Kind and incredibly generous friends have lent us their beautiful house with a stunning view of the San Francisco bay, the bridge and the city. It is situated in what is called Marin county, a lovely area north of the city, on “the other side” of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Once again we’ve been blessed with lovely weather, so we chose to spend the first days here (we have an entire month) exploring the local area. We started by walking on our feet, down to the nearest town Tiburon and around it. I think we probably looked at or into every shop… A lovely little town complete with yacht club, a number of good restaurants (or so the guidebook claims) and building styles to suit everyone. We spent an hour or so in the Whole Foods store in the next town to stock up the fridge. Then we were dead tired – had been up in the middle of the night in Texas to catch a so-called red-eye flight out of San Antonio. And there was the time difference of two hours.
Next day we drove north along the coast on famous highway 1. Phew, it’s winding! Both Dane and I got a little bit queasy to tell the truth, even if neither of us usually suffer from motion sickness. But it was well worth it – the views were stunning all the way and we finished off with a very rewarding walk along Stinson beach (our first close encounter with the Pacific) and a nice lunch including lovely grilled oysters (my favourite new food, I think). We drove around looking for the epicentre of the 1906 earthquake, which we’d heard was in the area, but there were no signs, and nobody we asked knew where it was. When we got home, we finally found a reference to it in the guidebook, so we’ll have a look at it next time we get up there.
Sunday was also spent in the neighbourhood, in two of the state parks, which I believe I’ve praised several times. First we went to the Mount Tamalpais (the locals lovingly call it Mount Tam) State Park and climbed the 2.571 ft (784 m.). No, of course we didn’t. We drove up – a road even more winding than Highway 1 (more queasiness) and only hiked the last half mile (a little less than 1 km) only to be rewarded with panoramic views of the Pacific and the bay, the city, the bridges, the redwood forests. Oh me, oh my!
The picture of us at the summit is taken by a couple of Berkeley graduates, who chatted us up. Once more we’ve come up close to some of these beautiful youths who innocently don’t know just how fortunate they are. They were sweet and gracious and chatted with us happily.
Finally we drove down, down, down to the Muir Woods National Monument. It’s the last standing redwood forest on the coast, thanks to a wealthy couple that donated the forest to the government a century ago. Once again a beautifully laid out national park providing both access to astounding natural wonders and good signs and brochures to explain it all. The redwoods stand so close and are so tall that even on a day like this with a clear blue sky, there’s not a ray of sun reaches the ground beneath them. We took the longest of the short hikes (around 4 miles (6,5 km)) and were very satisfied with ourselves afterwards.
Dane is driving us mad with Christmassy questions. Can we get a Christmas tree? Can we buy that wrapping paper? Can we buy those big red bows for the presents? Can we buy Christmas lights for the tree outside? Can we? Can we? Can we?
So far we’ve given in to the last one and bought a string of coloured lights for the tree outside the window in the living room. Dane cherishes it!
More photos here.
There’s no Internet at the house, so blogposts will be scattered.