Friday, February 27, 2009

24 Hours at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

After a group tour through Sonoma, I gifted myself one day of solo time in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood. With only 24 hours on the clock before I returned to the airport, I arrived at the Best Western Tuscan Inn, where the valets looked like gondola pilots in their black and white horizontal-striped shirts and black straw hats. The hotel lobby resembled a casual and cozy Italian manor, with a rear window that looked out on a multi-level terrace full of potted flowers and greenery, and small trees. A sign reminded guests about the free happy hour offered every evening, and I vowed to return from my adventures in time to socialize.

I put on my warmest jacket against the February chill, and set out on foot. The smell of salt water, and uncharacteristically blue winter sky, lifted my spirits. I explored Pier 39 and then headed to the other end of the Wharf where I met a writing acquaintance and S.F. resident, for a private wine tasting at a new wine store. Fueled by great food and drink, I returned to the streets with stops at Ghirardelli, Boudin Sourdough and several other food purveyors.

As the sun set I walked briskly towards the hotel again, where I joined a large crowd of ruddy faced guests before a roaring fire, still wearing fleece and scarves as they sipped wine and munched on freshly made bruschetta. Conversation flowed as it often does in a room full of strangers without agendas or previous connections and I found myself talking with a couple visiting from Ireland.

Before we knew it Jackie and I had talked for nearly an hour beyond the last guest's departure. Only then did I realize how good my comfy bed and soft pillow sounded.

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