Today we went on the Napa Valley/Sonoma Wine Lovers Wine Country Van Tour. We hit six wineries including Milat, Sutter, Homewood, Cline, and a couple others. It was an amazing warm and sunny day — so much fun! Our group was great! But now after starting drinking at 10am until 6pm we are back in the hotel, hungover and headachey and ready for bed. Enjoy our pictures instead of words! xoxo
August 28, 2010
Today we had a little bit of a late start after all of the walking we did yesterday — it was nice to sleep in however, especially since we will be up early tomorrow for our Napa Valley Wine Tour. We actually got a phone call today that our wine tour was upgraded from the regular wine tour to the Wine Lovers Tour for free which stops at more wineries and actually makes stops at whatever vineyard you are interested in. Can’t wait! We were pretty hungry by the time we got rollin’ so we headed over to the Extreme Pizza restaurant where we had actually ordered delivery pizza on our first night here. On the way to the pizza place, an interesting open air coffee shop in a loft type garage space caught our eye so we wandered in and got a latte each. It is called Sight Glass and has a roastery located right in the shop which was pretty amazing. They gave us these great beautifully designed coasters which double as their business cards. Lovely little place. They also had a flower lady at the front selling beautifully fresh flowers to coffee lovers. I wish we could bring back a bunch of beans with us — the coffee is so fantastic — but thanks to all the weird laws it seems we cannot do so.
Extreme Pizza was great and it turned out that they also sold gluten free beer to compliment their gluten free pizza! Amazing! Why is this only in San Francisco?! After polishing off a pizza between the two of us we headed off towards MISSION and CASTRO and Valencia Street for a day of browsing, window shopping and shopping. We really didn’t hit anything to amazing until the end of our shopping adventure when we came across several beautiful boutiques and artist collectives, as well as a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant where I had the best Pho I have ever had. Seriously the broth was mind-blowing. Remind me to do some research into Vietnamese cookbooks– I really want to learn how to cook it all at home. Yum.
We debated continuing on our journey but it was already around 6:30pm so we decided to head back to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening relaxing and watching TV. Now that we’ve settled into San Fran a little more, it definitely felt like something we would do on a typical Sunday if we lived here.
We don’t ever want to leave! Its too good to be true!
Today was another fun-filled adventure day! Started off by heading back down to the Ferry Building for a great lunch of seafood salads and crustless quiche at the San Francisco Fish Company. We had a fresh and citrus-y calamari salad and a seaweed and rice noodle shrimp salad. Not sure what kind of fish was in the quiche but I think it was albacore. It was all so delicious, cold and fresh. Amazing meal to start the day. Byron grabbed a couple more gluten-free sandwiches to throw in our bag for later, as well as two gf cinnamon buns which we enjoyed with some amazing lattes from the Blue Bottle Coffee Co. also located in the Ferry Building. After finishing off our coffees we headed off down the Embarcadero in search of Alcatraz tickets and adventures. Walking along all of the piers was amazing. What a beautiful harbour city.
We arrived at the Alcatraz Tour booth and found out they were sold out until Monday — lucky enough we are still here on Monday so we bought 2. We also found out that we would get $4 off the Aquarium admission with our ticket stub that day as well! So, Monday is pretty much all planned out for us. J We continued walking and got to Fisherman’s Wharf where we caught all the sights and goofy shops around there. Crazy busy so we decided to head more into a less touristy zone. We started walking down Powell Street and eventually came across a really cool little area with tons of cafes and shoppes. I passed a hair salon called Tom’s Beautiful Hair — I have been wanting to get my hair washed and blown out since we left LA (the salt water is so brutal) — now was my opportunity. Byron got settled into a darling little bar/café called MELT with a beer and a local music paper, while I headed off to get my hair done! The salon was so adorable, complete with two little French bulldogs who curled up in my lap while my hair was getting blow-dried. I felt SO much better, and more like myself again after using luxe shampoos and conditioners instead of the drying hotel products. Perfect. I went off to find Byron and he was just finishing off another beer in the sunshine. We said bye to MELT and headed off down the road in search of new adventures. San Francisco is really just one big city full of eye-candy. Everywhere we looked there was exciting stores and restaurants, and smells, and sounds. We pretty much stumbled across City Lights Bookstore which was amazing and full of incredible books. We picked up some great books some of which will be kept and some of which will be distributed to our favourite people. Next we headed over to The Beat Museum across the street where tons of great beat history has been preserved and displayed along with loads of local artist interpretations of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs. Pretty fantastic!
We started to feel the hunger pains so we snacked on a bit of the sandwich and trekked down Broadway Street towards the Ferry Building again. Basically, the Ferry Building is our favourite place now in case you haven’t noticed. We are obsessed. Anyways, we wanted to try a new restaurant in there and Gott’s Roadside diner caught our eye. We had an amazing shared meal consisting of garden fresh stirfry green beans, chile marinated and steamed fresh corn on the cob, sweet potato fries with cilantro lime aioli, corn tortilla shrimp tacos, and a vanilla bean milkshake. What an incredible meal! So fresh and tasty! We had never had shrimp or fish tacos before but it was so delicious — like a great salad with tortillas. It was perfect. Once we were done, Byron grabbed some great gluten-free beer from one of the markets. Only 10.99 for a 6-pack — totally unheard of for gf beer. It was really great beer too….going to see if we can order directly from the company.
Feeling pretty tired and happy and full after walking the streets for nine hours, we took the trolley back to our hotel and settled in for a nice sleep.
Honeymoon Diary: Day Nine
August 26, 2010
Today was the most amazing day so far! We checked out of the Ramada in Marina Del Rey and headed on down to figure out a bus to take to LAX. Transit is so cheap in LA…only 75cents each! When we took the bus to Malibu it was only $1.50 each to get there! What a great deal!
Anyways, Byron met someone at the bus stop who knew where to go and she showed exactly where to catch the free airport shuttle too! So easy! We checked in at the airport and got through security with no problems. Afterwards we grabbed some crappy food for breakfast and hunkered down at the gate to catch up on the internet and blog. Our flight was slightly delayed but once we got one it was a very short flight. Again, everything was seamless. We quickly figured out how to get to the BART, San Fran’s train, got our tickets, boarded and were on our way to the city! It was SO foggy. The airport was completely blue skied and sunny and hot but once we got out of the airport area it was totally grey and heavy sky. Still beautiful and I was expecting the San Fran fog but it was still a lot chillier than expected.
We took the BART to our stop at the Civic Centre and almost immediately found our way to our hotel. Wow, that was a lot easier and CHEAPER than getting around LA. Plus our hotel is SO cute! It is called the Good Hotel and it IS good! It has all sorts of eco-inspired elements and cool design. The Concierge is fabulous and has tons of great information. We set up camp in our hotel room and figured out what to do this afternoon. We decided on going to The Ferry Building Marketplace to check out a gluten free bread stand and also the Hog Island Oyster Co. Happy Hour where oysters were a dollar each. We put our name down for a table and walked around the market. I ended up getting a really cute tote bag. We also tracked down the Mariposa GF Baking Company where I bought the most amazing sandwich and loaf of gf rye bread. I have never ever ever tasted bread that good!!! It was amazing! Very inspiring bread, indeed. We headed back to Hog Island and waited around for about 30-45 minutes….the wait was worth it! We got a seat at the bar and both tried some local beverages (beer and wine) and shared an ice filled tray of 24 fresh oysters. It was a sensory overload for my mouth. I told Byron that this was a very important moment in my life. Kinda like how he gets all excited going in to a record store — that is how I feel about oysters. Oh man! Incredible!
We walked back to our hotel feeling amazing and happy and excited. We were still hungry — I think I would have needed 24 oysters for myself to feel full and we had found out about this gluten free pizza company called Extreme Pizza that delivered to our hotel! 40 minutes later we were downing the most amazing gf pizza with tomatoes, artichokes, broccili, onions and more! Heavenly. Let’s just say no one went to bed hungry.
San Francisco is incredible. Tomorrows Agenda? Possibly Alcatraz and tracking down a scarf and maybe a sweater. Brrr,,,,,,(I love this weather. I miss Santa Monica Beach but this weather is SO comfortable!)
August 25, 2010
Today we woke up at 7am to prepare for a morning of surfing in Malibu. We were taking public transit to the beach so we left pretty early to ensure we would be there on time. The sun was already really high in the sky when we headed out around 8am to catch the bus. Taking the bus along the Pacific Coast Highway was breathtaking! So beautiful and it was great to check out the amazing waves. Our bus trip was kind of ruined however by this crazy old hippie crackhead on the bus who felt it was necessary to be overly racist and horrible the whole way to Malibu. He kept dropping his coffee cup of booze and kept blaming other people for it. “What kind of people are you? That you don’t even help another human out when he drops his shit on the bus? No wonder there will be another war when there is so many useless people who don’t even tell you when you are dropping your shit.” It was really annoying. At one point, he said in my direction “Who do you think you are??? A movie star or something?”. LOL….
We arrived at the beach a little bit early and wandered around the beach area before heading down to the surfers area. We met our instructor Zuma and got suited up in wet suits. After some onland instruction and tips he took us out into the water. I promptly sucked at surfing and couldn’t even stay on my board lying down — I didn’t get to the actual surfing part. Turns out you need to have incredible upper body strength to surf which I obviously don’t have. Byron was fantastic however. He could actually swim through the waves on his board — and when I decided to sit the rest of the lesson out he actually caught some waves which was amazing!!! I got some great shots of him preparing to surf. It was so great! After a bit of surfing, he too was exhausted from the crazy waves. We thanked Zuma and headed off on our way back to Santa Monica. We went shopping for awhile on the 3rd Street Promenade and then had an amazing fresh sushi feast at this great little sushi bar that we found along the way.
After stuffing our faces we walked back down to Santa Monica beach and had a nice sun nap for a bit before heading back to the hotel because we had to go get our bikes to return them to the bike rental shack before 6pm. Our ride back to the shack was seamless — we got through traffic perfectly. The great thing about Santa Monica is that everyone rides beach cruisers here and there is bike lanes on every street. No one wears helmets because the roads and pathways are so safe and slow. It was perfect. I really wish that Calgary had bike paths like this. Nice and wide, and no crazy bell-ringing neurotic riders/commuters that we experience in Calgary. After returning the bikes, we walked back down to Washington Street along the Venice Beach Boardwalk and got some delicious ice cream to share and to watch the sun set. So romantic and lovely. It was getting pretty chilly so we grabbed some lattes and headed back to the hotel to watch TV and pack for our flight tomorrow for San Francisco!
While we didn’t get to go to Hollywood or all of the typical stuff to do in LA, I really enjoyed being in Anaheim and in Santa Monica. When I come back to LA, I will definitely be staying close to the beach in Santa Monica and spending my time relaxing at the beach and shopping. Oh and eating seafood and sushi!
We woke up early because we thought we might be surfing today but we ended up just going for breakfast on Venice Beach. We biked down and ate at the Sidewalk Café on the Boardwalk and had some Mexican-inspired breakfasts. Next we bought Byron some new swim shorts so that we were all ready for the beach and surfing. We headed down to the beach and spent a couple of hours relaxing in the sunshine and playing in the waves.
We rode our bikes back to the hotel and got dressed up and ready for the Chris Isaak concert at the Greek Theatre. It was AMAZING! What a beautiful show and a beautiful man! Wowee — Chris Isaak is awesome! I bought the tickets for Byron and I for our wedding gift because when we first met we both talked about how much we loved Chris Isaak. We later talked about our love for the man when we started dating. It was perfect.
August 23, 2010
Today we checked out of the Camelot Inn and headed to our next stop: Marina Del Ray near Venice Beach and Santa Monica. We were supposed to go surfing today but it didn’t end up happening because of all of the Farmers Daughter issues… so we rescheduled for Wednesday. It was a beautiful day when we arrived and we wandered around the area around our hotel on Washington Blvd. After checking in we wandered down to Venice Beach to catch some rays and check out the freak show down at the beach. It was so beautiful out so we kept walking and walking until we reached the end of Venice Beach where we found a bike rental place and got a couple of beach cruisers for two days. We biked down to the Santa Monica pier where we found an amusement park! We went on the that boat ride that goes back and forth really high like a pendulum and I don’t think I have ever screamed so much. I was so scared. It was awesome though! Next we went on the big ferris wheel which was pretty beautiful.
The views of the ocean were incredible. When we were on the top of the ferris wheel I told Byron what my wedding gift to him was: tickets for Chris Isaak the next night at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood. So exciting!
We then went for dinner at the Bubba Gump restaurant right outside the pier and we both had epic seafood feasts. It was fantastic! We hopped back on our bikes and rode back to the hotel to get a good night sleep.
Another perfect day in LA. — definitely not the first impression we first had. Love it!
Disneyland! After our hectic day/night yesterday we still got up early to experience the magic of Disney! I was as excited as a little kid, though I admit after reading countless articles about the so-called FURRIES ring of weirdos I was a little bit freaked out about all the characters at Disneyland. We started off the day at Breakfast with Minnie at Mickey’s Plaza Inn. We were the only people there without children but we still got loads of attention from the characters. Our particular favourite was Eeyore! He was so sad and gloomy. Cute! Minnie Mouse was a little creepy but still cute. I ran away from Bippidi Bopped (spelling?) the fairy godmother in Cinderella. Speaking of Cinderella, I really wanted to get some DVDs of my favourite Disney movies but if you can believe it — you can’t even buy Disney DVDs at Disneyland! |All I wanted was Cinderella and Lady & the Tramp but no luck!
Next we wandered around the park and bought some fun souvenirs. It was really hot today so we decided to head back to our hotel for a bit to hit our hotel pool. Lucky for us the hotel was right across the street so it only took 5 minutes to get back. The pool was on a rooftop terrace which was so relaxing and quiet — especially compared to Disneyland with the 5 millions kids everywhere. After relaxing for a bit we decided to head back to the park for more rides, dinner, and the Disneyland fireworks.
Is it just me or is the castle WAY smaller than it seems on TV or depicted on the beginning of Disney films? I couldn’t believe it was so tiny!!!
The day was perfect, the rides were a blast, and the fireworks were so romantic! Perfect day in fantasy land! Xoxo
Honeymoon Diary Day #4
August 21, 2010
Day four of our Marital Bliss Honeymoon Adventure Tour 2010 turned out to be the worst day yet. We had to check out of our hotel around 11am and now that we were logged down with our luggage, we didn’t have too much to do besides hang around the hotel and spend more money. So we decided to head to the airport early because we could do the same thing there. We got to the airport super early — just around 12pm-ish and our flight wasn’t until 6pm. Yep, good planning on my part — didn’t think about that one too hard. There was an early flight at 4pm but it would be an extra $100 each so we decided to just hang out and blog and upload photos and eat yummy airport food. The hours dragged by until I got a notification on my phone saying that our flight was going to be delayed until 7:30pm! We couldn’t believe it and we were kicking ourselves for not taking the early flight. Major annoyance. So we sat there at Gate 32 for a couple more hours and drank coffees and watched the planes take off. Finally, it was our turn to board our plane. It was a super short plane ride to LA — only 40 minutes. We arrived at LAX — yay we were in Los Angeles!!! We promptly figured out how to get an airport shuttle bus and ended up finding one that took us all through Beverly Hills and the UCLA campus which was BEAUTIFUL!
We finally arrived at our hotel, The Farmers Daughter Hotel at around 10pm — yes — it took us 2 hours from the time we landed until we got to our final destination. It was just as cute as it looked in the photos on line, and we breathed a deep sigh of relief to finally relax, have a fabulous dinner at their gorgeous
restaurant TART and possibly have a late night dip in the pool. We had to stand in line for a while as the front desk girl signed in another guest. When she finished up with him she hesitantly came over to us. I already knew something was wrong by the weird tone of her voice. Turned out that even thought I had already prepaid for our room for 5 nights (about $670) she had given our room away for the first night of our stay and that they would pay for us to stay at a nearby hotel from just this first night. Since we had no idea what this other hotel was, we said okay and took the cab over to the other hotel. It was called the Park Plaza Lodge had was the sketchiest grossest motel I have ever seen the inside of! So sketchy. We set up camp for about an hour in our “free” hotel room to come up with a plan b online and get the hell out of this horrible place. We were SO angry at the Farmers Daughter Hotel — where do they even get off in giving our room away after we had already PRE-PAID!? Do not stay at this hotel! They are horrible. We called them and was told they would leave a message for the girl we had dealt with. We hustled out of the PPL, said thanks to the sketchy front desk guy (its not his fault he works at a sketchy motel) and called a cab to start a new adventure.
Our plan be was to cab to Anaheim to stay at a hotel nearby so that we could go to Disneyland first thing in the morning. Basically we had re-schedule our whole LA experience. A pain in the ass, but I think it was a great thing it happened. Everything turned out fantastic. Anyways, we arrived at the Camelot Hotel after a $154 cab ride (a lesson learned) at 2am and settled in. What a crazy day of madness….glad it is all over.
Up early, around 6:00am. Coffee and pastry for breakfast. We got picked up in a bus and driven into the Nevada desert. Met some really nice people on the way in the bus. An old couple from Nottingham that said they were just friends, a couple from Long Island, New York and three kinda typically american guys from Virginia. We met up with some other people and did the Eldorado gold mine tour! It was very fascinating and impressive. The “wild west” was very real to me there. Unbelievable work conditions and an unreal life style of kill or be killed. I guess if a mine was inactive for 48 hours, it was yours to claim. Well, if you kill everyone in the mine and wait for two days, it’s yours! All men wanted wives to cook when they got home and kill while they were at work. Anyone they didn’t recognize. Crazy! After all that, we met up with Bill, my favorite American so far. Got on some horses and rode all morning around the desert. It was something right out a western movie. I felt like the “man with no name”. My horse’s name was Rooster 🙂 It was a very therapeutic experience. I love Nevada desert and the people who work out there. Very warm people.
The horseback tour was amazing! I honestly felt like I was in some crazy Western Film, complete with 3 Spanish dudes behind me. It was awesome. It was about 2 hours long complete with a stop for lunch. We headed back into town and had a nice long nap at the hotel.
In the evening we decided we needed a little local flavour so we took a cab down to Fremont Street to check out the cheapo casinos, drinks, and cool locals bars. We ended up wandering the streets for awhile until we stopped at Beauty Bar, this adorable 50s/punk rock themed dive on East Fremont for a drink. We missed the live music, but the DJ was pretty good so we ended up just heading back to NY NY. Got some great photos of downtown though…what a cool experience. It was definitely a day of escaping the strip and seeing what else was happening in Vegas.