Leaving San Francisco

Taylor loves San Francisco. Not the city necessarily, but everything around it. The hills, the houses, the steepness of it. She loves the botanical gardens in Berkley, and the morning fog in all the valleys. I love San Fran as well, but for different reasons. I like the culture and the uniqueness of all the people. I’ve been a few times, and because there are so many different things to do, like climbing mountains or feeding sea lions, each time is such a different trip.

taylor at home

But here’s a different story, one about heading home for the day. I’ve always felt that go-home days are strange. How do you handle these days? Some people give up the day to travel only. But I can’t do that. I like to take in every moment that I can, because my travel time is currently so limited.

berkley coffee shop

So for my go-home days, I try to pack in as much as I can all the way up until my flight takes off.

This day started like so many others for me,  in a coffee shop of course, my favorite one in Berkley, Fertile Grounds.


poached eggs on mixed greens in berkley



I like Fertile Grounds because it’s filled with light and air and natural wood, and a garage door front that opens fully to expose the funky streets and daily life showcase of Berkley. But most of all because they understand me, because they serve poached eggs over mixed greens tossed in vinaigrette. For breakfast!!


smoked salmon bagel berkley


Taylor got a little more traditional with an equally smashing plate of bagel and lox, which was light and delicious. It was covered with  layers of smoked salmon dressed with capers, thinly sliced fresh cucumbers and colored up with red onions.

The coffeehouse shamed me, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually asked for Caramel flavor for my latte. They almost ran me out the door. They don’t do flavors. I digress.

pretty cappucino berkley

But no disappointment here, everything worked out OK as they made up for it a great leaf design on my foam, which I love, because I’m all about food presentation. I don’t see this too often, but I’m seeing it more often from the it passionate baristas who know coffee making can be an art.



san francisco subwaySo we coffeed and breakfasted and chatted, and then hit the subway on foot with luggage in tow. Timing was on our side, and we got lucky as our subway arrived quickly. I’m glad we took the subway. I try to do this in a lot of big cities. I love the subway!  Maybe it’s because I’m trapped helplessly and forced to people watch because there is no where else to look. Sorry I’m staring, oops! But most people these days are so busy on their smart phones, they don’t seem to notice or mind if I observe them and dream up vivid, elaborate or scandalous or even boring stories about their lives.

san francisco subway with luggage


So we arrived in downtown San Fran, with Taylor dragging my carry-on spinner. And as always, the majestic skyscrapers took my breath away. Big cities are like living and breathing art!




san francisco pretty sewer lid


We walked around and did some site seeing, observing our surroundings up high with the skyscrapers, and down below, on the ground.

There were beautiful markers for the Barbary Coast Trail – which I was unaware existed, until we chanced upon it the ornate carving embedded in the dark sidewalk. Maybe I’ll do this trail in its entirety on my next trip – I’ll bet it’s a well thought out excursion filled with nice historical sights.




china town entrance san francisco


We sort of stumbled upon the entrance of China Town.

It was vibrant and colorful, and there were ornate animals carved out of stone guarding the borders of the entrance.  While the street behind didn’t look any different, the entrance really divided things and made you feel like by just passing under this magical arch, this magical passageway, you were walking into a very different place.




cafe mocca san fran


Taylor led me on, peeking into alleys with hidden cafes, shopping for a lunch spot on foot, checking out, discussing and discarding outdoor menus to see what struck our fancy most. It was fun dreaming about all our possible meals, and watching people have european style lunches outdoors with cocktails in the midday sunlight.


steamed clams in little italy san fran

Any one of the places we passed would have been fantastic. But we decided to head for Little Italy to resolve our need for pasta, wine and gelato. We were lucky right away, found a great little spot, and went to town on a nice little meal.

Our lunch began with freshly steamed clams and mussels in a white wine herb broth, along with some grilled and buttered french bread for dipping. Yuuuuummmm.


beef carpaccio in little italy san fran


Then I had to get beef carppaccio, because someone at a nearby table ordered it, and I would not feel complete without it. It was sprinkled with arugula, capers and a light lemon aioli, and was light and delicious.




pasta in little italy san fran


Pasta came next, Taylor had angel hair marinara, and I opted for my favorite – rigatoni bolognese. We savored every bite, not at all weighed down by our appetizers of clams and carpaccio, since they were so light.





gelato in little italy san franciscoAfter lunch, we strolled across the street to get some authentic, legit gelato. I got my favorite combo – coffee and rasberry sorbet. Seriously, the rasberry sorbet was so incredibly dark and intense, tiny bites with our ice cream spoons were full of flavor. The coffee was creamy and robust, and a perfect complement. We got a bonus with chocolate coated cones. What a perfect lunch!


taylor field subway curtsy



And a great way to wrap our day, as it was now time to head to the airport. Taylor stayed with me until she had to hop off to catch a Berkley connection. We said our goodbyes, and she graced me with a bohemian curtsy at the end, which I imprinted in my memory and in this photo.



subway to san francisco airport


I continued all the way to the airport. People watching a bit, but mostly looking out the window for my last sights of San Francisco on the ground, before I boarded my flight back to Florida. Like a lifetime away. Such a different world.



flight taking off san francisco airport


Taking off was easy, and I quickly got to see a few last looks at the beauty of San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge from the sky.



golden gate bridge from airplane


What a wonderful trip, and a beautiful go-home day.

Written by Suzi Albrecht
Digital Project Manager and Traveler