San Francisco Trip, Day 2

Saturday the 12th in Frisco was the busy day; we took the Napa Valley Wine Train, which ate up about 8 hours.

It was a lot of fun. The tour bus that took us to Napa only had 3 other couples on it, so there were 8 of us total. The driver was a really good tour guide, named Roberto, with an accent that I couldn’t quite peg; I knew it wasn’t Spanish, so I had settled on Italian, but he ultimately revealed himself to be Portugese. On the way to Napa he detoured through Sonoma (he does that on weekends, because the train leaves later and there’s an extra couple of hours to do this kind of stuff. So take the Wine Train on Saturdays) and stopped at the Viansa Winery. We toured the Winery, tasted a lot of really good wine, and bought a few things. We ended up with 3 bottles of wine to take with us, and signed up for 4 months of their Tuscan Club. Very good detour.

The Wine Train itself was cool; I get a kick out of trains, seeming to me to be very retro and luxurious in a sort of pre-Depression American-decadence way, I don’t know. This train pretty much carves a straight line through Napa and back, covering about 3 hours, and you are served a very nice lunch with wine, dessert, etc. While you’re waiting for your meal (or after the meal; they do it in 2 shifts— we were the second shift), you can wander among the various cars, sit in a lounge car, view the scenery from an observation deck, taste wine, that sort of thing. Like I said, I get a kick out of riding a train, and I think it would be neat sometime to ride cross-country in one, just to do it.

Roberto drove us back to San Francisco, of course, and on the way back he took us up to a great vantage point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate Recreation Area. Amazing view, only marred by the number of people already there, taking in the view themselves.

It’s such a charming city; I’d only been there once before, when I was 16, and we were simply passing through on a foggy day. It’s an area I’d consider living in, if I didn’t have other things going on right now that require staying put in Bend.

The rest of the day after we got back was spent doing some more shopping, unwinding, and having dinner in a nice little Italian place at the hotel, called Cafe Pescatore. I was pretty beat by the end of the day, and during dinner I noticed a funny phenomenon: the day spent riding a train and in a tour van had tricked out my inner ear so that it seemed like solid ground was still rocking like the train—phantom movements, as it were. The same occurence that happens when you’ve been out on a boat in the ocean for a long period and have trouble finding your “land legs” again. Very interesting.