Friday, November 6, 2009

High On A Hill, It Calls To Me

     In April of 2000, my wife and I jumped on a quick flight from Ontario Airport to the airport in Oakland California to begin our honeymoon.  Honeymoon in Oakland?  The armpit of California? Why would you honeymoon in Oakland?  There is only one correct answer to that question, which is that you would never honeymoon in Oakland California.  As it turns out, you can't just fly from Southern California  straight into San Francisco which happened to be our destination.  I've never been able to figure out the reasoning behind making us fly into Oakland instead of just flying straight into SFO, although I have a theory that it has something to do with the rivalry between So. Cal and Northern California.  They don't want us up there at all, but since they can't stop us from visiting at least they can make us have to go through Oakland first.  That makes me think, maybe I will lobby for a South Central International Airport, not that LAX is any better I guess.  I seem to have wandered off course here but the tone had to be set.

     So, we play the game, we fly into Oakland knowing that a quick taxi jaunt over the Bay Bridge will remedy the situation.  As the taxi circles around to start our journey across the bay, there it is in the distance, "high on a hill, it calls to me" (the lyrics of Tony Bennett, we all know where his heart is).  The most beautiful skyline I have ever seen sprawled out in front of us.  Coit Tower stands guard overlooking the bay, the Transamerica building stands in the center of it all making its point. There's Alcatraz, the stories that place could tell.

     It's not long before we find ourselves at the hotel that we will call home for the next several days.  To the rest of the world, it is the White Swan Inn, to us it is a little slice of Heaven.  This is an old but elegant place with a bit of primitive charm.  The wood floors creek beneath your feet, the elevator is a bit tempermental, but once you get the gate like door closed properly, it gets you where you need to be. 


     There we were, beginning our life as a young new family, and beginning our love affair with the city by the bay.

     Once you get out onto the streets of San Francisco, your brain almost immediately goes into sensory overload.  The sites, the sounds, the smells, some good and some not so good, this isn't a fairy tale so you need to know that not all of the smells are pleasant but they all add to the experience of life in the big city.  The food in this town is just amazing to top it all off.  We love to eat and we love it even more when the food is delicious.  From Joe's Crab Shack, to Neptune's Palace, to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and my personal favorite, The Grand Cafe, you just can't find a bad meal in San Francisco, at least I never did.

     Why do I bring up this topic today, almost 10 years after the fact?  I bring it up because we miss our time there.  We have been talking about maybe going back there sometime soon.  With the holidays on the way and our work schedules being what they are, we will have to wait a little bit longer but posting pictures and talking about it might just hold me over for just a minute or two. 





  1. It's been years since I've been to SanFrancisco. But I've loved it everytime I HAVE gone.
    The last time we needed a taxi, but the que for tthem was long at our we went out back where the limos were dropping people off. We hired a white Bentley (turquoise leather interior...who knew?) that drove us around the rest of the evening. Here it belonged to Desi Arnez...
    Very cool.
    Still have the photo. Pass the Grey Poupon.

  2. we went up there on vacation a couple years ago with the kids (which meant a lot more riding the street cars up and down the streets than fancy meals, but a vacation is a vacation!) And oddly enough, we stayed in Oakland and took a ferry across to SF each day which was just another fun thing to do! So your pics have brought fond memories back to me too...thanks for sharing them! Hope you get back soon...maybe a second honeymoon!

  3. haha...I love description of Oakland...very true armpit of No CA.

  4. Sounds like the drive in was more exciting than flying. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities to visit, too.

  5. I live in Oakland's armpit, or should I say her shoulder? Anyway, I drive home from work everyday looking across the bay to the city that we all love some much and think how lucky I am to be so close to SF. Truly my favorite city! Thank you for your post.