aquarium is also here and the Ferry to the Alcatraz prison is nearby on Pier 33. Unfortunately it was off season so the ferry wasn't running. The prison tour would be really fun, so do some research before you go!

I had a picnic here. It's a plaza between the 3 art museums and the Jewish Museum and it was beautiful! 

The pictures from the wine tasting remain lost, but here is a link to my mom's facebook album from this year- Belvedere  These are mainly from the adorable bed and breakfast we stayed in called the Belvedere. You can also read my Yelp review on here. The two reviews that follow that one are for the well known restaurant Greens, and the other one is a small German place called Walzwerk. I loved Walzwerk! 

So question: Are any of my readers on Yelp? Just like my blogging style, I'm an infrequent reviewer, but I love being on there, finding out about cool new places, or old undiscovered ones. And my favorite thing to do is find out what's going on around the city! There's always fun events listed and I've been able to participate in some really fun activities and met nice people this way. If you're on it, add me as a friend! Also feel free to add me on facebook (Be sure to add "Gaby" not Diana who is my mom and will be confused) I love to find bloggers on facebook :) 

Hope you're all enjoying the long awaited  spring weather and having wonderful, or at least productive weeks like mine!

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