Sunday, August 17, 2014

I left my heart in San Francisco

"Dealing with other drivers in San Francisco is almost like going to war." -- Mom

Today was lots of fun as we went to San Francisco with Henry's film club. The purpose of the field trip was to see some of the locations where the 1958 film Vertigo was shot. Though it was somewhat exhausting as we were out for almost 14 hours, all of us had an amazing time.

We had to start out early due to potential congestion along the route. The drive went pretty well; not only was there less traffic than anticipated, my family actually ended up being the first to arrive. The three of us then headed to Portsmouth Square to wait for the other families. It just happens that the San Francisco Chinatown Ping Pong Festival was being held at the plaza. Even mayor Ed Lee was there!

Once everyone showed up, the tour began with a walk on the Barbary Coast Trail. Our party visited several points of interest in the area, such as Saints Peter and Paul Church and the Cable Car Museum. The cable car power house at the museum was a cool sight for sure.

All of us then had a short rest at Fairmont San Francisco before deciding where to go next. The hotel was impressive - both inside and outside - although I'm not too keen to find out the rates. The last stop of the morning was the beautiful Grace Cathedral. One interesting feature of the church was the labyrinth outside the entrance. Going to the center of the maze was a workout in itself.

The group split up for lunch; my family and several others went to a Chinese restaurant called Imperial Palace. Everyone was super hungry as it was well past noon. Let's just say it was like feeding a pack of half-starved wolves when the food arrived. While the prices were somewhat high, the food overall wasn't too bad.

Several families went home after the meal, leaving only nine of us. The later points of interest were farther apart, meaning there was more driving than walking. The second half of the tour began with a visit to Mission San Francisco de Asís. Founded just before the U.S. declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, the mission is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. We then went to the nearby Palace of Fine Arts but didn't actually go inside due to time constraints.

Up next was Fort Point, located at the base of Golden Gate Bridge. The fort had just closed for the evening, but we stayed in the parking lot for a while to enjoy the cool ocean breeze. The next destination was the Legion of Honor; as the museum was also closed, all we did was look at the outdoor artworks. The afternoon concluded at the makeshift memorial outside the home where the late Robin Williams once lived. It was touching to see that so many people cared about him.

The plan was to head to another Chinese restaurant for dinner. However, my father had such a hard time finding a parking spot that we almost decided not to stay. Mom was about to call Henry to tell him we were leaving when Dad found a place to park at the last minute. Our group then had dinner together before going separate ways. The food wasn't that good, but at least Mom was able to take a break from cooking.

Having walked so much, the three of us were totally exhausted when we got home. MapMyRun says we walked a total of around 12 miles - which is a new record for us. I'd say that burned off quite a few calories. :-)

On the whole, this had to be one of our best day trips ever. I had no idea San Francisco could be so much fun. I'm hoping similar events are planned for the future. In the meantime, you can see pictures from the field trip here.

In other news...

Only six more days until my 10-year high school reunion. I'm so excited!

Update: The pictures are online.

Currently listening to: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett

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