The traveling Roo

I am the travelling Roo. Last week, I spent some time in San Francisco. My trip began with the YMCA International Conference and ended with an extended vacation in California’s wine country. The conference was taking place at Parc 55 but when Mike flew in to join me, we moved to Hotel Vertigo – a historic boutique hotel in downtown San Fran in which scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo were filmed back in 1958.  Cool vibe but I highly recommend asking for a room that isn’t a connecting one. Wooden doors are not as sound proof as insulated walls. To see the city a bit, Mike and I ventured on a literary walking tour of the Hills. Those hills are called Russian, Telegraph and Nob. And they are definitely hills. I smartly wore flats.  A neat little feature of San Francisco streets is that their names are etched into the concrete at intersections. Nice touch.

Another favourite on the trip was a stop at the De Young Museum as we wandered through Golden Gate Park.  It isn’t the Art Gallery of Ontario but it was a fantastic experience.  Although there are some extraordinary historical exhibits, it really showcases art – in a variety of media.  I couldn’t walk away without picking up a few things in the gift shop. I spent a lot of time perusing the “kids” section and bought Beautiful Oops! for myself.

We spent some time in Fisherman’s Wharf – a vibrant, fishy (literally) part of San Francisco. Pier 39 is well-known for its kitschy souvenir shops and seafood restaurants. Note: Sourdough bread is BIG in San Fran and Boudin (with several locations in the Wharf)  has got the baked goods. Nearby is Pier 33 – with departures to Alcatraz Island.  Honestly one of the coolest parts of our trip. The island and historical buildings were so well maintained and their history and significance, perfectly communicated. Well done.

From Golden Gate Park to Golden Gate Bridge. During our hike up Telegraph Hill, we found our way to Coit Tower to get the best view of the city and one rather famous and another lesser known bridge. Before our ride over the bridge into Marin County, we took Marina Boulevard to the beach for some photos.  I was covered up but it was so warm that parents and children were playing in the Pacific. Ah yes. This is California.

We drove 20 miles out of our way to get a glimpse of the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Point Reyes is the western most point of Drakes Bay. Next to the Point is the seashore known as South Beach. Had we arrived before 4:30pm, we would have been able to climb the steps to the Lighthouse and look out on the ocean. Instead, I got extra time to play with some iphone shots. Although our bodies are kind of distorted in the right photo, I love how this image turned out of our shadows linked together.

Driving out to Sonoma Valley was an adventure in and of itself. Through Marin County, we passed Mill Valley (nice and low) and John Muir National Park (which is a winding highway up a cliff that made me want to close my eyes and think of the prairies). The redwoods were gorgeous and curious because they grow in clusters.  As a treat to ourselves, I booked us a 2-night stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn to enjoy good food, wine, company, spa and sleep. And that is what we did. We took advantage of the bath house at the spa and spent the most, we have ever, on wine by the glass at Santé – a Michelin Star and AAA 4 diamond award-winning fine dining experience.  It was worth it. As was the chocolate soufflé that we shared for dessert.

Ilaria wine from Napa Valley

On our last day, we took in the local scene in the Town of Sonoma for some breakfast and waited an extra hour until the Three Dog Bakery opened to buy a little treat for Khailee. Naturally. Then we drove the Silverado Trail to see the vineyards of Napa Valley with a pit stop in downtown Napa for a bite and some wine to take home. It was there that we found “The Traveling Roo”.  Ever since I started calling Mike “Boo”, he has called me “Roo”. Destiny? Perhaps.

And so the traveling Roo ends her globetrotting adventure for 2011.


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