What’s a San Francisco series without obligatory Golden Gate photos? I certainly wouldn’t know.
We had lots of opportunities to take pictures of the Golden Gate. Chadoh found a nifty little sunset cruise for us to take on our second night there. It was an anniversary trip, after all. The Adventure Cat took us out under the bridge and past Alcatraz before turning around and heading back. I was not prepared for how freezing cold it would be on the water in the evening.
We met another couple on the cruise, Maurice and Debbie, from Ohio. They recommended renting bikes and riding over the bridge to Sausalito. I wasn’t that into the idea, so Chadoh found a place to rent electric bikes. It was fun to zip past other people struggling up the hills. I thought I might feel a little silly about the electric bike thing. But when we were flying up the hills, I yelled to Chad, “I don’t feel like a sell out at all. I feel like a girl who knows what she wants.” I don’t know what I would have done without the power assist going up those massively steep hills. Actually, I do. I would have walked my bike up the hills, whining all the way.
Even though it was sunny and warm where we rented our bikes, the bridge was cold and foggy. Intensely foggy. Like a cloud would feel. Regardless, I got maybe the worst sunburn of my life, but only on the back of my hands and a bit of my nose and scalp. It was so cold that those were the only parts of my skin that were exposed. Even now, a month later, my hands still hurt sometimes.
We took the ferry back from Sausalito. It was a pretty little boat ride.
San Francisco may have been one of the best vacations I have ever taken. Granted, as a farm kid, my family wasn’t able to travel a lot, so my vacation experience is limited (though I think all the time I spent in Spain probably more than makes up for that).
It was more or less an anniversary trip. Chadoh and I rediscovered our love of exploring new cities together. It had been awhile since we’d done that! I think that traveling with someone adds a different dimension to the relationship. You get to observe your partner outside of their natural habitat and watch how they react to the unexpected. We didn’t have much of an agenda, which allowed us to explore at whatever pace we were feeling on a particular day.
We stayed in North Beach, in a cozy-tiny basement apartment that is rented out per night. It was filled with books and art painted by this guy. There was a cream-colored baby grand, which Chad took advantage of. It was also a good spot to keep track of my jewelry and scarves.
Our building had a roof deck. Unfortunately, it was way too cold and windy (at least for the East Coast kids) to stay up there much.
My SF knowledge prior to the trip was really limited. I had never been there before, and Chad had spent just a day there during a missions trip in high school, before moving on to various other cities in CA and Mexico. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that North Beach was kind of a big deal in the beat movement back in the day. It’s home to City Lights, where I picked up an obligatory copy of Howl and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s What is Poetry?, and Chad got Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants. Naturally.
We spent a decent amount of time lounging in Washington Square Park, where very many elderly Asian people do tai chi in the mornings, some with their small grandchildren. It was pleasant.
The North Beach area is also super Italian, which meant I got the most delicious espresso every day. At Cafe Roma, I ordered a latte primavera — a latte with cinnamon and honey. Definitely need to attempt to recreate that this fall when I start drinking hot lattes on the weekends again.
We bought tickets the day the went on sale, before the new album even came out. We decided it would be (one of) our anniversary present(s) to ourselves.
We stopped on the way down the road at Burlap and Bean for coffee and quiche. I don’t see latte art too often in these here suburban parts, oh land of Starbucks and strip malls, so I was hoping Burlap and Bean would deliver. It did.
Bon Iver put on a beautiful show. The audience was fun. The range of people was really interesting. There was a middle-aged, fairly rotund, bald guy with a goatee sitting in front of me. He looked like a biker. He was so into it! He whipped his metaphorical hair with gusto to the music. I could see his jaw move as he lip-synced along. When there was a really great line, or if Justin sang something really emphatically, this guy would gesture with his arms, like he was having a conversation with someone, and the song lyrics were his side of an argument or discussion. Watching him made me happy.
The encore was Beth/Rest, Wolves, and Skinny Love, which he played like he did on the Colbert Report. Except there were sound problems, so about halfway through, he threw his guitar. Justin Freaking Vernon. Everyone cheered. He finished a capella. I loved it. We got to witness something that other audiences didn’t. It felt like a little gift, a secret he shared with Philadelphia.
It also happened to be my sister’s moving day, so we drove in to Philly to check our her apartment. There was little time to think about where to eat, so, in desperation, we ate at Chili’s. It wasn’t bad.
Last year, it felt like there was all this build up to the exact anniversary date itself. This year, I feel a little bit like it snuck up on me.
Even though we didn’t do anything super-anniversary related on the real day, August is full of fun and celebratory events. We’re setting ourselves up to be a little indulgent all month. I’m excited.