Muir Woods, San Francisco City sights and our Anniversary

Day Two (15th February)
After a good night's rest, the day of anniversary began. 15th of february. Four years ago we were in Pune, getting ready at this time to tie our nuptuals. Today we were in the heart of the city of San Francisco. To celebrate the day, we had planned several things for the day: a guided tour of the Muir Woods (forest full of giant Redwoods, just north of the city) in the morning, a guided tour of the city itself during the afternoon and a dinner with friends at a nice Italian restaurant later in the evening.

At the onset, it is hard for a young engineer like me to let go of the control and let someone else show me the city. But believe me, in a city like San Francisco, driving can be painful, parking can be expensive and having to pay attention to traffic can take away from your enjoyment with your loved ones. So we decided to book the tours offered at a discounted price (thanks to our hotel manager) by Tower Tours company. They picked us up from our hotel and then we headed towards Muir Woods with a nice tour guide/driver of our van. Crossing the Golden Gate bridge, the winding road took us through Marin County hills into the National Monument called Muir Woods. These trees are really old, some of them have been around since 925 AD, and they are still growing. The hiking in Muir woods, among some of the oldest, and tallest trees was and awe inspiring experience. We decided to make the most of the hour we had been allotted and choise to make a very ambitious 2 mile hike on the main marked trails. We crossed over 4 bridges, and circled the river that ran along the marked trails. There were some amazing views of trees along our path, some so large, that we had to lean al l the way back, and still could no see the top of the tree. As we went deeper into the woods, it got darker with the density of the trees and foliage, and the roots were "everywhere". Fantastic way to start the day.

On the way back, from Muir Woods, we were given a chance to explore (read "Shop") in Sausalito, one of the richest area around here. We crossed the golden gate bridge again, and had a panoramic view of the Pacific ocean as we crossed the bridge back into SF. downtown.

Came back to Fisherman's Wharf area and had lunch at Boudin's, which is famous for their original Sourdough bread. I enjoyed a bowl (sourdough bread bowl) of clam chowder, which was nice, whereas Manjiri enjoyed tomoto soup. We met Saly, a Canadian born Keralite Indian girl, who is a pharmacist in Edmonton, Alberta. She was on our tour to Muir woods and joined us for lunch and conversation at Boudin's. She was there to attend a conference for her company.

Then we rushed to Tower Tours office to catch our next tour, the tour of the City of san Francisco. This bus was very big from outside and very comfortable inside. The views of the city itself were spectacular. Golden Gate bridge (again), Palace of the Arts, Twin Peaks, Alamo Square, Full House house, Crookedest Street from a distance, Golden Gate State Park where Manjiri went and saw the Japanese Tea Garden (and it was fantastic, with all the pagoda's, stutue of Buddha, wind chimes, flowering shrubs, and stones set around to help cross the "waterway") and I had a chai in deYoung museum cafe. Twin Peaks is the tallest mountain in the city and offers a great view of the entire bay area. All along the city, we saw painted ladies, which are old victorian row houses. We were thrilled by the up and down streets of the city. Coit tower, Market street and financial district. We passed through China Town and Little Italy (part of North Beach area). we were dropped off at our hotel by the courteous bus driver of our tour.

At our hotel, Yasmine was waiting for us to take us to dinner. She drove her honda accord to the city from Alameda, where whe works as a special education teacher. We then reached italian restaurant called "Stinking Rose" which is famous for their use of garlic on everything. The conversations were delighful and so was the ambience. we had good apetisers and some vegeterian pasta dishes followed by Garlic ice cream!! it wasn't too bad, although it left an aftertaste I wouldn't like anyone to have:-) but the Stinking Rose was a great experience. Uwe (Yasmine's husband) works in an exciting field of pharmaseuticals research and was telling us all bout his work and we had interesting discusions on relationships, how they met, what' sgoing on in their lives and many catching up to do. Yaz finally dropped us off at our hotel and we retired very quickly. this time Manjiri took the turn of connecting all the gadgets for recharging:-)

All in all, it was a memorable day for our 4th wedding aniversary. Manjiri is happy and is now demanding that I should make more plans like this for our future anniversaries. we will see how it goes.

Today we are planning to take another Tower Tour to Napa Valley. Its a whole day affair, hopefully one that will give us a lot to remember. Then in the evening we are to go to Sunnyvale, and see another friend and then head on to the Pacific Coast highway and San Diego.