Monday, July 20, 2009

San Francisco, CA

What a wonderful day!

We arrived in San Francisco just after 8am and made our first stop (after the parking garage) the Boudin Bakery. On Thursday mornings they offer a special one-hour tour led by a master baker. While they offer several tours throughout the week (for a small fee), the Thursday morning tour is unique because it also includes a breakfast reception.

The kids thought the whole bread-making process was fascinating and they loved watching all the bakers take piles of flour and dough balls of various sizes and shape them into everything from baguettes to tiny alligators, birds, and crabs. We were also impressed by the enormous baking equipment. The mixers were like gigantic Kitchen Aids mixers and cost $250,000 a piece. The flour silo holds 16,000 pounds of flour and gets refilled weekly. The bakery makes 10,000 loaves of sour dough bread a day!

There is a San Francisco history/ sourdough history museum included with the tour. Not only did we learn that the sourdough starter used today is an “ancestor” of the starter used back in 1840, but we learned a lot about the general history of San Francisco. It was all very interesting.

And as I mentioned earlier, there was a very nice breakfast reception with the bakers. For $3 a piece for the kids and $6 for me, we had the bakery and museum tour, and had a fantastic breakfast! The reception included coffee, tea, juice and milk, and the most delicious muffins, Danish, cookies and pastries you could imagine! I am normally not a “Danish” person (they always taste stale to me) but these were loaded with fresh blueberries or chocolate and were absolutely delicious! With every bite Nicholas took (and he tried everything) he announced it was the best muffin/cookie/pastry he has ever eaten!

At one point during the reception Master Baker Ramon gave everyone a sourdough loaf in the shape of a sea creature. Then one of the other bakers brought us a bakery box to fill up with the leftover pastries!!! Did I mention that I only spent $12 on this event?!

After the bakery tour we walked around Fisherman’s Warf and I bought us each an $11 day-use transportation pass. Now we could take any mode of public transportation with the one ticket. We took four buses, two shuttles, and 2 cable cars. The cable cars (and I kept calling them trolleys) are $5 a person, each trip. The day pass was a very good deal.

The next thing we wanted to see was the Golden Gate Bridge. We took a bus. We could have taken the bus over the bridge, but I thought it would be more fun to get off on the north side and walk. So we did. We walked the Golden Gate Bridge. Two miles over and two miles back. The kids thought it was a crazy thing to do, and Garrett did ask why would we do such a thing and really, the best answer I could come up, is because we could. And we had a ball! We took a zillion pictures, looked for seals in the water, watched the boats, tried to find the city (and Alcatraz) in all the fog, worked up a sweat in 60 degree weather, and enjoyed it immensley.

We then took a shuttle around Golden Gate Park and then went back to Fisherman’s Warf. We stopped in Giradelli’s and sampled some chocolate (still full from breakfast) and wandered around a few shops. Finally worked up an appetite for lunch and found a great little pizza place. A medium pizza and 2 sodas cost $20.

We then hopped a cable car and headed downtown. Along the way we stopped in China Town and that was a blast! I loved watching the kids look in the windows of the food shops! I think Nicholas could very easily become a vegetarian!

We wrapped up our San Francisco day by taking a few last minute pictures, purchasing a few postcards, and learning how to use a credit card in the parking garage.

I suppose I shouldn’t brag so much about being so thrifty with our day. But it was really a fun challenge to spend the day exploring the city, seeing everything we wanted to see, doing stuff we have never done before, and doing it all so cheaply!

Perhaps the best part for me was exploring the city with Garrett and Nicholas in a way I would never have done with other adults. I just don’t know many people who would have wanted to spend so much time visiting Spy Shops. Or who would have, for the first time ever, broke down and sang country music songs with me with the windows down and the sunroof open as we sat thru light after light trying to get out of the city after a very full day.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. And I thought I was a cheapskate! :) See what living with me has done to you? And you did it one of the most expensive cities in the world. Our mutual checking account sends its thanks.