Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ragnar's 40th Birthday celebration!

At the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to take Ragnar for a surprise weekend somewhere for his 40th birthday. I talked with his sister Daphne, who graciously said the kids could stay with her and I began to decide where. Ragnar has told me since we got married that he would like to go to Alcatraz, so I decided we would head to San Francisco. Well..just like everything else in our marriage, he found out a couple months before, we are terrible at keeping secrets. Even though the surprise was no longer a surprise, I think he was excited and we headed out on Friday, September 22nd. 
We made it to the airport bright and early.

Once we got there, we took an uber to the Omni hotel and checked in. Our first stop was to China town which was a 10 minute walk from our hotel.
There was much of the same stuff to buy. We just looked around.
We then walked to Union Square and got some dinner at one of our favorites, The Cheesecake factory.
The weather was so beautiful. It was perfect with a light jacket on.
We climbed SO many stairs to see the Coit tower after dinner. I don't think I should have eaten so much before ;)
There was a pretty view of San Francisco from the area. We didn't actually go to the top because we didn't want to wait in line, and we are too cheap.
After Coit tower we headed up to Pier 39.
We saw the famous sea lions and they had a nice potent smell. 
We toured the pier and then headed back to the hotel.
Day one was a success and most everything was within a 20-30 minute walking distance which was nice. 

Saturday morning we tried our best to sleep in, but we are not cut out for it. We are early risers, no matter how hard we try!
We went to get breakfast and then headed to our Alcatraz tour!
Ragnar has been looking forward to Alcatraz for some time. We got to check an item off his bucket list!!
We boarded the cruise ship and took a short ride across the ocean. 
It was another pretty day with blue skies.
The view in both directions was cool.
We made it to Alcatraz island and began our audio tour. 
No one mentions how many flies are on that island. It's ridiculous!!! They are EVERYWHERE!! 
The tour was neat. We looked through many of the cells. 
If you had good behavior you could go out to this recreational area. That's the only space they had on the whole island for the prisoners.
I can't imagine living in that small space everyday, all day, my whole life. I guess I'll try and be on my best behavior!
All locked up!
If you got in more trouble you had to go in this cell which was completely pitch black. I can't even imagine how miserable that would be.
It really was a pretty place, but that is why they said sometimes it was worse because you could look outside your tiny window and see all the things across the water that you were missing. That would be punishment.
Overall it was eye opening to imagine life there. I know the people there did some terrible things, but one of the prisoners mentioned how you didn't have a name, just a number. I think that would be a hard concept to lose all identity, no matter who you are.
After the tour we went to Fisherman's Wharf and had lunch and looked at the shops.
We looked a submarine as well.
Then we walked over to Ghirardelli Square. 
The ice cream was delicious and VERY expensive!
Once again we ate too much then had to go on a long, steep walk! 
We walked over to Lombard street which is famous for being the most jagged road in the world.
It was a pretty street. I sure would hate to live on it though!
Sunday morning we headed over to Blazing Saddlebacks and rented our tandem bike!
We first biked over to Broderick street to the home where they film "Full House." That was my favorite show as a child so it was fun to see.
We then road through Golden Gate Park. It was really pretty.
The gardens were filled with flowers.
So many pretty sights along the bike ride.
We made it over to the Golden Gate Bridge and rode across. 
We weren't fast, but had a fun time and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.
After we crossed the bridge we stopped and looked at the bay.
We then biked into a town called Sausalito and had lunch there then took a ferry back to the Ferry house close to where we had to drop off our bikes.
This was our tandem bike. Ragnar rode in front which meant I couldn't see much, and had to trust him completely when it came to breaking and gears and such. When we rented the bike the lady said "This bike has been known to challenge relationships" haha. We did have a small learning curve as to talking to each other when we start or stop and such and I have a few nasty bruises from when that wasn't communicated and the pedals would hit my legs, but overall I am totally glad we chose to ride together. It was fun and likely won't happen often again!
After resting for a couple hours, we went back to Pier 39 area and ate at the famous Boudin's. We got the clam cowder as everyone recommended and it was good.
Since I love bread, it's hard to make me unhappy with a bread bowl!
We made a few more tourists stops and then walked back to the hotel.
Monday was Ragnar's 40th birthday!! We caught an uber early and headed home.
It was a pretty sunrise as we left.
Our first flight was late which meant we literally had to run to our connection to Houston, but thankfully we made it and got home ok.
We had cake and celebrated with the kids and I hope Ragnar had a good weekend away. I always enjoy the time we have together and the things we get to experience. San Francisco was interesting, but not what I expected at all. The people who were friendliest to us were the homeless people. Overall I missed the people in Texas who always say hi on the streets.

I am so so grateful for my sister in law Daphne who is seriously the best. She graciously offered to take the kids for us while we were gone and did a great job. The kids love having her around and I am so grateful she was willing and lives close enough to help out. She has been such a blessing to us and I feel so lucky that not only did I get to be married to Ragnar but I got to have a best friend in her as well. We can't thank her enough. Until next time California!