A Few Photos from My Travels

I love to travel. It is a big passion of mine. Whenever I can go anywhere out of town I become excited. I prefer to leave the state of California, but with the kids being so young it is hard to hop on a plane to Europe, especially when you need $6,000 just to begin your journey in the summertime. With that being said California has a lot to offer too! I still have not seen all of the central and eastern parts of the state. One day I hope to travel more outside of the state- but for now I plan on going to visit that last “local” California mission (San Gabriel) before the year ends.

Below are a few photos from my two favorite cities – Paris and San Francisco and a country that I have grown to love and appreciate even more since meeting and marrying Max- Italy. I am proud to say that that I have been to 38 states and 19 countries at the age of 41. I hope that by the age of 61 that I can raise these numbers including visiting another continent or two with Max and the kids who also love to travel!

Monet

Notre Dame

Tour Montparnasse

Paris

Chinatown

North Beach

Golden Gate Bridge

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

the beach

Tribunale Ordinario di Firenze

Lucchetti dell’amore

Ponte Vecchio

Italy

(day 364)

The Ferry Building (San Francisco)

the ferry building

Whenever I find myself in San Francisco I try to find time to visit the Ferry Building. It was built in 1898 and has withstood two major earthquakes with minimal damage. The Ferry Building is located on The Embarcadero intersected by Market Street. It currently houses a number of eateries and shops in addition to functioning as a working ferry terminal.

On our last two trips to the Ferry Building we ate lunch, did a little shopping, and visited outside of the building to take in spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge which connects the city with the East Bay. It can be relatively cold here depending on the day, but we always spend time outside taking in the views nonetheless. Here are photos from one of my favorite spots in San Francisco.

inside the ferry building

inside the ferry building 2

Inside the Ferry Building

the kids

my kids + 1

my kids + 1 (2)

The kids with “cousin” Max enjoying their time at the Ferry Building

family picture

I snuck into a photo with Malina and Matteo- surprise kids!

bay bridge

bay bridge 2

The Bay Bridge

ferry building 2

(day 311)

Inside Alcatraz

alcatraz

The views from Alcatraz are amazing. The tour is somewhat haunting. I can imagine the inmates sitting in their cells at night hearing all the sounds of nighttime in San Francisco. People in San Francisco really know how to enjoy themselves so there is always a lot of laughing, talking, and music everywhere. Hearing people enjoying life while being stuck inside this prison would have driven me crazy. Alcatraz is the only prison that I have seen, and it is now managed by the National Park Service.

If I would have been sentenced here I would have tried to swim to city. The San Francisco Bay is cold- but it had to be worth it to try. 36 people tried to escape, 2 were successful and they were caught after they reached San Francisco. 5 were never found and it is believed that they drowned in the San Francisco Bay. The swim can range from 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 miles depending on the current of the bay. The prison closed in 1963.

a sign

a cell

On the grounds

golden gate bridge

the city- San Francisco

The view from Alcatraz

(day 284)

Another Day of Family Adventures in San Francisco

Spending time in San Francisco is always fun and always an adventure. I visit the Bay area once a year with the kids, but Max and I had last visited San Francisco together when I was pregnant with Malina seven years ago. What a long time ago!!

Bay Bridge with overcast skys

 

We made our way into the city through overcast skies and hopped on a cable car that started on Taylor and Bay Streets. There usually is a shorter line here than the other stop (Hyde & Beach). All cable cars from the Fisherman Wharf area head towards downtown. The cable car operator was extremely nice to me and did not charge for Malina saying that she was younger than her actual age of 6 years old! Arriving to the last stop we made our way to Blondie’s Pizza across from the cable car turnaround for a few slices of yummy pizza. I loved Blondie’s Pizza when I lived on the East Bay of San Francisco in the 1990’s so I always make time to stop for a slice in the city.

The Ferry Building

 

We continued walking down Market Street ending up at the Ferry Building which has a marketplace on the ground floor. There was a farmer’s market going on outside and I saw the coolest rotisserie chicken food truck ever; we need one of those in Los Angeles if there isn’t already one.

Musee Mecanique Entrance

old-fashioned arcade game

Eventually we took another mode of transportation, a historic street car, and zoomed back to the wharf area where our hotel was located. One cool place we visited returning to the other side of town was the Musee Mecanique which is an arcade with lots of old games. I had visited here once when it used to be under The Cliff House Restaurant, but re-visiting it with Max and the kids was even more fun.

Ghiradelli Square

The next afternoon we met up with my friend Michelle who I met during my tour guiding days. We really connected back then because we were both California girls who lived in the Bay Area and worked for a company based on the East Coast. Neither of us are tour guides now, but we have kept the friendship up for more than 12 years since the days when we worked together. The afternoon started out with mega-calories at Ghiradelli Square. After checking out the chocolate shop we went next door to the ice cream and chocolate shop for ice cream and hot cocoa. We quickly walked off those calories making our way to North Beach by foot.

the library

 

Having a few free hours before dinner time we started off visiting the North Beach Public Library with the kids. I had been here once before with Malina and Matteo and knew there was a big kids section. Malina and Kayla read books with Michelle and I in chairs while Max played with the younger two on the ground. We continued on to Joe DiMaggio Playground for some adult conversations while all the kids played.

Mona Lisa Restaurant

The night ended with a great Italian meal at Mona Lisa, also in North Beach. A friend of Max’s recommended this particular restaurant to him so we ate here that evening. I have eaten here before years ago, but this trip we were treated to an incredible antipasto (appetizer) “on the house” (free) because of his connections. Dinner was delicious, the company was excellent, and the kids only spilled one drink. Walking back to the hotel after dinner was enjoyable as well with the night lights and bustle of San Francisco around us.

(day 144)

Day Trip to San Francisco

Our first time to San Francisco this past spring break was on a day trip. I had my eye on the weather and saw that chances of rain were approaching for our other scheduled days in the city so we drove up from the Peninsula an additional day too. It ended up being a beautiful day. I experienced some of the best weather I have ever encountered in the city, especially for April. We spent the majority of this day in Chinatown and North Beach.

Caffe Roma

pastries at Cafe Roma

 

Max wanted a good Italian espresso to start the day off so we stopped at Caffé Roma in North Beach. There was a cappuccino and hot chocolates added to the tab as well.

Chinatown (1)

Chinatown Shop

Chinatown (2)

My next goal was to make it to the Dragon Gate entrance of Chinatown on Grant Street. We did ultimately make it to Grant Street, but did not make it to the Gateway Arch. Wondering around San Francisco with four children by foot you can only do so much!! I really enjoyed our adventures around Chinatown. There is always something new to see.

Attempting the rings

Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Park

Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Park (2)

Speaking of wondering around with children I limited my entrances to shops to reduce the chances of them breaking things. Lisa, my friend, located a very cool playground nearby on the map for playtime for the kids. The park is called Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground, named after a local Chinese-American basketball player who excelled at college basketball at the University of San Francisco in the 1940’s, despite his height (5 feet 5 inches).

The Pot Sticker

After playtime we made our way to nearby Waverly Place and ate lunch at The Pot Sticker. The meal did not disappoint!

public bus

merry-go-round time

two floor merry-go-round

From Chinatown we hopped on a bus and went down to Pier 39. I had wanted to catch a cable car tour bus and do a city tour, but timing was not on our side. If we did a tour we would not make it home until very late. Instead I came up with the alternative plan of taking the kids on the pier for a spin on the two story merry-go-round. They were surprised and happy with this plan.

snack time

dinner time!

We caught another bus back to North Beach and Max did some food shopping for dinner that evening. We enjoyed salami samples that were given to us as we waited for the meat to be cut. The meal that evening was spectacular, like always. I am soo spoiled to have an Italian husband that does cooking in our house (and friend’s places too)!

(day 143)