Debbie and Ken's Excellent Adventure – we take off…..

City and Country


The rhythm of our life seems to be settling into a good pattern for now. Working out/attending to transitional paperwork (lots to do to deal with not working/going to France), meal preparation, trying to see some of the tourist offerings, etc. Since I’ve been here many times for both business and pleasure, especially with my brother living here, I’ve done many of the tourist things, but it’s fun to revisit. Ken hasn’t seen some of this stuff in a long time, so a good revisit for him.

Wed. went to a new spot for both of us: the Oakland Museum, which is all about CA. We spent a lovely afternoon learning all about CA history and culture. It was well done. I love learning stuff about your surroundings like that – part of the fun of traveling.

Thurs. we took public transportation again, this time a ferry to get from Oakland to San Francisco. Not cheap: $7/person EACH way plus about $13 for parking. Fun to go over the water, but pricey. The trains (BART) are supposed to go on strike Sunday, so an absolute nightmare for getting around. Sure the ferries will be overflowing when BART goes on strike (average wage for BART worker: $73K plus they don’t pay anything for their pensions and healthcare – striking for average wage to be $93K…not too many people are sympathetic).

So, the City: destination was supposedly a wonderful Farmers’ Market that is in front of the Ferry Building (filled with wonderful food and product shops) that runs on Tues., Thurs., Sat.

Ferry Farmers' Market

Ferry Farmers’ Market

Unfortunately, on Thursdays, VERY disappointing! Only 5 booths and one of those was just for honey. Have heard on Saturdays, there are more than 40 booths. Did see something called “fire beans” and thought those were interesting.
Red fire beans - good for minestone

Red fire beans – good for minestone

Inside the Ferry Building, which is right on the water, everything is displayed beautifully. Presentation is half the battle in cooking, as all of us cooks know. That is definitely a weak spot for me, with my non-artistic self. I was struck how these mushrooms for sale were arranged. Beautiful!

Beautifully displayed mushrooms

Beautifully displayed mushrooms

Another thing is the quality of the ingredients/process. If you ever see this sign for Blue Bottle Coffee, it is the BEST COFFEE EVER!! I’ve only seen it in NYC and San Francisco. Had it last time my BFF from Madison, Kathy, and I were here in CA. Of course had to text her a picture of the sign immediately!

Blue Bottle Coffee - Best Coffee EVER!

Blue Bottle Coffee – Best Coffee EVER!

After the Ferry Building, and grabbing a lunch to go, walked down the waterfront. The America’s Cup is slated to begin soon here and there was a lot of activity around that. We walked all the way down to Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, the Cannery and Ghiradelli Square where of course we had to taste little chocolate samples. YUM!! Lots of people out and about and tourist stuff going on: tour buses, rental bikes, Segue tours, etc. We've seen a lot of the locations before, but it was a nice reminder. Guess I’m done for now with that stuff. Too many crowds for my liking and too expensive (we’re used to that in Lake Geneva: fleece the tourists). Beautiful sunny, pleasant day (high ’60s/low 70’s).

So, after the City on Thursday, did Country on Friday. Hooked up with old ex-boyfriend (from high school!) and his wife who I’ve kept in contact with all these years. Whenever I’m out here, we get together. They took us to Muir Woods (with the giant redwoods) and then had dinner in Sausalito, an upscale, really nice artsy town on the water, which we’ve been to before, and always enjoy. The redwoods are awe inspiring (I couldn’t even take pix as they are too imposing to be captured). We caught the tail end of a ranger’s speech. I learned that the redwoods here (which are actually sequoias) are coastal redwoods and are smaller than the inland sequoias. They are 12 feet across, as opposed to 40 feet across, and about 100 feet shorter. The interesting thing about the coastal redwoods is that they need about 500 gallons of water a day and get about 30-40% of that from capturing moisture from the coastal fog that rolls in every evening. The way they stay upright, being so tall, is that they interlock their roots with the trees near them which forms a web underground. The strength of that network is amazing. Normally, their roots alone, without the other trees would be a ratio of a 6 foot man’s height supported by a root system the size of his big toe. Would never work!
Talk about team work with the root interconnectivity!

Been trying to hook up with some friends from the past who live out here to get together and catch up. Why, as we age, does this seem more important? Trying to recapture some of our life from when we were younger?? So easy to find/connect with people now-a-days with all our technology. It’s been great reaching out and having people respond so quickly and want to connect, too.

A travel alert for Americans abroad just came out yesterday from our Government. A little scary and am thinking about “registering” with the State Department as to where we will be when we leave in a few weeks for France. Think I would be more concerned if we were going to be in Paris, where there is a lot of unrest, but in Lyon and Montpellier, in the center/southern part of the country, I am not as uncomfortable (plus we are flying Swiss air…who attacks Switzerland??!!). The one thing I am thinking about is that we’re taking a train from Lyon to Montpellier, and the State Department specifically mentioned trains. But, that won’t be until Sept. 1st, and they talked about August, at least for now. Guess you can’t live your life worried about this stuff; it can happen anywhere (look at the Boston Marathon – who could have imagined that??!!).

So, that’s it for now, Friends. Have enjoyed “talking” with you and hope you email me back about YOU. I miss you all!
Next week Sonoma for wine tasting (I’m researching which ones are free – not many). Ken’s never been to Sonoma, and I actually like it better than Napa, as it’s more rustic/rural/natural. Plus, am a bit nostalgic as it’s where I got my little wine tattoo on my ankle when Kathy and I came out here to celebrate my 60th a couple of years ago!! I will take pictures and report and raise a glass (or two) to toast all of you…..


2 thoughts on “City and Country

  1. Deb, thanks for all the wonderful descriptions. I feel like I am right there with you. The summer here has been busy for me. We have two groups coming to stay and visit in August–lots of work but fun. Our girls come most weekends so that is good.
    Continue to enjoy this amazing opportunity. I know I will learn a lot more from you in the weeks to come.
    Have a safe journey!

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