Fincher's Follies

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Spain 2011 / First Anniversary Vacation

To celebrate one year of marriage, we decided to try to pull together all our points/miles/etc. and put together an awesome anniversary trip.  Neither of us had ever been so Spain, so that seemed like a pretty awesome location! 🙂 MC went into super-planning mode and put together an awesome celebration of us getting married just over one year ago.

Day 1 – Off to Spain!

Saturday we got up and ran, packed and cleaned then headed to Atlanta. Drive actually went smoothly this time (unlike last time where we sat in traffic for over an hour!) and we got checked in, changed some currency, and boarded our plane! We had been spoiled in the past and had flown business class, but we were unable to finagle that this time so coach it was!


Ready to hit the skies!



It was definitely a shift as I was only able to manage a couple hours combined through sporadic naps and MC didn’t get to sleep at all.  Needless to say, we weren’t exactly spritely when we arrived in Madrid. We waited a while for the Hilton shuttle and when it finally came it was mobbed by a large group that showed up like 10 minutes before it came.  No one cared that we had been waiting for a half an hour and the “trunk” filled up quickly so MC and I had to hold our luggage in our laps.  Luckily it was a short trip to the hotel!  While it was annoying to share my seat with my luggage, it meant I could bolt off the bus and straight to the front desk while people waited to get their luggage. haHA! So we were first to check in.  Because it was pretty early we had the choice between a smoking room with king sized bed or a non-smoking with twins.  We went with the non-smoking, even if it made it feel a little more like we were rooming together in a college dorm.

My beautiful roommate



Since we were both pretty beat, we decided to take a nap to try to help get us on Spain schedule.  After our little-longer-than-planned nap, we took the shuttle to the airport then the express bus to the center of Madrid.  We wanted to check out the Museo del Prado so we started moseying that direction and stopped at a nearby place to grab a bite to eat.  After our meal we headed to Museo del Prado.

My sweetie wants to see some art!



Saw a lot of cool art here, notably many from Francisco Goya along with some PicassoVelázquez and Murillo.  From there we walked to Plaza Del Sol and stopped at Cerveceria 100 Montaditos for a drink and snack.

Tinto verano por favor!



Side note: as is the Hilton way, they ridiculously overcharge for internet at their hotels (though, in my opinion, charging for internet at all is overpriced). We balked at Hilton’s 20 euro a day internet so we also spent the day periodically checking for open wifi hotspots so we could connect to the precious internets.  We luckily discovered an internet cafe right next door to the bar that was 0.6 euro for 15 minutes.

Yay internets!



This at least allowed us to let our loved ones know that we arrived and checked in safely and get a quick internet fix before making the trek back to the hotel.  We hopped on the express bus and made a brief assumption that slowed us down a bit. Apparently, the bus drivers don’t stop at every stop on their route.  If you don’t hit the button, they don’t stop. Another side note, Terminal 4 is, like, MILES from terminals 1, 2, and 3.  end side note.  So when we missed/forgot our button push for terminal 1, it kinda felt as though the bus driver was starting to take use out to the middle of nowhere to kill/maim/eat/etc. us.  Luckily, MC talked to him and confirmed that we simply forgot to push the button.  We finally made it to our terminal and then to the shuttle and enjoyed a couple drinks at the hotel bar before calling it a night.

Day 2 – Day Trip to Toledo

We got up bright… er… dark and early so that we could catch the bus over to Toledo. We had a few issues actually finding the train we were supposed to be on, but once we got it settled it was a quick 40 minute trip.


Um... isn't that where the train should be?



We were greeted in Toledo with overcast skies and rain, which was kind of a bummer since one of our main planned activities was just to walk around the town.  We caught the bus to the middle of town and quickly procured a cheap poncho and little Spain umbrella. Once we were as protected from the weather as we were going to be, we walked down to the Cathedral of Toledo.


It is always cool to see these old cathedrals, but after seeing St. Peter’s Basilica, they all sort of pale in comparison.  From the cathedral we walked until we found a little place called Ceverceria el trébol to eat, but it wasn’t serving lunch until 1pm (little different than we’re used to).  Luckily, they WERE serving tapas and drinks so we went with that and continued to walk around Toledo.

They got some fancy benches in Toledo



One thing that Toledo is known for is its knives. It felt like every other store had huge displays of knives and swords.  Kinda felt like and old school version of Tiajuana, haha.

Think Delta would let me bring a broadsword as my personal item?



We walked around and stopped at a few random places then stopped at another little church that housed The Burial of Count Orgaz by El Greco. From there we caught the bus to the center of town then walked to a nearby vista to get a panoramic shot and enjoy the view (the weather was starting to get a little bit better at this point).

Overlooking Toledo



Even though the weather was improving, we were kinda tired of walking around the rainy streets all day and ended up hopping on an earlier bus to head back to Madrid.

Toledo may be rainy, but we are still in Spain!



I promptly passed out on the ride back and was ready to go once we had returned.  The Reina Sofia is a modern art museum that we wanted to check out, but we were hoping to wait until after 6 when they have free admission.  We had forgotten what time the free admission was so we ended up getting there too early and decided to walk to El Brilliante to grab some food until it was time to hit the museum.  I had their signature, and awesome, calamari sandwich and MC had a fish dish and a meatball dish. They also had a wonderful ambiance of a guy welding/sanding/rebuilding one of their counters.  MC ordered an entire pitcher of sangria and I had a pretty large beer, so we were feeling pretty good by the time we were done.

Looks like museum fuel to me!



We walked back out to the museum only to find that the line was now ENORMOUS due to the free admission kicking in.  So we decided we would just postpone that activity until the next day and just go ahead and pay to go when it is less busy.  Since, on average, it took us about 45 minutes to get back to the hotel (had to take the express bus to the airport then wait for the hotel shuttle) and we were still recuperating from the travel, we decided to just mosey home.

We spent a lot of time on the ExpressBus



On the way to the bus, some guy came running by us and his watch (we believe) took a little chunk out of my sweetie’s hand! Our first casualty of travel 🙂 We stopped by the room then headed back down to the hotel bar and realized that we had an alternative to Hilton’s crazy expensive internet rates.  If you buy over 5 euro worth of drinks at the bar, you can use their wifi for 2 hours.  So we enjoyed beer, awesome sangria, and being connected for a little while before hitting the sack.

Looks like a helluva way to end a good day in Spain



Day 3 – More Madrid

We decided that this day would be a good day to adopt the Spanish trend of starting late and ending late and enjoyed sleeping in a bit longer than we had the day before. 🙂 Once we finally got up and at’em, we walked to Chocolateria San Gines to enjoy a breakfast of hot chocolate (super thick like melted chocolate!) and churros. It was a great way to start our day.


One way to get energy for galavanting around Madrid



After food we headed through the Plaza Mayor then on to the Royal Palace.

The Palace



Toured the palace then sat in the nearby park to figure out where to head for lunch.  Found the Cafe Oriente (recommended by Rick Steve) where we had a wonderful and large 3 course meal.

After getting thoroughly stuffed we decided to check out Buen Retiro Park as a place to walk off a few of those calories.


Enjoying the fall colors


One of the cool things that they had was kinda like a playground for adults.  There were a bunch of things set up so that anyone could come to the park and get a well-rounded workout. MC decided to take advantage since, other than walking, we hadn’t been getting a lot of exercise thus far. This was even more entertaining as she was surrounded by Spaniards very intensely using the surrounding workout equipment.  As you can see in the lower middle photo, I preferred to use the bench for my workout.

After the workout, we decided to try the modern art museum again only to get strike three, closed on Tuesdays! After that failure, we stopped by the train station to see if we could make changes to our tickets since we were leaving in the morning and we wanted to try to squeeze in the museum (4th time’s a charm, right?) before we left.  They were uncooperative, but we figured we may try to figure it out in the morning. We then headed to the Ceverceria de Santa Anna for some paella and drinks then next door to Naturbier, a local microbrewery. (Yep, we find them even in Spain!)


Yummy seafood paella


It was similar in style to a lot of bavarian style beers, and the roasted one that I had was pretty good. We then went looking for Casa de Abuello (recommended by Rick Steve) and ended up seeing 3 of them in the span of about a block and a half. We ended up stopping at the El Museo del Jamón (The Museum of Ham) for some dessert-type snacks that ended up being subpar, but we enjoyed people watching in the Plaza del Sol while we ate them. We took the metro, to the express bus, to the airport shuttle and finally to the hotel!  Enjoyed some more drinks and internets at the bar then packed it in to be ready for Sevilla in the morning.

Day 4 – Madrid to Sevilla

We woke up early since it was going to be pretty busy morning and headed to the train station.  We weren’t able to change the ticket because MC got a reduced rate online, but we decided to try to make things work.  We dropped our bags off in a locker at the train station then walked over to the art museum, grabbing breakfast on the way.  We sat outside for a while until it finally opened then we beelined it to the Salvador Dalí section.  Salvador Dalí is one of my favorite artists and it was pretty cool to see some of his work in person, though MC wasn’t the biggest fan of some of his weirdest stuff. We also saw one of Picasso’s most famous works, Guernica, which was frickin’ awesome. Then it was time to head back to the train station.  Grabbed our bags, hopped on the train, and we were off to Sevilla! Unfortunately, there were a group of loud Americans and one of the girls had the kind of voice that should be amplified and studied by the government as a form of warfare.  Luckily, we made it to Sevilla without killing any of them and caught a cab to our hotel. Walked to a nearby cafe, Camela, for some food, and sitting outside reminded us that we might want an extra layer for walking around since we luckily brought the cloudy/rainy weather with us from Madrid.


Tapas are a staple in Spain

Stopped back by the hotel to grab a layer and book our flamenco performance for the night then walked down to the Sevilla Cathedral.  Unfortunately, there was some special circumstance so it was closed for the day.  We decided to just walk around and explore Sevilla for a bit instead.  Picked up some super yummy sweet snack, including a coconut macaroon, from a little stand and noticed how many Spanish women refuse to change what they wear just because they were going to be riding their bike that day.


MC pondering Sevilla

We moseyed to dinner then it was off to the flamenco show!  We got awesome seating near the front, but the chairs were not large and pretty packed in there.  An old chubby lady sat next to/squished MC then we discovered that there was a balcony so we opted to move up there and it was much more comfortable.


They really beat the hell out of that floor

The flamenco was ridiculously awesome and a ton of fun to watch. If the video below doesn’t load, you can check it out here.



After the show we walked back to a main road with lots of shops and eateries. The first place we stopped had some unpleasant orange wine, some beer, and a crazy salty sandwich. Then went to another place and had some paella, sangria, and beer then walked back to the hotel.

Day 5 – Sevilla, then to Barcelona

Woke up in our little hotel room, checked out and left the luggage at the hotel so we could go hit some of the sites. Grabbed some breakfast at Campanario then headed over to the cathedral (3rd largest in Europe!).


Saw where Columbus is buried (top left), used a mirror to take our picture along with the fancy ceiling (top middle), and hiked to the top of the tower for some awesome views of Sevilla (especially since the weather was being a little nicer).

Looking back over the cathedral at Sevilla



We then headed over to Alcazar where we walked through the palace and the awesome gardens.

MC's kind of castle 😉

In the gardens with my sweetie


From there we walked to the Plaza de España, but unfortunately we didn’t have much time to really enjoy it for very long before we had to start making the trek back.

Not the cleanest stitched panorama, but you get the gist



Stopped  for lunch on the way back then briskly walked to the hotel to get our luggage.  Caught a cab to the train station then it was off to Barcelona! 5.5 hours later we arrived, caught a taxi to the Cuitati Hotel.  Got checked in to the snazzy modern hotel then walked down the street to Txirimiri for some food and drinks. Walked back to the hotel and wound down with our free internets before crashing.

Day 6 – Barcelona

Enjoyed not having to wake up early for anything then hit the hotel restaurant’s breakfast buffet.  Finished getting ready then started walking towards the Basilica de Familia Sagrada.  Walked past the Arc de Triomf on the way, which was at the end of a cool little open park area.


Arches are really popular in Europe

We finally arrived at the basilica, which was designed by Antoni Gaudí and is considered his magnum opus.  It is still currently under construction, but it was frickin’ awesome.  It was huge, like many cathedrals in Europe, but it had a much more modern feel to it and he was inspired my many different designs that he found in nature.


There was a lot of information about how he came by the designs, the models that he built, and the aspects of nature that he modelled.  It was really, really cool.  We left there, grabbed a snack, then hopped on the metro.  Got off near the University so we could walk through the La Rambla, a street known for shopping and such.

The main street

The fresh market


The shops were kinda cool, but not too impressive.  The market, however, was crazy.  Tons of different things from desserts, fresh fruit and nuts, ice cream, vegetables, fish, and even skinned goat head (eyes still in socket).  Definitely unique. We couldn’t leave without getting SOMETHING so we grabbed some sweet goodies that ended up costing us 15 frickin’ euro but were SUPER delicious.  We continued to walk down the La Rambla until we reached the end at the Columbus statue near the waterfront. We walked along the waterfront and enjoyed the views while heading back towards the hotel.

Stop! LOBSTER TIME!



We checked out some souvenir shops on the way then regrouped and rested at bit at the hotel. It was definitely nice to have a hotel in the middle of things as opposed to the one in Madrid that took us a minimum of 45 minutes to get to! We stopped by the internet corner of the hotel (two linux computers, woot!) and procured tickets for the Picasso museum and the bus tour that we were going to check out the next day then headed to Tast d’argenteria for dinner.  Headed back to the hotel after dinner to try to pack it in a little earlier since our plan was to try to actually squeeze a run in the next day.

Day 7 – Last day in Barcelona/Spain

Surprisingly, we actually made it up and went out for our run! The garmin decided not to cooperate when I tried to read in the data, so I mapped out an approximation of the route we took.


Don't get to incorporate running the stairs of an old monument very often!



My route was like 1.8 miles while we covered a little over 2, but it is close enough to get the idea. 🙂 We cleaned up then hit the hotel breakfast buffet then walked to where we would pick up the bus for our tour. As is the case with most bus tours, the view for picture taking weren’t always the best, but I was able to get some snaps off.


When we hopped off the bus, we walked down to the Casa Batllo, another cool building designed by Gaudi. Unfortunately, the line was pretty long and it was expensive so we didn’t check out the inside. Enjoyed some of the other buildings walking down the block of discord then had lunch and moseyed back to the hotel.  A short walk later and we were at the Picasso museum!  I was familiar with his blue period and his cubism, but that was about the extent of my knowledge.  It made it really cool to see works from when he was very young and read about the changes in his life and then seeing the effect it had on his style as his work progressed.  The “finale” was a set of works that was a study of Las Meninas, a work by Velázquez. It was a whole room where he basically repainted the painting, or portions of it, with greatly varied interpretations.  Many felt very cubist, but I thought it was really cool to see a talented artist do such an interesting exploration. After the Picasso museum, we did some souvenir shopping then took one of Rick Steves’ suggestions for dinner at Taller de Tapas. It was our “nice” meal of the trip and made for a good finale indeed.  We decided we wanted to stop at least one place on the way home and ended up accidentally choosing an english bar. So after all the San Miguel and Cruzcampo, it looked as though I was going to end with a Guinness.  I didn’t think this proper and we weren’t QUITE done with the trip yet so I grabbed a huge San Miguel and MC got some cider to help motivate us to pack and wind down our last evening in Spain.

Day 8 – Heading home

We got up and out early and took a cab to the bus stop then took the bus in to the airport.  We were there plenty early, but due to some maintenance issue (surprise surprise) the flight ended up being delayed by over an hour. Luckily we didn’t have a connecting flight so we were too worried, until we got paged to the ticket counter. I, of course, thought they were going to try to bump us or something since they had made announcements about needing volunteers to take the next flight, but apparently, my travel luck (at least with regard to flying) finally took a turn for the better!  I guess MC and I got to the top of the list because we are both Delta Medallion members, but we got to the counter to find out that we had been given a FREE upgrade to business class!  How ridiculously awesome is that!? Not only did we get to make the 10 hour flight in style, but it was a redesigned business class where each seat has it’s own “command center” (as I liked to call it) and the seats are staggered so you can legit lay pretty flat without being affected by the person in front of you.

Engage!

My sweetie, riding in comfort

I was SUPER excited and it was SUPER awesome!  Since it was a day flight I wasn’t sleepy so MC and I watched Bridesmaids “together” (at the same time on our respective screens), then I watched X-Men: First Class then followed that with Fast Five.  Most of the rest of the flight was spent playing on my computer and such.


Bye bye Spain!

After around FOREVER we made it through all the security BS that Atlanta has.  Because the geniuses designed it so the international flights funnel back into the concourses, we had to “re-check” our bags and go through security again AFTER we got off the plane.  How annoying. Anyhoo, we finally made it and made the 4.5 hour trek back to our townhome.  It was a frickin’ awesome trip that my wonderful wife did an amazing job as planner and translator for.  I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary.

Super Mega Anniversary Post (aka Another Year of Oddities and Love)

I haven’t been that great about updating my blog as of late, I know. I’ve actually been looking around and am mostly sure that I’m going to migrate my blog and stuff to my mac mini that I’ve set up as a web server. Everything should be smooth if I do it before I fill up the 1 gig I get on livejournal with a free account. Anyhoo, back to the subject at hand.

2 YEARS! (well a few days more than that now) That’s how long me and my sweetie have been together. We cashed in some credit card points and found some good deals and were able to coordinate a long weekend trip to San Francisco to celebrate (do we celebrate in style or what?). It will probably be pretty picture intensive, so get ready for a super post about our trip! We tried to diligently record our foods, but admittedly slacked on our wine documentation, but hopefully my sister will forgive me. 😉

Saturday

Because MC couldn’t take too many days off work, we decided to leave saturday morning to head out to San Fran, but we still wanted to get there early enough to take advantage of the day. So here’s a funny factoid. Thursday night I went to bed a little after 2 AM. On Friday night, I set my alarm for 2 AM. Good times. 🙂 So we were out the door by 3 AM to head to Jacksonville (tickets are way more expensive out of Tally) to make sure we had plenty of time to make our early flight. Needless to say it was a helluva way to start the trip, but I think it was worth it even if it resulted in some sleepy travelers.

All our flights went according to plan (a rarity nowadays with the airline industry) and got to San Francisco safely. Hopped in a cab and it was to our snazzy hotel we went!

One of the first things on our agenda was some wedding dress related stuff, which just happened to take us down 6th street (i.e. the land of the homeless). We still made it unaccosted and since I, obviously, cannot really participate in such activities I found ways to entertain myself while MC did her thing.

 

On a side note, I had heard of a site called Yelp that has many user reviews of restaurants and many other things. I had never really looked into it, but thought it sounded kinda interesting (and MC’s friend Maria is a higher up for them and, thus, a very active user) so I had installed the app on my phone. I thought it might come in handy in San Fran so I actually created an account and tried it out. I must say it was frickin’ awesome. Seeing a list of restaurants near us and all the user reviews lead us to some pretty snazzy places. The first of which was our first lunch at Saffron 685. It was a little Mediterranean place that got good reviews so we thought we would try it out and boy was that the right decision to make!


After lunch we meandered back to the hotel to actually get settled in a little bit and rest before dinner. Another service that I employed a lot this trip was the Google Maps app on my phone. Unfortunately, in the process of meeting Anna, Aaron, Wil, and Kristen for dinner, we discovered that looking at the elevation change when planning a walk through San Francisco could be a helpful thing. Turns out that the first 8 blocks of the walk to Rogue (a type of satellite of the Oregon-based brewery, one of my favorites) was pretty heavily uphill. We eventually made it and enjoyed some good beers and good company. From there, we headed to Vesuvio to partake in a few more adult beverages. It was down by a pretty active strip including, according to Wil, the first topless (then first bottomless) strip club in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

We enjoyed the odd coincidence that Wil and his lady friend happened to be visiting at the same time we were. I was beginning to think Kristen didn’t really exist. 😉


It had been a long day (approaching the 24h mark), so we bid the group adieu after drinks and hit the sack hard.

Sunday

Our actual anniversary! We made it two whole years! (and hopefully many many more to come) To celebrate we decided to do a wine tour through Napa. It made for a kinda early morning (we’ll sleep when we’re dead, right?) but it was going to be a full and fun day of sampling some wines! While most of you know that I’m more of a beer guy, I was still interested in learning a little more and trying some new things. We wanted to get a little food in our tummies before we set off so we hit up the Yelp! machine and found Daniel’s Cafe.

It was perfect and I had an amazing croissant to start off the day! We caught a taxi to the origin of our wine tour, hopped on, and began enjoying the views!

Though they have a lot of fog, we still caught a nice skyline…

and a good ol’ San Franciscan tunnel.

Seeing acres upon acres of vineyards was definitely impressive! Especially when you began to notice the variety and the guide described all the little nuances in how they were set up and how it affected the grapes and, thus, the resulting wines.

Interspersed amongst the vineyard lands were many wild mustard plants. If I remember correctly, they are nitrogen rich plants and helped keep the soil fertile.

Our first stop was Domaine Chandon where they produced many sparkling wines. It was the only place that we got a full tour of and it was quite the facility!

 

We learned that the real difference between champagne and sparkling wine is just the region from whence it comes. If it doesn’t come from the Champagne region in France, it really shouldn’t be called a champagne. I also learned that Extra Dry is sweeter than Brut and we learned about the origin of the term Brut. Basically the British wanted a dryer sparkling wine than the French were giving them and, being the #1 consumer of French sparkling wine, the French thought they would try to appease them (much to their displeasure I’m sure). So in the process of creating sparkling wines, sugar is added for the second fermentation. For the British, the French excluded this sugar addition resulting in a much dryer sparkling wine. The term “brut” comes from the French for “unfinished,” which is how they regarded this British favorite. Anyhoo, this turned out to be my favorite stop on the tour. Not just because I tend to like sparkling wines more than regular ones, but our tourguide was pretty entertaining as well!

All of these areas were beautiful, and we continued to perfect the art of self-portraiture.

On the way to the next winery, I had been noticing some interesting propeller type objects out in the vineyards. Luckily, our tour guide was on top of it and explained that they are set to start up at a certain temperature and humidity and basically circulate the air around the grapes when it starts getting chilly. This protects them by giving them an extra few degrees before frost settles on them, which can really affect the grapes (who knew grapes were so sensitive?).

Our next stop was the V. Sattui Winery. This was also our lunch stop (sorry no pics, we were hungry!). The food was super scrumptious, though nothing too fancy (except the wide selection of cheeses that had MC mesmerized).

Our “wine mistress” (as the tour guide called them) wasn’t the friendliest, but it was still a fun tasting. MC had her first port (not a fan) and a syrah that (I believe) was her favorite wine of the trip. If only they had told us while we were there that to order it from them you must order a minimum of 6 bottles. Geesh! It was still a pretty cool property and good experience.

On the way out we stopped to watch the Napa Valley Wine Train pass by…

then it was off to the Black Stallion Winery.

It was built on some old horse stable grounds and had a pretty small output compared to the others we visited. Another interesting thing was that this winery seemed to talk more than the others about the various accolades and awards which they had recently received. This was especially interesting because this was by far and away our least favorite of the tour (and not just because we had already had a lot of wine. It got beat out easily by the fourth and final winery). Though unimpressive, it was still a very interesting experience. From there it was off the Andretti Winery (yes, of Mario Andretti the super awesome race car driver).

The wines there were pretty good and the guy who served us was entertaining, but I don’t think there was anything that particularly caught our fancy (except another nice photo op).

The Andretti Winery was our final winery and, honestly, MC and I were pretty happy to hop on that wine tour bus!

We were both a little wine’d out so I think it would have been hard for us to enjoy it had their been many more stops. The bus took us to the ferry stop so we got a little different scenery on the ride home. We saw the Golden Gate bridge (which we had driven over on at the beginning of the tour) through the fog and got a pretty good view of Alcatraz as well.

Even though it was a long day, we were looking forward to a nice romantic anniversary dinner. After talking to the wine tour guide we decided to check out the Hayes Street Grill. It was a little pricey, but the food was pretty darn good.


It was a wonderful evening with my sweetie and a great ending to a great 2 year celebration.

Monday

This morning Yelp! steered us to the Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery and it was SUPER good!

MC’s
Mine


By this point in the trip, we had logged many hilly miles around San Francisco and MC wanted to ride the cable car, so we moseyed to the nearest stop and hopped aboard!

We took it all the way to the end of the line, just short of Fisherman’s Wharf.

After checking out some of the local merchants, we decided to take a walk over towards Pier 39 to really get into something touristy. And boy were we not disappointed! We thought about checking out the aquarium, but 15 bucks a head was a little steep. We did get to visit a good friend of ours though!

We checked out some of the various shops in the area, then decided to see if the sea lions were hanging out that day (it wasn’t too cold, but with clouds and lots of wind it got cool in a hurry!) Sure enough, they were lounging about as always and even putting on a little performance for MC and me.

Since we had a coupon that we acquired after buying our souvenirs, we decided to check out the Fog Harbor Fish House for lunch. We decided to keep it pretty simple and enjoyed a nice view of the waterfront while we dined. From there we walked over to the famous Ghirardelli Square!

We had an awesome ice cream spread that included some obligatory Ghirardelli chocolate and it was, of course, delectable.

We then we decided we needed to burn some of those calories by hiking up some more hills! Did I mention that you can have a little fun with the panorama mode on many cameras?

We made it to the top of the crazily curvy and crooked Lombard Street (second in crookedness only to Wall Street, according to our wine tour guide) and crooked it was!

Luckily there was a cablecar stop nearby so we were able to catch that to get us the rest of the way back to the hotel. After a little regroup, we decided to hit some of the nearby shopping then rested a little before walking to the “French Quarter” (i.e. one street).

There we were meeting back up with Anna, Aaron, Wil and Kristen for dinner at a fancy French restaurant, Plouf. I had a ginger encrusted sablefish that was one of the most interesting dishes I have had in a long time (in a very good way). It wasn’t just ginger, but similar to gingerbread that coated the fish resulting in a very interesting amalgam of flavors. Old man Wil was getting a little beat so we bid him and Kristen farewell and headed to a bar for a few more drinks with Aaron and Anna. We had a long travel day the next day so we wrapped things up and headed back to the Hilton for a final night of San Francisco rest.

Tuesday

Tuesday we got up, again sampled some croissant from the nearby Daniel’s Cafe, then hopped in our snazzy Lincoln (that we didn’t know the hotel would have available for less than the cost of a cab) to head to the airport. Goodbye San Francisco!

All-in-all it was an amazing trip and an amazing way to celebrate two years with an amazing girl. If only we had the money to have trips like this more often. Perhaps one day! 😉 Happy 2 years my love!

Final shot courtesy of Wilson Onstott

A year of oddities and love / spring break

The first half of the tagline we liked to use to describe our one year anniversary. 🙂 I’ll talk a little more about that in a minute, but I figured I would do a little recap of the mileage covered this week as I felt like I had practically switched careers into the trucking business.

Friday: Tallahassee to Hilton Head – 340 miles
Saturday: Hilton Head to Savannah – 42 miles
Sunday: Savannah to Tallahassee – 300 miles
Monday: I had meetings
Tuesday: Day tripped to a friend’s house in Welaka – 430 miles
Wednesday: Tallahassee to Bristol – 537 miles
Thursday: dentist and errands in Bristol
Friday: Bristol to Atlanta IKEA to Tallahassee – 603 miles

Total miles: 2252

Now that’s a traveling week!!!

So MC and I left after work and went to Hilton Head after work on friday. Got there in the evening so we just took it easy and crashed.

So we started out our day in Hilton Head by going for a run! I love that we can start out a special day (like our anniversary or valentine’s) with some exercise. Makes you feel better the rest of the day, and it is kinda cool that we can share exercise as well as our leisure time together. So after our run we prettied up and went across the street for lunch at Land’s End. We were going to eat at the Salty Dog but it was jammed and we were pretty hungry. After lunch we hit the road and moseyed over to Savannah. Luckily it wasn’t too bad of a drive. We got checked in and then decided to walk around Savannah for a bit. We actually got lucky because it was First Saturday so there was a shindig going down near the river.

There were lots of vendors selling a lot of crafts and stuff and it was cool to walk through with my goofy sweetie and peruse.

We slowly made our way down the waterfront and checked out the various wares. Stopped in a couple gift shops and a candy store on the way as well. Once we made it to the famous “waving lady” statue, we turned back into town to start meandering towards the hotel.

On the way back to the hotel, we decided to pass by the Pink House, where we were going to have dinner. We figured we should check it out so we would know exactly where it is and how long it would take to walk from the hotel.

Once we got back to the hotel it was time to get dolled up for dinner! The Pink House was super kickin’ when we got there (glad I made a reservation!) and the food was pretty yummy. The appetizers were awesome and the entrees were pretty good. A little pricey, but it was definitely worth it for a cool anniversary dinner.

We took a different way home to view a little more of Savannah, then had a nice relaxing rest of our evening. Sunday we got up and wanted to walk around Savannah and see a little more than we got to the previous day. We talked to the concierge and he recommended a good brunch place, J.Christophers. They have some outside seating so we snagged a table and had a wonderful brunch in a nice little area of Savannah. Later we found out that while we were eating outside, my friends Paul and Chasity were actually eating inside! What are the odds? And I think another friend of ours was in the area at a similar time as well. It was crazy to know that I had friends right inside and we didn’t even know!

After brunch we continued through the historic district over to Forsyth Park.

We weren’t intentionally trying to look like we were posing for prom pictures, but it definitely turned out that way.

We sat in the park for a bit, then decided to wander back to the car so we could hit the road back to tally. It was a great weekend. We covered some ground, enjoyed some great food, a cool new place, and of course each other’s company. It was definitely an awesome way to celebrate a year of oddities and love.

Tuesday Matt and I went to Tim’s house to join some wakeboard club kids for our first wakeboarding session of the year. It was a blast and we had a lot of fun, even if we did drive for like 7 hours that day. I got some pretty good pictures that you can check out on my Flickr account. I thought about posting a few on here, but figured I will just let people check them out on Flickr. I will end on a cool shot Matt got of me. Now I’m off to try to be at least a little productive on St. Patty’s!