San Francisco/San Jose

November 8th-12th, 2005

This year's International Coach Federation conference was held in San Jose. I decided to accompany Jane on the trip and visit San Francisco while she went to conference sessions.

We arrived on Tuesday and had the afternoon free to explore San Jose. Downtown was getting ready for Christmas with displays going up on Market St. We walked all around downtown until Jane had to go to an evening dinner. I decided to try the Gordon Biersch restaurant/brewery and had a decent pint of beer and a good dinner.

Jane had no commitments on Wednesday so we took the free shuttle to the train station and boarded the Caltrain for San Francisco. The "baby bullet" train only takes about 50 minutes to get to the city. We bought day passes on the SF Muni which allows you unlimited rides on buses, trolleys, light rail, and the famous cable cars. We immediately took the Powell & Hyde cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. We had great weather in the morning and racked up quite a few miles walking along the waterfront, through the grounds of Ft. Mason, and on to the Palace of Fine Arts.

We took a bus back to Fisherman's Wharf and ate lunch at Pompeii's Grotto. Good new England chowder and a crab sandwich for each of us. I could have made a meal of the sourdough bread that they served. No matter where you get sourdough in other places, it never tastes as good as what they have in San Francisco. They say it's the weather that makes it taste the way it does. After lunch we walked along the Embarcadaro. After an hour or so, we doubled back to Ghirardelli Square for a hot fudge sundae. We figured that we'd burned off about that many calories in our walk!

While visiting the shops at Pier 39, I heard some grunting/groaning while Jane was in a store. I went out by the water to investigate and saw the huge number of sea lions that make their home at the pier. I had read about them once upon a time but had forgotten that they were there. They started coming to the pier after the 1989 earthquake and now number up to 600. Here are a couple of little film clips of them sunning and fighting. Turn the volume up a bit to hear the cacaphony that goes on continuously. You'll need a broadband connection as these are large files.

  • Clip 1
  • Clip 2
  • Clip 3

    We hopped aboard one of the historic trolleys and headed back to Caltrain for the trip back to San Jose. We ate at a restaurant near the hotel in San Jose.

    Jane had conference sessions on Thursday so I decided to go back into San Francisco. It was another beautiful morning.I rode the bus out to Golden Gate Park and walked around quite a bit. Then on to another bus for a trip out to Ocean Beach, a wonderful area on the Pacific. A couple more bus rides landed me at the park at the Golden Gate Bridge. After all the times that I've been in San Francisco, I'm still mesmerized by the bridge.

    I proceeded on to Fisherman's Wharf once again and had a stand-up crab sandwich lunch. Then off to Ghirardelli Square once again for another small sundae (I got to have chocolate mint ice cream this time, which Jane doesn't like)! I went back to Pier 39 to see if I could get better sea lion pictures and mini-movies but the clouds and a chilly wind had moved in just like the day before.

    I decided to take one more cable car ride, this time on the California line to the top of Nob Hill. The it was back down to Market St. to catch the Muni light rail to the train station. After two days, I felt like a regular commuter on the Muni and Caltrain.

    Thursday night we had dinner at Scott's in San Jose courtesy of the Halpin Company, the coaching firm that Jane is part of. I wanted to go to Scott's because it (actually the one in downtown San Francisco), along with The Fish Market in San Mateo, used to be our favorite dinner spots when I came regularly to the Bay area for business in the '80s.

    Jane was in sessions on Friday morning so I just hung out in San Jose. Took in some speeches at the beginning of the Veteran's day parade. That afternoon, we again walked around downtown. Found yet another brewery/cafe (the Tied House Cafe and Brewery) near the hotel for dinner. I flew home on Saturday and Jane returned on Sunday.

    As always, click on any picture for a larger image. You can then use the arrows to move between pictures.

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