Got in late last Friday to our hotel in South San Francisco, so it was dark when we arrived. Woke up the next morning to bright sunshine - and lush green grass, flowers, and blooming trees all around us. Such a nice change from a Midwestern winter! We had sunny days and highs in the 60's all through our visit, and that was a lucky break. Heavy rains prior to our trip had led to some closed roads due to flooding, mudslides and washouts. And if you heard about the dam whose dangerous condition had prompted a large evacuation, it's located in the region. (national and local news have been covering the situation extensively.) And more rain is forecast for later on this week. Like I'd said, we got lucky!
With such nice weather greeting us Saturday morning, we were raring to go and were in downtown San Francisco by 10:30. I made a beeline toward Britex, a fabric store that has been in the Union Square area since 1952. I first visited this institution in 1989 and have been wanting to go back there ever since! The business is housed in an old building, with four stories of fabrics, buttons, trims and other such goodies.
My favorite floor is the 3rd, which is where hundreds of buttons, ribbons and other "accessories" are found. A few pics:
Silk ribbons in a rainbow of colors.
A wall of buttons, plus a close-up:
The buttons shown have been affixed to box lids, indicating that more of the same are within these boxes. The variety of buttons must run into the hundreds, if not thousands. Too many choices to make, so I didn't even try. But it was fun to see all the choices!
Another wall, this one of ribbons, partially shown above. I did buy several kinds of ribbons from this wall, just to have on hand for crafting projects.
Also seen on the 3rd floor:
In a section of appliques, this Italian-crafted sequined number will set you back $200. I'm guessing it's meant to be attached to a neckline.
As for the other three floors of Britex: floors 1 and 2 have fabrics and floor #4 has remnants and a few sale items. The fabrics are very nice, but very expensive.
All too soon, my husband showed up to collect me; it was lunch time. We ate at a little hole-in-the-wall place, El Rincon Yucateco. Good Mexican food, with fresh, handmade tortillas as the base for my tacos.
My husband had originally promised that I could return to Britex after lunch to do more shopping, but that promise was squelched when he saw closing-early signs while strolling around during my pre-lunch visit there. Apparently various stores were taking that action in advance of the big Chinese New Year's parade that evening. My husband felt we'd better get out of the city before it got too close to parade time; the congestion would be fierce. And he was likely right - that night's local TV news estimated the crowd of spectators was around 1,000,000!
If we wanted to see more of the city, we had to do it now. So we walked UP - and then down - Mason Street to make our way to Fisherman's Wharf. Hadn't walked on this street before, so I groaned a little when I first saw the steepness of the hill that loomed before us. But it really wasn't too bad.
Seen when we were almost to the waterfront:
San Francisco Love Tours: showing off the city in a psychedelic VW van. Far out! Two even older forms of transportation, cable cars, are behind the van.
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Fisherman's Wharf is crowded with shops and restaurants, so of course it was crowded with people. We did buy a souvenir for our daughter at one of the shops, but this was our main reason for walking down to the waterfront:
Riding a cable car may sound touristy, but it's not to be missed when in San Francisco! It's like riding on a slow-moving roller coaster, going up and down those amazing hills and seeing various neighborhoods along the way. Loads of fun!
All too soon, it was time to leave the city to escape the pre-parade madness. (we noted the bumper-to-bumper incoming traffic as we were departing). It had been a busy day, so it was nice to relax back in our hotel in South San Francisco. Dinner was downtown in that city, at Thai Satay. My noodle dish really hit the spot!
Being a dedicated thrifter, I was pleased to see a thrift store just a block away. It was small but the prices were mostly reasonable. I got a book for my husband that he'd been interested in, plus an art journaling book for me. And so ended our first full day in the Bay area.
Part #2 will follow shortly.