Category Archives: Traveling

History is interesting when you grow up!

When I was growing up.. and my parents scheduled a vacation that had some sort of educational value (i.e., a historical site) in it.. I was not a happy camper.

To me.. vacation meant beaches, swimming pools, amusement parks, cotton candy, ice-cream … and the like.

Going to Gettysburg did not seem like a vacation to me.. or my brother – as I am sure you can tell from our over-joyed faces:

Fake Smiles at the mercy of our parents

I couldn’t tell you a think that I learned at Gettysburg.

However, I have had a change of heart in regards to historical vacation destinations.

Perhaps it is due to maturity or my desire to continually learn new things.

Perhaps, Alcatraz was just a million more times interesting then Gettysburg (I mean.. jails are WAY more cool then battlegrounds…)

We visited Alcatraz on Tuesday (the same day we went to the game) – and this day ended up being one of the longest ones that we had.

Once we were out and about in the morning, we decided we would talk down to the pier rather then take a cab.

It was a beautiful day.  We (read: I) may have gotten a little distracted by the vendors outside of the ferry building.. purchasing a turquoise necklace..

And browsing through all of the fresh fruits and veggies..

I was once again sidetracked when I remember that I could get some blue bottle coffee inside of the Ferry Building.

Many of you told me this coffee would change my life.

So, I waited in life for this life changing coffee. Each cup is individually dripped – and it was super cool (but a little time consuming for our tight schedule.. woops)

When I finally got my cup, Justin and I began our trek to Pier 33 – where we would catch out boat to Alcatraz.  We were at Pier 1. We we short on time. I spent too much time lolly gagging.

So.. we walked at a super speedy face (which mind you – is not fun while holding a cup of coffee, a jacket, a purse, and a camera).  We made it in time.. but I was kind of randomly sipping my coffee and not enjoying it to the fullest.  The bouncy walk also resulted in coffee stains on my white shirt. Since it was a $3.90 shirt from Forever 21 – I just took it off and threw it in the trash.

Good thing I had layers on! 🙂

The ferry ride to Alcatraz provided us with some beautiful views:

While trudging up the hills to get to the entrance of the jail and snapping some pictures…

we caught a glimpse of a baby seagull and its mama 🙂 Too cute.

Justin and I got our headsets and began our tour. I am so glad they had headsets available… because listening is a lot easier then reading :).

It was facsinating to hear all about Alcatraz – from the viewpoints of some prisoners and of some guards.  It really resembled a terrible, horrible place to spend time (granted those who were jailed there were some of the toughest criminals in the nation…)

We saw many cells.. both in the general population – and in solitary confinement.

Solitary Confinement

General Population Cell

We learned about the Famous (and successful) Escape of 1962  where three men created heads to fool the guards into thinking they were in their beds and sleeping – while they had used spoons to dig through concrete – and eventually climb their way up the pipes in the utility closet and escape Alcatraz Island.  The 3 men are still considered fugitives – and it is unsure whether they are a live or dead.

I also determined that – based on this menu – I would have been able to eat just fine if I were a prisoner at Alcatraz (although the menu and quality of food was one of the main causes of riots..)

Good thing the cafeteria was the last stop on the tour- because it reminded me just how famished and hungry I was. After our ferry ride back over to the main land, Justin and I continued our walk along the Piers in search for some grub. We were both hungry and cranky because it was after 1:00pm.

We ended up eating at Boudin Bread Company. I got the veggie sandwich and Justin got a ham sandwich.

We walked to Ghiardelli Square..

and then had to figure out how we were going to get back to the hotel. We watched packed cable car after packed cable car pass us.. and decided to just suck it up and walk.

Gah. We ended up walking up one of the longest, steepest inclinces I had ever encountered!

A Third of the Way There..

However  – we lucked out because we passed right by Lombard Street – and got to see a view of the Crooked Road from the top! 🙂

We opted out of walking up and down this one…

If we add in our walk back from AT&T stadium, we trekked about 7 miles on this day… and felt it by bed time for sure!! (Yes, I did some home and MAP MY WALK 🙂 .. I just had to know how much we walked.. and I wanted to get a visual of the big old hill we climbed..)

What is the best place you have visited that has historical value?!

Do you enjoy these historical sites more now -then you did when you were younger?


San Fran: Wine Country and Muir Woods

I am home. I am sad. I loved San Francisco – and I loved California!  In our 5 day trip, I feel like we were able to see an awful lot! We were constantly on the go – trying to make the most out of our time (and made it easy to fall asleep as SOON as our heads hit the pillow!)

After a long day of traveling (lay over in Utah.. arriving back to the condo .. at 1:30 .. and still not sleeping right now at 3:00am gaaah) .. I must say it does feel good to be home.  I have missed you all so dearly – and look forward to spending today responding to comments.. and catching up on all of YOUR blogs!  Goodness, I have missed the blog world!

While I did work out every day while I was on vacation (30-60 minutes before Justin woke up in the morning in a SMALL gym at our hotel), I am also stoked to get back into my fitness routine. and lift some weights after getting some rest!

So – I am going to recap our trip in sections!  You’ve already seen tons of pictures from some sites we saw in San Francisco – which were absoltely amazing! I don’t want to photo over-load you .. so today we are going to take a look at Wine Country and Muir Woods!

My father told me that there was only one way to experience wine country – in a convertible!

Obvi we had the top down while driving.. this was taken at our first stop..

So, Justin and I rented this Spider convertible for the day!  We were ballin’ 😉 .

We started up through Napa Valley … and saw GORGEOUS LAND!  I really never had any idea of how many hills – and mountains were in California.

When I got to thinking about it – it actually made a lot of sense.. since the areas we explored were Napa VALLEY .. and then Sonoma VALLEY. Clearly valleys are surrounded by mountains. ( I swear I have my master’s degree….)

Unfortunately – Justin and I did not realize that we had to make legit reservations to take tours .. so we didn’t tour any wineries. But – the views were enough in and of themselves!

To get from Napa Valley to Sonoma Valley – we drove through was is called “The Petrified Forest”.

Well – I am not sure what is petrifying in the forest .. but I was petrified driving over the mountain that separated the two valleys.  The roads were extremly narrow.. and very VERY curvy.. very SHARP curves.

When the road ended .. um.. so did the land. So, If you happen to drive off the road.. chances are you’d plumit to your death.

Yeah. That did not settle with me too well.  My heart was in my throat – and I felt like Justin was driving WAY to close to the side of the road (although in reality, I know it is just the perception from the passenger seat. )

Whatever. We made it through, I calmed down.  LOVED seeing Napa and Sonoma.

On the way back to San Fran -I asked Justin to get off the exit marked.. Muir Woods.. I wanted to see the red woods.

So .. we followed the sign. If I though the narrowness, curviness, and plumitting death possibilities were strong out in wine country – I had NO idea what I was in for traveling to Muir Woods.

HOLY DEATHDIFYING! I must have told Justin how strongly I regretted the decision to check out Muir woods 50 times (in the 20 min trip there).  I was a passanger seat driver for sure.. telling him to slow down.. move over.. and the like. OFTEN. (Sorry babe!)

Some areas had wooden rails.. which made me feel al little safer.

To make things even better.. I was not expecting to stop here.. and my flimsy sandals would not do well making the 2 mile walk from the first available parking space to the entrance of the park. So .. I didn’t even get to hug a big redwood!

SO.. we drove down.. and drove right back out.

The scariest part was that poritions of the road were blocked. closed.. because the road was legit caving in. I mean.. what if the road started to cave in WHILE we were driving on it!?

Justin told me to close my eye. But I said that I would like to know if my death was coming.. so I kept them open.

We did not tumble to our death (obviously.. or else you would not be able to hear of my experiences…)  and I was more then happy to see this!

And drive right back over the Golden Gate.. and into San Fran!

Am I a little over dramatic?!  Most definitely.  Was I scared?!  Yes.  Do I feel bad for what I put Justin through as his passenger?! Yes.  My  mother feels bad for him too 🙂 .

So – tell me – have you ever been a (driver or passenger) on roads that may have appeared a little dangerous to you?  How do you react?!  Over dramatic.. like me.. or are you as cool as a cucumber?!

WIA — In San Francisco

Happy Wednesday! Hump day for all of you that are working (and for those who aren’t.. like me.. you probably don’t even know what day it is 😉 )

There is no way I wanted to miss WIAW by Jenn – so I’ve compiled some of my eats while I’ve been out here in Cali!!

So – going away on vacation for me – does not meet giving up my healthy habits.  I try to keep myself eating healthy – even while away and even if I have to eat out for many of my meals.

So – how do I stay healthy?!  Well, the first thing that I did when we got to San Fran… was hit a up a local little market to pick up some essentials.

I knew that our room had a fridge.. and that there was a microwave available for use – so I could have Organic Instant Oats w/ a sliced banana and the protein powder that I brought from home for breakfast…

I had this oat mixture (here with Strawberries that I picked up at the Farmer’s Market..) for most breakfasts.. while Justin hit up Starbucks for bagels.

I also picked up some carrots – and some goldfish for snacking.  Additionally, I had the chocolate cherry snacks, some (luna, clif, bora) bars, and a supply of apples as well.

Here are a few of my eats from when we have been out!

Yes, this is recycled.. sorry. They were just that good!

Steel Cut Oats made with water.. topped with fresh fruit (and I added Sun Warrior 😉 )

A turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato from Working Girl’s Cafe

AMAZING Hummus Platter – Sun-dried Tomato Hummus, Kalamata Olive Hummus, and Traditional Hummus with cucumbers and flat bread for dipping:

Plain Grilled Veggies with Brown Rice – and a Balsamic Glaze Dipping Sauce on the side.. (Both of the above mentioned dishes were from Daily Grill )

Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt from Ice Bee … on multiple occasions..

They may look the same.. but that is ONLY because it tasted SO good, I got the same thing both times! 🙂

This is .. of course.. no where near ALL that I have eaten while in San Fran.. but I am not one to picture all of my meals!!

I do induldge as well.. don’t you worry! I just want to make sure that I keep myself energized and feeling like myself through the whole trip!

What do you do to keep your healthy life-style while on vacation!?