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Dec 28, 2009

california road trippin' ~ day 8

you cant visit san francisco without having some clam chowder at fishermans wharf...that is, unless you are allergic to seafood.
today we sampled some new england clam chowder (although i much prefer manhattan style) and some greasy calamari as we worked our way to pier 39. checked out some shops. bought some ghirardelli chocolate. took the waterfront walk and ended our day at crissy field. saw the spectacular view of the golden gate bridge during sunset hour. then it was a very very long walk back to the wharf. we have been walking all day, and it was time for a reward ~ a giant bowl of linguine in clam sauce. :)

Dec 27, 2009

california road trippin' ~ day 7

be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, if youre goin' to san francisco...

as much as i love being surrounded by nature, i was grateful to be back in the city. especially when it comes to finding food and great coffee. two must haves for this city girl. before we took the north beach walking tour, we had lunch in chinatown. we decided to have dim sum at a random chinese restaurant. i left a bit disappointed and still hungry. we should have suspected this when we walked in and it was empty except for a group of foreigners. but we stuck to our choice and gave it a go. and now we know...besides, im a finicky eater.

the walking tour, however, was far from disappointing. it took us to through the residential san fran, little italy and some other places i cant remember. coit tower was one of the stops, where you get a birds eye view of the city. we stopped in caffe trieste for some italian coffee (on the corner of vallejo and grant) where your drink is served by a no-nonsense italian barista behind the counter. you wont get a smile or friendly conversation, but you sure get a great cup of coffee! it looked to be a rather popular spot for the local bohemians of another era. and oh, a sammy hagar sighting was announced by a customer stumbling into the cafe. pramin had spotted him earlier in chinatown, and insisted it was the former singer of van halen. i was skeptical though. i thought he looked too old and heavy to be the rock star. apparently, i was wrong.
i should have known by the tall blond walking next to him.

after the walking tour, we stopped in union square for some window shopping and dinner.

later in the evening, we headed to the mission district for the dia de los muertos procession. it was nice that we happened to be in town for the event. i love the festivities for this celebration, especially in los angeles. and well, i guess this was the next best thing to being in l.a. it was a blast hanging out and mingling with the dead. :)

we finished the evening with some homemade ice cream at st. francis fountain ice cream parlor in the mission district.

california road trippin' ~ day 6

today, we started our trip back south, but not without taking the coastal drive, where the real magic of the redwoods can be experienced. it was a sunnier day, with the morning fog disappearing into splendid rays of light streaming through between branches and leaves. we seemed to be the only ones on the narrow road by the coast. once the coastal drive ends, we end up on hwy 101 again and the stunning redwoods can be admired in their full glory. we pulled along the side of the road many times to admire them, and even took a short hike into the forest. i definitely recommend doing this as you get the full experience of the forest and the crisp air. the greenery is so diverse inside, youll find yourself constantly marveling at how everything thrives and depends on each other.

unfortunately, we didnt have enough time to meander through some of the recommended trails. that only means we will have to come back someday. we headed south back through eureka for our late lunch and then started for san francisco. yay!

california road trippin' ~ day 5

we started the day with breakfast at our cozy motel in klamath called ravenwood motel. seemingly in the middle of nowhere is an unsuspecting charming motel off highway 101. the rooms are small, but immaculately clean. reminded me of a posh vegas hotel, except smaller. you could tell that thought was put into the details...from the italian wrapped soaps to the dark wood furniture. it was hard for me to believe that this gem was even called a motel. breakfast was waiting for us in a dining room that was filled with the collections of the owner's now deceased wife.

we were greeted with a wet and drizzly sky, but the air was so clean you could almost taste it. across the street from the motel you could see the backdrop of trees. it was the perfect place to start the day in the redwoods.

our first stop at the redwoods was the trees of mystery, just a few miles north of our motel. we were greeted by a gaudy gigantic statue of paul bunyan and his companion. after you pay a fee inside their tourist gift shot/museum, you get to walk through a self-guided trail inside the park. once inside, you are completely immersed in the beauty of the redwood trees. it was dense and wet all around, and we followed the trail to the cathedral trees, then up to the gondola that took us to the top, where, on a clear day we would have a spectacular view of the redwood forest. i managed to get some beautiful shots anyway.

we finished off our visit at the gift shop and had a look at their extensive collection of native american artifacts.

from there, we took the coastal drive that led us to a lonely unpaved road. we stopped along the way to see some interesting sights, like a native american ceremonial ground near the river. further along the road, we saw the most spectacular scenes...the towering redwood giants. the fog made them even more stunning and majestic. my mouth was gaping wide the entire time we drove down the road. you could hear all the oohs and ahhs coming from me over and over again. having never seen the redwoods, it was something surely not to be missed. my eyes thanked me for it. :)