On March 3rd, the San Francisco area was invaded by G’nomes from around the country: Sue and Liz from SE Michigan, Dot from southern Ohio, Tracy and Cyn from Seattle, and Sharon from Tucson (joined later in the week by Beki from California and Lisa from Chicago). Of course, I wore my tiara on a leg of the flight as I was "tempted" by friends to do it.
|Liz and Sue en flight|
|Caught me coming out of the ladies room|
As flights from the country were coming at different times, the first wave of G’nomes had lunch in a lovely little restaurant in Burlingame by the SFO airport. Liz introduced Bibimbap to Sharon, and a wonderful luncheon (who uses that word any more?) was had by all, with promises to have dinner here later in the week.
Once Tracy (who flew from Seattle via Las Vegas - not a very direct flight) arrived, we drove our rental G'nome-mobil (which has a wine cellar or "Stow and Go" seating)
to downtown San Francisco to the Opal Hotel, which is on the border of two neighborhoods – the Tenderloin and Japan Town. It was a nice, older hotel; small rooms, but enough for our group of six to share two rooms. Our room did not have a closet, but a nice wardrobe which looked like something out of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” books. I didn't venture into it to see if it went to another world. The room was on the front of the hotel, which is on Van Ness street and not unnecessarily noisy. Beds were clean and comfy, although the pillows could stand an upgrade. The lobby was clean and spacious, and the provided breakfast was more than adequate. Secure parking was a great find in the city!
|The Wine Cellar in the rental|
True, the hotel is in a less than savory part of town, but if you keep your senses about you, walk in groups and just be aware of your surroundings, you should be fine. Polk Street looked a little less desirable than Geary, so we avoided it. Parking lot was small, but just at the back of the hotel, but locked and secure.
Our first day, we walked from the hotel down to Union Square (and right passed the Hotel California) to Britex fabrics which was Dot’s dream fabric store. I found a bin of leathers for clearance prices which was great. Following that, we tried to get on the cable cars, but they weren't in service (found out later, they were down all day – what a disappointment).
|Dot and Cyn get in the spirit!|
We managed to get on the correct street car and get down to Fisherman’s wharf where most of the day was spent walking around. Lunch was at Fog Harbor and it was wonderful!
|Lunch at Fog Harbor on Fishermans Wharf|
Sue, Liz, Tracy, Cyn, Dot and Sharon
Sharon had an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli’s which was not shared (don’t get between Sharon and her ice cream). After trying to determine to get back uptown without the cable car, we managed to get on the correct street car going back up the hills of San Francisco, and to the downtown shopping area. Sharon, Dot and Sue did some damage in the Unicol store for themselves and family
Walking back to the hotel was not going to be an option for us in an unsavory neighborhood (why be stupid - we could have walked, but that wasn't the smart thing to do), but I managed to figure out the correct bus, confirm it with a woman who was getting on the bus and it dropped us right at the corner of Geary and Van Ness (bus 32L if you need to know). Brava!
Stay Tuned for part 2!