San Francisco – February 2011

Finished off what is always a motivating, rejuvenating office visit with my team in San Ramon with a mini-vacation in the City by the Bay, one of my new favorite US destinations. Cara joined me just in time for the weekend, and Michelle and Brian generously offered to serve as hosts and tourguides, taking us through a sampling of SF’s exotic cuisines, dive bars, swanky patios and world-famous tourist attractions. The weather was in the 99th percentile, fantastic and sunny like the Fourth of July in the middle of February, and the city’s welcome was as warm as the sunshine, from the friendly local faces to the available front-door parking spots at seemingly every venue. Cara and I had an incredible time together, further cementing our shared belief that we would make excellent co-hosts for our own travel show, and Michelle and Brian kept us enthralled with their city and doubled over laughing until the moment we hugged them goodbye. It was an epic weekend, one I will remember fondly forever, and I hope the pictures capture at least a sliver of that feeling for everyone that flips through the gallery.

You can also download this Google Earth file to see all the places we visited.

Gallery is here – slideshow button is at the top-right corner.

First night in Sydney

I felt pretty out of it today from the time change, but I forced myself outside into the brilliantly sunny day to explore the Darling Harbor area a little. I found a great omelette and cappuccino breakfast at a streetside bistro, took some halfhearted pictures of tourists on the boardwalk, ate lunch overlooking the harbour and then gave up on being either adventurous or artistic and retired to my hotel for a nap. I stepped back out briefly this evening amidst a completely different crowd than the day’s – gone were the tourists with their fanny packs and strollers, replaced with the stilettos and cigarettes of the young clubbing crowd. My neighborhood is alive with energy tonight but I’m just too tired to take part. It is literally by force of will, pushing myself to stay awake until a reasonable Australian bedtime, that I’m even online right now posting these shots for you.

From my hotel room window, looking over Darling Harbour and across to downtown Sydney:

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And from the Pyrmont Bridge, looking south into Darling Harbour. My hotel is the one trimmed in yellow neon.

(Click for the full-size)

Hopefully I’ll feel a little more ambitious tomorrow. Sydney is clearly an incredible city and there’s a lot of people I wish were here with me right now, helping me enjoy it.