I spent a week in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. I presented two storytelling concerts and two professional development sessions at the International Association of School Librarianship Conference in Berkeley. I met librarians from all over the globe – the United States, Japan, Korea, China, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Austria, India, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, and so many other countries. I even received a gift of vegemite to go! It was such a wonderful conference – I was truly inspired by my new international friends. Thank you so much, IASL librarians! A special thank you to Blanche Woolls and Kristin Fontichiaro.
This is a picture of librarians doing a story theater exercise in my Story Fest workshop.
Here is a picture of me with sweet librarians from the U.S., Japan and China.
This is a picture of one of the librarians performing Kamishibai Story Theater. The story is a Japanese folktale called “The Mouse’s Wedding.”
Prior to the IASL conference, my husband, Antonio, joined me for nearly a week in San Francisco. We stayed at the luxurious Harbor Court Hotel on the Embarcadero. We toured Napa wine country and brought back eight bottles of wine! Woo hoo! We wined and dined our way through San Francisco, eating the most delicious cuisine and sampling the region’s best wines.
Although I have visited San Francisco before, it has been quite some time since I toured the city and I fell in love with her all over again. The undulating hills make the city scenic and adventurous. Antonio and I saw most of the San Francisco must-sees: the weekend Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, Chinatown, Lombard Street (we drove down the world’s “crookedest” street), Pier 39 (including the seals that have taken over the boat slips), Fisherman’s Wharf, the Cliff House overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge (we drove over it and took pictures from a vista point), the cable cars (Antonio hung off the side – talk about cold!), Alcatraz (we viewed it from a distance on a very clear day), and the rolling fog!
Here is the Golden Gate Bridge. The actual color of the bridge is called “International Orange.” It was supposed to be a primer but it was so beautiful that the city decided to keep the bridge that color.
This is one of the famous buildings in Chinatown, on the corner of California and Grant, where you can catch the renowned cable car.
Check out the cakes at this Chinatown Bakery. Wow!
While in Chinatown, we ate lunch at a very nice restaurant called The Oriental Pearl. The food was delicious. It was also on must-eat list because Rachael Ray (Eliana and I are big fans) ate there for $40/day. So I took this picture just for Eliana.
Antonio and I both had must-eats on our list – I wanted a slice of sourdough pizza and he wanted an authentic Mission burrito. We took the BART and ventured into the Mission district to find the BIGGEST burrito on the planet at Farolito’s, a hole-in-the-wall place that everyone recommended. I found my sourdough pizza at Fisherman’s Wharf at The Franciscan Restaurant’s walk-up window. We did find out that even in August, San Francisco can be quite chilly. We both brought home new jackets. LOL
Here I am at Pier 39. Check out the beautiful city line behind me.
This is the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, viewed from the historic Cliff House.
I can’t forget to show you the famous Cable Car. It’s fun to ride but you better bring a jacket because it can be chilly with the wind whipping around you.
This is a view of Lombard Street from our rental car – we’re driving doooooown. You have to ride the brakes and go very slooooowly.
San Francisco is definitely in my Top 5 U.S. cities. It’s a city for couples, friends, families, and singles. Thank goodness we didn’t experience any earthquakes while we were there (a 5.4 hit the L.A. area just the week before). But I was definitely shaken and taken by the city’s beauty.
Though we didn’t spend a lot of time in Berkeley, we did tour the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory (it’s free). That was AMAZING and the chocolate is superb (satisfying the chocoholic in me…). Scharffen Berger (now a division of Hershey’s Artisan Chocolates) is a gourmet chocolate maker in every sense of the phrase. They pay above fair trade prices for their cacao beans and create the chocolate from beginning to end – from roasting the beans to hand-packaging the bars. If you love chocolate, you must try Scharffen Berger. Here I am being goofy, getting ready to tour the factory. The cover on my chin is for “beards.”
Antonio and I also dined at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in the “Gourmet Ghetto” area of Berkeley. Alice Waters has, for over 25 years, served finely and simply prepared organic in-season food from sustainable agriculture farms no further away than 100 miles from the restaurant. The menu changes daily. Chez Panisse restaurant was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine in 2001.
Visit the Bay Area – you’ll love the city but be sure to bring a warm jacket!