From our window, we can see snow capped mountains reflected in the quiet blue waters of Tahoe Lake. Summer has come early here, we have just been for a long walk along the sea. We will need more than that to burn out all the french fries...
It was hard to leave the glorious San Francisco behind, but we will be back one day. It was such a priviledge of explore this smiling city in the warmth of a spring sun. Summer is the reign of the fog, born when the hot air from the desert embrasses the cold waters of the North Pacific, no more warmth, no more blue sky... But in spring, San Francisco looks as pretty and shiny as a fancy real estate agent advertisment.
We went West and walked all the way to the golden gate bridge. It is sooo high up there that it made us feel like giants. This May, this elegant lady in international orange is celebrating her 75th birthday, along with her silver twin sister the Bay bridge, on the eastern side of town. She nearly did not make it, at least not in orange. Originally, she was supposed to be as silver as her sister, but that would have made her invisible in the fog. Then she was going to stand up in black with yellow strips... A tiger bridge for this harmonious city... No, the locals did not think so either, so they took a good look at her in her new dress of anti rust paint and left her just like that...a laid back solution for a laid back place.
We went East and took the new old fashion tramway line F along the piers to the Ferry Building Weekend market, a joyful mix of fruits and food, art and music stalls under the silver bay bridge. Out of curiosity, we followed line F to the very end and landed in Castro, San Francisco's G point, Castro of the huge rainbow flags, of the colourful houses with disco balls hanging out, of the very happy people strolling two by two in the sunshine.... This is not what we would call a very children friendly area, but by walking on a bit further, Maxin and Callum got to see their first Baseball game played by a group of kids under the watchful eyes of their parents and coach.
We went South and spend a day in the fabulous Golden Gate Park, 3 miles of green space, with an assortment of gardens, museums and playgrounds. Maxim and Callum had huge fun going down the slides of the Koret Children Quarter. This old fashion wooden playground was actually the first one in the US. It was created in 1875 thanks to one family's donation. Can you imagine what a novelty it would have been to the well dressed children of the 19 th century. Now we take them for granted...Once we velcroed them out of there, the car free roads (only on sundays) took us to acrobatics spontanious dances on wheels in the skate park and to the De Young museum. We had coffee and homemade limonades among modern statues and saw SF from the museum's roof. This park is the western answer to Central Park in New York. We will tell you soon which one was our favourite.
On monday morning, we said our goodbyes to this city and went North, over the golden gate bridge towards Napa valleys. Here more and more hills are wearing spring green corduroy suits as the grapes have spent the last twenty years conquering the home of grass chewing cows. More and more farms are being replaced by elegants wineries trying to attract agro tourism dollars. But it was lollies, not wines which made us drive all the way to Fairfield. If you never had a Jelly Belly before, you would not understand why we took a tour of the factory where the rolls royce of jelly beans is been crafted and packaged. We even learned a thing of two.
Did you know that Jelly beans were inspired by turkish delights and named after the pioneers staple food, beans?
Or that Ronald Reagan liked Jelly Bellies so much, he had them in big bowl at each meetings?
Or that is was the many flavours of jelly bellies that inspired the Bertie Botts Beans in Harry Potter?
Fascinating isn't it, the things you discover when travelling with childern.
Maxim and Callum loved the free sample bar and tried every thing, including the special section including rotten egg (Callum told me it was pop corn) dog food, boggers and baby wipes... Would you like a Jelly Belly?