|Ghiraidelli Chocolate Factory|
I wanted to take the kids to see the ocean. I had been there once as a child and it was something I wanted to share with them. California is obviously the closest for us, but we couldn't really afford Disneyland, so we decided to head for San Francisco. My sister had recently been there and she gave it glowing reports. It was the summer of 2004 and from the pictures you can see that Sport was the baby and Scout wasn't born yet.
While I was busy making reservations, I ran across City Passes for the first time. They saved us SOO much money! But even more importantly, they helped us plan our trip. We got these 4-star hotels in Burlingame which is just a short drive from San Francisco. I'm pretty sure our room rate was $46 per room per night. I loved that hotel! It was beautiful and clean and new. I brought home all the extra shampoo bottles and every time I wanted to remember that trip, I would sneak one out of the drawer and use it.
My first glimpse of the bay was absolutely breathtaking. We didn't know where we were going and we were traveling by this wall of rocks. I told my sweetie to pull over and I would quickly scale this wall (I was much younger then...) and I thought we might be able to see the bay in the distance. Wrong! When I got to the top, the bay was right there! I could have stuck my foot in it. I had the kids carefully climb the wall to see what I saw and we were all mesmerized by the sight. Thankfully no one fell in.
One of the things the kids were most excited about was the cruise we took around the bay. We had never really spent much time in boats, so it was a whole new world for us. We took my MIL with us. She was sweet and patient with the kids (although she has refused every vacation since!) and I think she had a little fun anyway. The Pier itself was awesome even though we didn't shop much. We loved the underwater aquarium and the seals sunning themselves.
I have always been a little terrified of tons of water, so the bridges were scary to me. Not because I'm not a good swimmer, but because I didn't know how I could possibly save all these kids if we were to suddenly plunge into a large body of water and how would I choose? But I digress...
My sweetie wanted to drive on the bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge was fine, but then we got on the San Francisco/Oakland Bay bridge. It was rush hour and we were stuck there for quite some time. After nearly an hour, my very autistic Dog Walker announced that he had to go to the bathroom. He was bouncing around in his seat, doing the potty dance until we finally got off the bridge. We stopped at the first gas station and wouldn't you know it, it was closed! The poor kid, I don't know how he held it for so long.
Ghiradelli Square, the cable cars, the Golden Gate bridge, everything was so new and exciting! The favorite place though, was the Exploratorium. I think the kids could have spent a week in there looking and touching and playing...oh yeah, and learning. We loved San Francisco so much we planned a second trip back there the next year. Some of the magic was gone, but it was still a fun trip. And I got more memories and more shampoo bottles...