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My Tales of the Bay: travel blog San Francisco

I’ve always wanted to go to and travel blog San Francisco. It’s a magical city built on high hills like only a few others in the world and connected to the surrounding areas by amazing suspension bridges. It is the home of the hippies and beatniks and other exciting phenomena that I remember from my childhood in the 1970s, and it is pictured in many of my all-time favorite movies. So, when my friends moved there a couple of years ago, I knew my chance to go and write my own tales of the bay had come.

Anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. – Oscar Wilde

 

Taking the Plunge

TYPO Talks 2013 Contrast

TYPO Talks 2013 Contrast

Moreover, San Francisco is the promised city of all types of conventions. Another perfect excuse to visit! I looked up and booked TYPO Talks 2013 and reserved the flights. April is the perfect moment to leave the ice-agy, neverending Finnish winter behind, even if just for a short while, and transit to the more Pacific side of the globe. It’s two long, hard flights from up here but it’s worth it. I was looking forward to seeing the rusty hills of California quoted in the Ultra Bra song but thanks to their rainy winter, the hills were wavy green and there were plenty of green leaves, grass and foreign flowers and birds to greet me.

Anguish in Bohemia

Vesuvio North Beach

Vesuvio North Beach

Having written my thesis about the Finnish translation of Kerouac’s On the Road, the first place I had to visit in San Francisco was the North Beach and the City Lights Booksellers. Great expectations, no disappointment. For once a bookstore that only carries interesting books! I bought Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City and Bukowski’s Post Office to have something guaranteed to hold my interest on the way back home. Then a quick drink at the Vesuvio – another absolute must – and an even quicker peek in the Beat Museum around the corner. Didn’t know they had that there, too!

Relating at Lunch

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab

Anybody who has ever seen me eat seafood knows it’s quite a performance. I love lobster and crab, and delicious dungeness crab it was for lunch at the Fishermen’s Grotto with olive oil, garlic and lemon. I know I got much of it in my hair, thank you, but that’s just how I do it. Afterwards some sea lions, ice cream and sparkly wine tasting at the Fisherman’s Wharf’s Pier 39. Later a cable-car ride back to the where the lovely BART would take us back to Fremont’s suburbia, but only after a pop-in to a new bar called Sam’s Cable Car Lounge on 222 Powell Street. Even met Sam the property man himself! Thanks for the drinks, Sam, and sorry about your dog. Hope you get a nice website and good reviews at Yelp soon. Another lunch place I must mention was The Grove near the YBCA and the classic meal they serve: chicken pot pie for 10.95.

The Proper Shopper

View from Viansa Winery

View from Viansa Winery

To spare the magnetic stripes on my credit cards, I skipped Macy’s this time but managed to spend enough of my hard-earned money at Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy, Gap, and the winery shops in Sonoma. Gloria Ferrer, Viansa, Jacuzzi, and the Olive Press – not cheap but the oils, wines and “champagnes” where really tasty. Other merchandise was to my liking too, including the bling-bling jar wine glasses with aluminum lids. Something we haven’s seen made popular in Finnish restaurants yet. My only regret is I didn’t bring those babies home with me. The grapes were still at their very baby stage, too, just like tiny green seeds, but oh, it was beautiful around there: blue skies and sunny, with the fresh wind from the ocean and great big falcons hovering over us on the terraces.

How to Cure the Munchies?

Pacific Ocean Beach by the Great Highway

Pacific Ocean Beach by the Great Highway

A pulled-pork dinner at the Sauced in Livermore on Saturday night after the day at the vinyards, and I was done. In a complete saturated coma. Slept for like 12 hours, which I never do. So, as you do after filling your stomach to the limit the night before, Sunday morning we drive to get some more wind in our hair and sand in our eyes at the beach by the Pacific Ocean, and another good load of food from the brunch buffet at the Cliff House, not to mention some Mimosas to flush it down with. Ain’t nobody got time to stay hungry in California! Before my time in the Bay Area came to its expected yet untimely-felt end, I took my chances in the four-lane traffic and drove to visit Bob Simmons’s innovative ConXtech space-frame systems workshop for better buildings in Hayward and the Gengo US office in San Mateo. Many thanks to all who made my trip and these company visits possible. I hope to return some day for more.


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