Recap: Vacation in San Francisco

Sharon and I got back to Edmonton last night after spending ten days in San Francisco. I had never been there before but had always heard great things. As a bit of a “food town” we thought it would be a great place for us to go to get away from things for a while. Here are some of the highlights.

San Francisco
Based on a couple of recommendations, we looked at the Kimpton Hotel chain. We chose Hotel Triton, located right near the Chinatown gate. It was fantastic!

Heart of the City Farmers' Market
Pretty much the first thing we did after arriving was visit the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market. It reminded us of our own City Market.

Chinatown was an early highlight for me. I’d never seen a Chinatown like the one in San Francisco!

Fisherman's Wharf
Without a doubt the most touristy place we visited was Fisherman’s Wharf. Lots to see and do in the area. I enjoyed eating fresh crab there!

Crooked Street
Another popular tourist spot is the crookedest street in America. No not Wall Street, Lombard Street.

Of course, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to the infamous rock! We actually watched The Rock before leaving for our trip.

Coit Tower
This photo was taken from Coit Tower (you can see the reflection). If you can believe it, we ran into a couple we knew from Edmonton at the top of the tower! Small world.

Ferry Building
We loved all of the fresh produce that was available (and Sharon was particularly sad that we didn’t have a kitchen available). Visiting the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market was pretty cool.

Domaine Chandon
The tasting fees quickly added up, but our decision to take a tour of wine country turned out to be a good one.

Mack, Sharon, Hubert Keller
One of the dinners we had made reservations for in advance was at Fleur de Lys. The highlight was getting to meet Chef Hubert Keller, one of our favorites from Top Chef Masters.

Golden Gate Bridge
We decided to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. It started off foggy but quickly cleared. Other than being very windy, it was a great walk!

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival
All the festivals we visited seemed to be extremely well attended, and the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival was no exception. The lines were insane!

Opera in the Park

Opera in the Park
One of my favorite events was Opera in the Park. This year was San Francisco Opera’s 37th annual event.

San Francisco
This is me sitting in a POPOS – a privately owned public open space. I’m holding a Super Burrito from the San Buena Taco Truck, one of my favorite things we ate.

San Francisco
We did ride the cable car once. This photo also shows the hills San Francisco is known for, and a fire escape too (they were a very common sight).

Chez Panisse
Potentially my favorite dish – a pizza from Chez Panisse. I’m a sucker for eggs.

Muir Woods
On our last morning, we visited Muir Woods. It was so quiet!

Domaine Chandon
Sharon and I at the Domaine Chandon winery.

That’s really just a taste of our trip. You can see the rest of our photos (846 in all) here.

I really enjoyed San Francisco and would definitely visit again!

More on Google Wifi

Post ImageI am sure we’ll continue to see lots of news emerge about Google and the plan to offer free wireless access to all of San Francisco, but this Reuters story already caught my eye:

San Francisco has received more than 24 separate proposals to provide free, wireless Internet services citywide from vendors including Web search company Google Inc., the city’s mayor said on Monday.

Chris Vein, director of telecommunication and information services for the City of San Francisco, said the proposals involved a range of different free or low-cost business models. Only one company Vein declined to name had proposed an advertising supported plan for free wireless access, he said.

That company appeared to be Google. A Google spokesman on Friday had confirmed that its Wi-Fi access proposal could be funded through online advertising.

That would certainly make sense wouldn’t it? Not rocket science or anything. I am not sure what I’d think of ad-supported wireless. I am sure if I had to choose between paying a monthly fee or putting up with some advertising, I’d take the advertising, though I wonder how they would implement it.

Read: Reuters

Google Wifi in San Francisco

Post ImageIt seems that Google has officially submitted a bid to the city of San Francisco to build a city-wide free wireless Internet service. Om Malik broke the story late yesterday, noting:

Google officials say San Francisco residents (and visitors) will enjoy a free 300 kilobits per second, always on connection anywhere in the city. As part of its proposal, the company says it will be offering wholesale access to other service providers, who will offer higher throughput connections to their customers. Google says it plans to use its own authentication services. (That explains the Google WiFi VPN client to some extent). The company is going to use San Diego-based WFI, a cellular network builder company to build out the WiFi network.

There have been rumblings about this for weeks, and people claim to have discovered test networks in other cities too. So upon hearing the news, the first thing I thought was that Google is going to fulfill my vision of wireless everywhere by building free wifi networks in cities around the world! Not so, according to a New York Times article on the story published earlier today:

“Offering a free service like this is a great way to support the Bay Area,” said Chris Sacca, a new-business development executive at Google. “We don’t have any plans outside of the Bay Area.”

While that kind of sucks, I am not holding my breath. I am sure if they see any value in providing the service at all, they’d reconsider opening it to other cities too. And even if that doesn’t turn out to be the case, perhaps other companies will take a cue from Google and build their own networks.

Read: CNET