28 February 2012

Vacation Season, Part IV: Vacation Squared

The week before last, Steve's boss asked him to attend a conference in his stead, so of course I cleared my schedule so I could go with him.  And that's how last week's posts about our trip to Angel Fire, New Mexico, ended up being written in...

(drumroll please)

...San Francisco!

(I wasn't able to go with Steve to a conference in Tahoe a few years ago, and I vowed to do everything I could to travel with him in the future.  Anytime our hotel and Steve's airfare and food are taken care of, it just seems silly not to make a vacation of it.)

The first day we were there was probably my favorite. While Steve was in a class, I walked about a mile to the farmers' market at United Nations Plaza, where I spent a whopping $4.05 on carrots, red onions, beets, garlic, and new potatoes.  (Why is a story for another day.)

I loved their garbage/recycling/compost bins:

Nothing like gratuitous use of the word "landfill" to remind you that your garbage doesn't just go "away," it goes to THE LANDFILL.

By the time I got back to the hotel with my veggies, Steve was out of his class, so we headed back out.  And that's when we saw this:

Austin has a carshare fleet of Smart cars, but these carshare cars were electric and plug-in hybrids with their own dedicated parking spaces and chargers (like we saw on our Leaf tour).

Moving along...it was lunchtime, so we ducked into a little bar/restaurant, Absinthe, which turned out to be pretty awesome.  We ate at the bar, which was copper, and there was an amazing assortment of liquor bottles lined up against the windows across from us.  My favorite part was the citron pressé, which was a DIY project consisting of a glass of ice, a small carafe of water, a little glass of simple syrup, and a little glass of two parts lemon juice and one part lime juice.

Delicious.  Just like my favorite summer beverage.

Absinthe is in the theater district, around the block from Davies Symphony Hall.  Steve had discovered that the symphony sold last-minute tickets for $20, so we picked up some tickets before lunch and then returned for the pre-concert lecture.  We always like to go to the pre-show talks to gain some insight into the music we are able to hear (especially because I'm pretty much illiterate when it comes to classical music), but this one was particularly interesting because, in addition to the usual lecture, the organist also gave us a little introduction to the organ and how he modifies the sound to meld with the orchestra:

There are A LOT of buttons and pedals on an organ, so a lot goes into playing it competently.  San Francisco has the largest organ in the Americas -- 8,000 pipes!  The hall was recently remodeled and is gorgeous, with glass baffles hanging from the ceiling that give it modern style without detracting from its traditional grandeur.

Between the organist, a piano soloist, and the orchestra themselves, the performance was outstanding, and we had a special treat when the conductor and the pianist stuck around for some really interesting (and funny) Q&A afterward.

After the symphony, we walked through Japantown (where I bought an umbrella with bunnies on it) and then had pizza with our friend Becky (who rode the wave of friends-leaving-Austin a couple of years ago).  Although we took the bus back to the hotel after dinner, I probably walked five miles that day -- and loved all of it.

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to visit San Fran. Looks like it was a fun trip!