I spent Christmas doing a four day tour of the the San Francisco area with my cousin Anna who lives in Marin County. Besides a bit of rain on the morning of December 24 we pretty much had wonderful weather for the entire visit.
Anna had to work until noon on Christmas Eve so I took a walk around her neighborhood and along 4th Street in San Rafael, California. 4th Street is a cool little street with coffee shops, restaurants, places to hang out, art galleries, and other shops. After strolling along and debating if I wanted to stop in a coffee shop I came to a shop that I had to check out. It was Brad Gilbert’s Tennis Nation (Brad Gilbert is a famous tennis commentator for major tennis events, a tennis coach, and former professional tennis player). My first sight upon entering this store was the tennis racquet used by Rafael Nadal during the final match of the 2008 Wimbledon tennis tournament. There were several other tennis racquets used by tennis superstars during championship matches throughout the store and I took a picture of every single one. I also learned that Brad Gilbert had been in the store 10 minutes prior to my arrival; although I haven’t followed tennis as avidly I did before I moved to Phoenix, I was delighted to find this place. After I left I spoke with my good friend Frank in New York, stopped at a grocery store and purchased some fruit, then returned to Anna’s place.
When Anna arrived home we went to Point Reyes National Seashore and visited the Point Reyes Lighthouse. We took a short walk to see the lighthouse as a storm came in from the ocean. The countryside was stunningly beautiful. There was a perfect scatter of clouds, both regular and storm, as well as sun that created a rainbow near the edge of the seashore and over the wonderful, rolling green hills where cows were happily grazing. That evening we went to Anna’s friend Luz’s family’s house and enjoyed a wonderful evening of conversation and great food.
The following day was Christmas and Anna and I decided to take a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge after opening presents and eating a deluxe breakfast. It was a crystal clear day and we could see the whole city of San Francisco; Anna said it is usually not that clear. That evening we went to see the new Star Wars movie.
The day after Christmas was my last full day in California for this visit. We decided to go to the city of San Francisco. Anna thought it would be cool if we could do some sort of scavenger hunt around the city but we decided to make a list of the things that we wanted to see and do. Our list is as follows:
- Ride a trolly
- Visit Giants Stadium
- Visit the house where Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed
- Visit the house where the sitcom Full House took place
- Visit and eat lunch in Japan Center
- Visit Clarion Alley (a narrow street in The Mission District with murals all over the walls)
The following morning we took a ferry to the city and navigated from place-to-place via foot, train, and bus. We completed our list around 4:00pm and had time to stop and see the Christmas tree near Macy’s. We caught the 6:30pm ferry back to Marin County and went to a very tasty Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. After that we watched the very first Star Wars movie (Episode IV: A New Hope).
I had to return to Phoenix the following day but my plane didn’t leave until 2:30pm so we were able to watch the next episode of Star Wars (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) before I left. It was a wonderful time in California.