6 July 2008

We took a cab from the hotel over to Golden Gate Park around 9:30 a.m.  This saved us about 40 minutes over using the public transportation.

We first visited the Conservatory of Flowers.  There were five rooms in the beautiful and historic building with displays.  The main room is dedicated to lowland tropic plants.  The east wing has rooms with highland tropic plants and aquatic plants.  The orchids in all the rooms were fascinating.  The displays were both educational and visually stunning.

The west wing had a room of potted plants that contained many colorful displays and many rare plants.  There were a lot of hanging urns there also.

The last room contained The Butterfly Zone, a special exhibit on display through November.  The displays there were more geared to the younger crowd, but they were very well-done.

We spend about one and a half hours in the conservatory.  We easily could have stayed longer, but we had more we wanted to do.

After we left, we picked up some lunch from one of the street vendors in the park.  We split a BLT and two tomales.  Afterward, we headed to the deYoung Museum.

We didn’t know what to expect there, but there were huge lines of people buying tickets, so we thought we thought there must be something there to see.  It turned out that most were there to see the special exhibit Chihuly at the de Young.  Dale Chihuly is a glass artist from the Seattle area.  We were able to get tickets to the 1:30 p.m. entry, which left us with about 30 minutes to see a little of the permanent collection.  After looking at the ancient art of the Americas for a few minutes, we headed to the special exhibit.

This special exhibit included eleven galleries of his work each of which was stunning in its beauty and originality.  After about 90 minutes of having our minds bent by blown glass in forms we previously couldn’t have imagined, we headed to the Japanese Tea Garden.

We walked around the gardens from about 30 minutes, then stopped for some tea and snacks at the tea restaurant there.   The gardens were very pretty with lots of bonsai style plants, bridges, and a pagoda.

After about 45 minutes there, we headed to the Botanical Garden.  This is a huge area, about 55 acres if I remember correctly.  You can only enter and exit in certain areas – the rest is fenced in.  There are many different areas dedicated to plants from different regions.  We knew we couldn’t see it all, so we just walked around as desired.  Around 5:30 p.m., we decided we had seen enough, so we looked for an exit.  We ended up hopping over a fenced area that had been damaged by a falled tree since we couldn’t find an official exit.  After a few minutes of trying to figure out where we were, we were able to plan a path to a Muni bus stop on Lincoln Way that borders the southern edge of the park.

We picked up the number 71 bus and headed to the Union Square area at 4th Street.  We exhited the bus there and headed north along Stockton St.  Our plan was to make it to the North Beach area and pick a restaurant along Columbus Ave. for supper.  We walked to ended up walking the entire way.

We picked de Lucchi restaurant for our meal.  We split an appetizer called risotto funghi, which, as the name suggests, consists of risotto cakes in a mushroom sauce.  Teagan ate a lamb ragu for her entree, and Richard had shrimp on angel hair pasta with a light white wine sauce.  The food there was excellant.  It was the Italian food we should have had when we went to Italy (but instead go stuck with the lousy food at restaurants selected by the travel company).

After supper, we picked up some gelatti and headed back to the hotel.  We froze eating gelatti in the cold wind, but it was good nonetheless.

We had full day, so it was nice to be back in the hotel room.

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