The trip I took with Matt last week was, despite all of my previous journeying, one of many firsts. It was my first cruise (much to the surprise of my fellow passengers who to a person called us “newbies”). It was also the first time I visited San Francisco. Perhaps the best part about this was waking up at 5:30 a.m. (and yes, there was a perverse pleasure in getting up that early on vacation not on account of a child) to not only see the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time, but to sail right under it. That’s right – we were literally feet away from the bottom of the bridge on the top deck of the ship; it felt close enough to touch. It felt close enough that for a brief nervous moment we wondered if the ship’s smoke stack would actually fit underneath.
And then the San Francisco skyline came into view, and a purple and misty Alcatraz. I saw the steep and empty streets and the Ghiradelli sign illuminated against the pale morning sky and thought to myself, “there really isn’t anything like arriving at a new city by boat.” It’s an old-fashioned pleasure that I’ve now decided each of us should experience, at least once. Maybe in San Francisco.