As with many of our vacations, this one began with only a rough "outline". Other than flying into Sacramento for a BEAD SHOW (YEA) and staying with Susie's cousin for a few days and finally winding up at the end of two weeks in Los Angeles, there WAS no plan, no timeline, no deadlines and of course, NO RESERVATIONS....cause THAT'S how WE roll. LOL. Both of us abhor the thought that we might be somewhere having a marvelous time and then have to leave just because we have a committed reservation at another place. Call us crazy but we both say a great big NO to that plan.
After having driven from Sacramento through wine country and then down the coast (many stories to tell there) we finally were in the city of legend that we both had longed to see...SAN FRANCISCO. After a day of non stop activity it was getting close to sundown and if we had given any thought at all to where we would sleep that night it was only in passing. While I consider myself adventurous, when the sun begins to get low in the sky and I don't have my bearings, I do begin to get a little anxious. So Susie and I headed back to the pier....yes THE PIER, if for no other reason than we had a place to sit down and we could get a beverage. We sat at our table, where we could see the lights from Ghirardelli across the water, and perused the AAA travel book seeking refuge for the night. It was a little dicey at first as we called several places which were either booked or an exorbitant amount of money. This was not the first time (nor would it be the last) that we thought we just might be spending the night in our rented car. If you have ever heard the phrase, "God watches over babies and fools", this would be a place that it applied; and we were fortunate to finally find a room at a "vintage" hotel which was within our budget and not far from where were. We got the directions and off we went into the San Franciscan night.
Finding our way to the hotel was no problem. We had been told there was a free parking lot "across the street". We drove by once and did not see a parking lot of any kind, so we drove around the block again. Hmmm still no parking lot across the street. Were we BLIND here? Again....around the block....frustration beginning to set in just a bit....still not seeing a parking lot. So we decided we would just park on the street, go check in, and after asking where the mysterious parking lot is located I would go back out and park the car in the free lot. Unfortunately the "street" parking was parallel and admittedly this is not my best skill. We found a spot and I proceeded to attempt "the parking procedure", but then a car came by and I had to abort the mission (the street was narrow). Around the block again to come back to the parking space....again during the attempt ANOTHER car comes by....ABORT MISSION. After a few more times around the block we are both frustrated and tired (it being about 8 PM by then) so we decided to drive around the block ONE MORE TIME and find ANY kind of parking place. This time we saw a tiny little parking lot without a sign across and DOWN the street on the SIDE of the hotel. Who knew parking could be so exhausting?
The Queen Anne hotel was an elegantly furnished and fabulous old monument to the Victorian era. We were thrilled to have arrived in our room and now we were starving. Without even taking time to unpack we went back downstairs and inquired with the staff where we might eat. The suggestion was a place in "Japan Town" which was a short distance down the street....optimal word here is DOWN...remember? San Francisco? Given the recent "parking experience" and the fact that the restaurant was not far away we opted to walk after being assured by the hotel staff that the neighborhood was quite safe.
Our late dinner was beyond fabulous and the wine and dessert was perfect. I wish I could eat it again..right now! It was about 10:30 or so when we finished our leisurely dinner, paid our bill, tipped well, and left to walk back UP to the hotel. Funny we had not noticed how steep the street was on our way TO the restaurant, nor had we noticed how very l o n g
that "short distance" was. Now after the dinner, dessert and wine it felt like trying to climb a mountain. It was quite dark on the street and I began to also notice for the first time how many small alcoves and alleys there were between the buildings we were passing. It began to feel a little spooky. By now Susie was at least three strides ahead of me as usual (I being 5'2" and she 5'8").
Suddenly I heard the crunch of footsteps behind me and my heart skipped a few beats. Although my mind immediately started racing, I kept telling myself to just be calm, it's just someone walking...but the person did not pass us....and those ALLEYS would be so easy to pull a person into....and it was sooo dark, there was no one else on the street and all the shops were closed, and we were two women all alone.... I knew Susie had detected the footsteps as well because she had picked up the pace. She quickly reached her best uphill speed while I struggled to keep the distance between us at a minimum as we both focused on reaching the hotel. My heart was racing as fast as my mind, and my chubby little short legs pumped harder. I had always wanted to be tall (so I could eat more) but now I REALLY wanted long legs so I could walk faster to at least keep up...and ahead of the scary footsteps.
Finally we reached the hotel and almost FELL through the doorway panting like the devil himself had been chasing us. The hotel staff said something to us to which neither of us had the breath to acknowledge so we merely nodded and may have mumbled something incoherent as we continued our accelerated stride to the elevator and then to our room where we LITERALLY fell onto our beds and lay there until we could breathe normally again.
Once the fear subsided and we regained our breath, we giggled and laughed like teenagers. It was a HUGE "OMG I can't believe that just happened" thing. To say we were relieved is an understatement. Of course we learned a very big lesson...Never trust the hotel staff and NEVER walk blocks to your restaurant at night especially DOWNHILL We never had looked back to see who (or what) had been behind us.
Thanks for joining us here today. We so love sharing our adventures and art with you.
Stay creative in all ways my friends... and