Once in a while it helps to be free of our modern-day shackles: Cars; phones; email; TV; answering machine. All those modern conveniences we claim make our lives so much “simpler” and, at the same time, keep us running in circles.
In an attempt to slow the pace, I planned an urban escape. Now I know you’re wondering how this could be slow. We rarely equate urbanism with a leisurely pace. But even on our best rural vacations, I find myself rushing to get to from place-to-place; trying to see as much as possible. Fearful I’ll miss something. And what if I never return?
So when planning what we have humorously come to call our “Urban(e) Adventure” a few things had to be ironed out:
First: We had to leave the car behind. Solution: Amtrak.
Second: Somewhere unencumbered. Where everyday distractions don’t block-out all that is special in your destination. Where there are no phones. Or TV! There’s email if you feel the need or urge to stay connected to the outside world, but you have to pay for it. Solution: How about a youth hostel?
Third: A location full of great sights, sounds and tastes – all accessible on foot or by transit. A certain sophistication without all the trappings of a 5-star retreat.Solution: From Sacramento there could be but one solution: The urban delights of San Francisco and Hostelling International at Fisherman's Wharf/Fort Mason – part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; perched along San Francisco Bay and a short walk to all the excitement and wonders of San Francisco!
We were the quintessential tourists visiting all of the classic spots: Fisherman’s Wharf, The Cannery, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, PIER 39, and the Wax Museum. There was no way we would miss Irish coffee at the ever-so famous Buena Vista Café. They serve more than 1,500 Irish coffees daily – this according to a 33-year- veteran bartender – and pour more Irish whiskey than any other bar in the world.
We stopped in at the Boudin Sourdough Bread factory, restaurant and museum. The museum and bakery tour is well-worth the $3 entrance fee. The interpretive displays are first rate and it includes a bread and olive oil tasting at the end. You may even win a free loaf of bread! YUMMY!!
The Youth Hostel is bare bones, but they do have a few private rooms if the usual dormotority-style isn't your thing. Private or public, it's the cheapest, best San Francisco Bay view and location ever! And if the location isn't enough, with the diversity of guests, it's like its own country -- young, old, rich, the not-so rich, and accents from near and far -- no wonder they call it "international."
An added bonus for me was realizing that the Hostel is a stone's throw from the world-famous Greens Restaurant. Vegetarian delights and window-table views of the marina and Bay brought us to dine two days in a row. All organic, all local, all the best! If not for the public place, I would have licked my plates clean. Well, maybe I did anyway.
For more information and to plan your own Urban(e) Adventure, visit: www.SanFranciscoTravel.com