J and I just returned from a quick weekend trip to San Fran and IT. WAS. FABULOUS.

J was there for work and I joined him for some exploring in the city. We had zero plans when I arrived in Oakland but it did not matter because the agenda was to spend time together, without the interruptions and commitments of our normal routine. I met an amazing woman; Huda on the flight there and although I spent no time reading my book we talked and shared for over 4 hours about faith, food, culture, children, and life. I love the reminder of why we travel: to meet people and hear parts of their stories and to see places and ask questions that make us richer in all the best ways. 

Checking out a greatly raved about coffee shop was obviously our first stop (and everyday after that)

I may be a bit obsessed with the street murals and graffiti everywhere. I seriously have a strong urge to tag the entire inside of our house.

My favorite part of our time was just people watching and walking miles and miles exploring the city with this guy. Oh, and the coffee…I might have mentioned that already.

But if you are in San Fran you NEED to check out Blue Bottle Coffee

One of the coolest things about San Fran is all the street life (ya know because you can actually enjoy being outside all year) and we hit the container coffee shop in the alley.

We might be a bit obsessed with our brew but it was seriously the best mocha I have ever had!!

We stopped in the California Academy of Science to see an old friend from Chicago and got VIP treatment! He had a lunch meeting cancel at the last minute and so we hit a gourmet Mexican joint and heard all about their life in SF.

Catching up with friends over Mexican food might rank as one of my all-time favorite activities ever!

We headed to school to pick up his daughter before allowing them to get back to their regularly scheduled Friday.

Of course we had to do the whole tourist cable car thing.

obligatory cable car selfie because we embrace our cheesy tourist tendencies.

It seemed very fitting that I finally finished this moving and insightful biography of the brilliant photographer Dorothea Lange on this trip as she spent so much time creating images on these same streets. She said of the cable car, “it is almost like an animal….They hop on and off as if it were a little pony saddled and ready to go.” I spent one morning just wandering the streets making images and meeting people and while I cannot even touch Lange’s gift I see why she was so intrigued with this place and her people. 

Kevin makes beautiful ink stamped prints on the streets each day. He carves old wood wine crate pieces and then uses ink to stamp the imprint on paper.

He took one art class many years ago and since then has taught himself and gathered supplies to make these prints one of which now proudly hangs in our living room.

San Francisco started collecting other city’s street cars in the 1980’s and 1990’s and still runs these vintage street cars as part of their transit system and it is fascinating to see the different cities these cars are from. They are seriously about preserving this tradition.

No visit to San Fran would be complete without visiting the epicenter to the Hippie movement and subculture.

By far my favorite street scene….blaring police car lights pull up to these guys and before the officer writes the ticket for public consumption of alcohol the guy asks if he can just chug it first to which the cop says “sure.” Gotta love Haight-Ashbury. I could seriously people watch all day.

We walked down to the wharf for some views of Alcatraz, some sourdough, and sea lion viewing.

If you look closely I am actually in this shot with J.

Then we met J’s cousin Chloe after work for some serious stair climbing (Chicagoland is flat people…and these hills are NO JOKE!)

No complaints here because our walk took us through some beautiful secret gardens we would never have found on our own.  Sightseeing with locals is always best…Thanks Chloe! And we totally get why you love SF so much!

Um, also the view from her apartment roof…KILLER!

And after a full day of walking we ended the night catching up over sushi.

The next morning we got up early to beat the crowds (on recommendation of the locals) to hike in Muir Woods

And it is crazy beautiful.

Because we were both at one time hard core TGIF watchers we had to go see “the painted ladies” and views of the city.

We stopped off on the way back to the city for some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge

On our last night we may have stuffed ourselves silly at Dosa- amazing South Indian food. There was no walking after that so we used Lyft to get home. You meet awesome people from all over the world using Lfyt. We love it!

 I posted this picture after a serious windy drive (I may or may not have almost puked) to Stinson Beach. It was completely foggy except for this little patch of light on the beach spilling warmth and light on the sand.

I was trying to take a beach selfie and J kept making hilarious comments and burst mode on my iphone captured this one.  One of my favorites of the trip because it fit this time perfectly. I teared up telling J about how grateful I was for this time away (and grateful for my mom who wrangled the kids so we could invest in our marriage).  Marriage is so hard and requires so much compromise and openness,  We hurt each other and have to choose forgiveness a lot. In the daily we can forget that we were first best friends before we were partners and parents. I’m so grateful for these times to get away and explore together. I remembered why I treasure this man. Best decision I ever made when I was young and stupid. I’m so grateful for these times to get away and explore together. God is good. So good.

Hope all your wanderings are full of blessing,

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