With my Heart in San Francisco

If you're growing weary of my travelogue, I do apologize. I think my parents are enjoying it and I know Mike is loving it, so I plan to continue to work my way through my pictures and add words as I go.

We reluctantly left Napa and headed back into San Francisco. This is a city that MIke knows well. It occurred to me more than once how his frequent traveling was blessing our time together. Beyond the obvious frequent flyer, car, and hotel points (and those were huge), he knows how to travel well. I just followed his lead. 


On our way in, we wound up a mountain and then pulled over. Mike wanted me to look from that height across to the Golden Gate Bridge. And I did. That might not be a big deal to some people, but I have a serious fear of heights and this trip was all about conquering that impediment. Pretty amazing view. I'm glad we stopped. I'm really glad I got out of the car. 


We went to lunch at The Slanted Door, a Vietnamese restaurant that overlooks San Francisco Bay. What a view! Just an aside, we had an interesting conversation about gray hair. We'd noticed that many of our servers were our age or older and all of the women had naturally gray hair. And all of them were really very pretty. So, I extended my people-watching on the topic of gray and looked around. I think leaving one's hair gray is more acceptable in the west? Am I wrong here? I notice new grays every day and I'm not inclined to color. Mike and I made a deal that if he gets to thinking it looks like steel wool, he'll let me know pronto.

After lunch, we walked around a bit and headed to our hotel. There, I changed into some serious athletic walking shoes. They were a last minute gift from Patrick–our resident Mr. Nike– and I'm so glad I tossed them in my suitcase. We walked. And walked. And walked. It was glorious. I'm not a city person at all, but a city like this could change my mind. Walking it was the perfect way to experience it. And all those significantly steep hills? The better to work up an appetite for amazing food.



We walked from the hotel down to the wharf where the sea lions bask in the sun. The sea lion picture was a must for Nicky, but it's the worst of the trip (sorry). We meandered a little around the shops at the pier and then looked up towards a steeple. Then, we just started walking that way. Straight up, it seemed. Mike kept asking if I wanted to take a cab. I most definitely did not. I had been working out and eating Paleo for months to get ready for this trip. Bring on the hills!


The church was St. Peter and Paul. It was open and we went in to admire its majesty. There was a group there and I felt out of place and awkward, so we didn't stay long. We started walking again.




This time, we walked through Chinatown and into the financial district and to Old St. Mary's. We arrived at 6:00. Just in time for Vespers. Only the church was locked up tight. 


So we walked again. I thought it would be fun to visit St. Francis parish in San Francisco. It looked nice from the outside. Locked up, too. What's up with the locked up churches in California?


From there, we walked Nob Hill, stopped at a sushi restaurant to buy takeout for dinner and then threaded our way back from whence we came. Downhill. Awesome.

The next morning, I got up and out early, by myself no less– in the big city. I found Starbucks using the app on my phone and walked a whole block alone:-).  Then we took a little spin around Lombard Street. Oh, my!




We left the city pretty early in the day. Mike had big plans. Big, big, gigantic plans. 

More later.


  1. says

    This is lovely! My husband and I took a trip to Napa and San Fran a few years ago. I remember walking those hills too. It seems as if you all had an important, blessedly good time! I can’t wait to see more!

  2. says

    We live in a very small town, around 7,000 people and we have been forced to lock our church. We were broke into. We came in and the holy oils which were in a glass cabinet were gone and had been spilled all over the place and Fathers gold vestments he wears during adoration were gone. It is very sad. We have someone in the office during the week and when someone wants in to pray, she unlocks it for them. But it is very sad. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

  3. says

    I am LOVING your travel posts! I very much doubt I’ll ever get to see San Francisco, so I am very much enjoying living vicariously through your gorgeous photos and commentary

  4. Elaine says

    I’m enjoying the travelogue and especially look forward to an update on your paleo program. Are you feeling better? Any other benefits? Do tell.

  5. says

    I might have to stop reading your travelogues since you’re making me a little jealous! I’m glad you had such a wonderful trip, though!
    I love naturally gray hair, but everyone here in Atlanta is bleached and dyed, so some of us show our age more than others!

  6. Judy says

    Just a little comment on the acceptance of grey hair in the West. I live in Vancouver, Canada – also on the west coast where many of the personal decisions people make are driven by the environmentalist movement. The chemicals in hair colour are quite toxic (and also expensive over time), so people are choosing not to use them. It’s a wonderful bonus that, with a good cut, grey hair can look so great! I’m afraid I chose to colour my dark brown hair long ago and I’m now almost entirely grey under it – I am still trying to work out how I can endure the 12-18month growing out period!
    It is generous of you to share your lovely travels with us – thank you.

  7. Jeannie says

    Unfortunately it’s due to security issues. At my the parish my in-laws attend someone came in during Mass and stole the collection basket in plain sight! The tabernacle key was also stolen, these occurrences led to everything being locked up. I hope you had a chance to visit the St. Jude(he’s one of my favorites) shrine at St. Dominic’s. :)

  8. mandamum says

    I’m glad you had such a good time out on our coast :) I wanted to mention one thing, in case you were unaware: it struck a very jarring note to me, to read about your venturing out for Starbucks while celebrating your milestone anniversary. Were you aware that Starbucks has been publicly advocating for redefinition of marriage, especially here in WA? I know I miss my Starbucks :) but it strikes me as a little sad that while celebrating 25 yrs of marriage, you would give your support (both $$ and blog-mention) to a company working to take marriage from all of us.
    http://www.dumpstarbucks.com has more info, for those interested.
    Thanks for hearing me :) Congratulations again! Your lovely pictures make me want to venture up that direction next time I’m down visiting family in the Central Valley.

  9. Susan Ayer says

    I love reading about your trip since I live 20 minutes south of San Francisco. So interesting to read your comments on areas I have grown up with.
    I’m glad to enjoyed your California visit!

  10. says

    LOVE the travelog posts. Great to see our state from a visitor’s viewpoint. Locked churches are so sad. There must be a way to manage it like the churches in NYC do – only other big city I’ve spent much time in and the churches are all open all the time.

  11. Martha says

    Elizabeth you are making me homesick. I grew up in the City and miss it so much. Our parish on the west side, St. Cecelia’s, had a robbery over thirty years ago — the oriental carpets from the sanctuary — and afterwards the retired men of the parish formed the “Knights of St. Cecelia” and two of them are in the church all day so that the church is open for visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Such a blessing.

  12. Lauri says

    My family took the same trip a few years ago. We drove from L.A. to SF on the PCH – so much fun! We are also from NoVa and just ate up the scenery & food on the West Coast. Thanks for sharing your travels with us all.

  13. says

    I am so enjoying your pictures and travelogue!! Please continue sharing them! :-). I grew up not that far from SF and you are bringing back some good memories!

  14. Coleen says

    We went to Sunday Mass at Saint Peter & Paul the day after our wedding, on our honeymoon! We loved San Francisco. Seeing your pictures makes me so nostalgic. We plan to go back someday – maybe for our 25th anniversary, but hopefully sooner than that! We only just celebrated our 4th. :) Thank you for sharing your trip with us, and for your beautiful words, always.

  15. says

    Great posts. Fun to see. Brings back memories of driving with my sister in Chinatown once and we lost the brakes! Much safer to walk, and better for you!
    I’ll put my two cents in about the West: We are all a bunch of independent pioneers. If you made it across in the wagon train, you didn’t care about the “little” things as much any more. Surviving the wagon train leveled the playing field for men, women and children. You were a valuable asset to the community and there were no more “airs” to put on (or gray hairs to worry about covering up :-)
    I enjoy your blog!

  16. kristen laurence says

    What, WHAT big plans?? Oh you can’t do that to us. Loving this whole travel documentary Elizabeth. And I love grey hair. I want mine to be long and in a bun all the rest of my days!

  17. says

    Yay – So glad you enjoyed San Francisco (and can’t wait to see more)!!! I never though about the gray hair thing being regional (and haven’t spent much time on the East Coast) but I think perhaps you are right. Personally, I’ve always been fond of gray hair, though it’s fairly new to me, so that may come back to bite me one day. ;) (I can only see mine so far if I’m looking fairly carefully).

  18. says

    I will admit that the toxic effects are my number one reason for not having ever dyed mine. I’ve seen great looking gray hair. Great looking CURLY gray hair? Not as often. But I’m open to the possiblity.

  19. says

    I think we each need to discern how to be salt and light in this world. In these times–especially the last few weeks–I’m very grateful for a country that allows us to discern. I assure you that when I am in Starbucks, there is never a question that I am Christian and married. I wear it like a crown:-)

  20. Monica says

    Locked churches in San Francisco are probably because of vandalism, sadly. We live in Seattle, and our church remains open during the day, but more than once we’ve had to replace the safes that collect the money for candles at the shrines — really? The candle money? Catholicism is a small minority out on the west coast and people do not have the same respect for churches as they do other places. It’s sad, because it means that popping in for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is much more tricky, and visiting hours are very limited to some lovely churches.

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