I insisted, however, that if we were going to California we were not just going to go to Los Angeles. So we compromised by flying into San Francisco and starting our trip there. I've been to San Francisco once before, in 2006, to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon (my first). I fell in love with the city then (we all know my penchant for falling in love quickly and easily with great cities). Interestingly as we've traveled more and seem more places, my barometer for what I love about places has changed.
San Francisco has it all - it's walkable, dense, great public transit, public art, lots to do and see. On paper it is the cat's pajamas. But there's something about San Francisco that isn't quite there for me. It's missing that certain jen e sais quoi that I feel in Boston or Chicago or Portland, Maine. Nevertheless San Francisco is a beautiful city, and we had a great time.
We started our first morning in San Francisco with a City Running Tour. I discovered City Running Tours last summer, and I ran one in Chicago with my co-workers. Ladies and gentlemen if you are looking for the BEST way to see a city, City Running Tours is it. We met our guide, John, at the Ferry Building and ran down Embarcadero toward Fisherman's Wharf. We stopped for brief explanations of the amazing Boudin Bakery, checked out the wharf and watched sea lions (my favorite part) at Pier 39 as the sun came up. It was the absolute best way to start the trip, and I cannot recommend doing a City Running Tour more highly.
|At Boudin Bakery during our City Running Tour|
|Climbing over 400 stairs to Coit Tower|
|Striking a silly pose at Golden Gate Park|
|The east side of Lombard Street. Yeah...I ran up this.|
On our last day in San Francisco we went to Alcatraz which was an incredible experience for history nerds like us (and even non-history nerds would enjoy it too).
|I look bored in prison.|
|At Alcatraz enthralled by the listening tour|
On Monday we were sad to leave San Francisco, but that sadness was brief as we began our drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. I'd heard stories of the PCH and how beautiful it is, and honestly words cannot do it justice. The views are panoramic and breathtaking. We stopped repeatedly for photos along the way with each view more unique than the last. It was so wonderful that I regretted not having more time to leisurely make our way down the coast.
|Amazing views from the PCH|
|Taking it all in|
|Touring Monterey, CA|
|A new sea lion friend|
Game day came early, and we joined friends from our tailgate on a bus to Pasadena. My husband was in heaven with his fellow Spartans, and it was very fun day. The game was fantastic, and I am not sure my husband has stopped smiling since.
|Before the 100th Rose Bowl|
|Victory for MSU!|
|The Hollywood sign in the distant background during my final run in Cali|
|Elizabeth Montgomery played my namesake's character on "Bewitched"|