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Stranded in San Francisco? No problem

After several days of vineyard tours, we planned to conclude our trip with a little sightseeing in San Francisco. Although we were ready to wrap up our vacation (after some shopping in Union Square) and say good-bye to San Fran, a raging snow storm on the East Coast kept us from flying back home to Boston.

With our flights pushed off for three days, we packed in even more sights, sounds, and treats, including the Painted Ladies along Alamo Square (or as we like to call it, the Full House houses), lunch in Chinatown, and an anti-war protest that shut down almost all of busy Market Street.

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Taking the change in plans in stride, we checked out of our hotel and into the Pacific Tradewinds hostel. The friendly staff accommodated our less-than ideal situation and allowed us to reserve beds with flexibility, knowing our flights could be changed at any time. With a helpful and fun staff, clean facilities, and a great location, it's no wonder why hostelworld.com rated it the number one hostel in all of North America for 2006.

There are worse places to be stuck for three days than the Bay Area, and we had no trouble keeping ourselves busy, starting with a visit to Ghirardelli Square for a taste of the San Francisco-based chocolate company's World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae. Even though I shared the ice cream treat with a friend, we were barely able to make it through the huge bowl of rich hot fudge and silky whipped cream. We walked off the calories with a stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, stopping at a few art galleries and tourist shops along the way.

Later, we hopped on a cable car to the Mission District for some manicures and martinis at the Beauty Bar. For only $10, we were able to sip a delicious specialty cocktail while getting the royal treatment on our nails. Joy, the manicurist, admitted that she has no formal training, but she was a pro at making us feel pampered. With our nails in fine form, we were ready to dance the night away thanks to the in-house DJ.

After our three-night extended stay, I can confidently say I saw all that I wanted to see in San Francisco, but I am utterly exhausted. It's time for a vacation from my vacation.

Road Trip by the Numbers

  • Flights cancelled: 2
  • Nails painted: 30
  • Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes devoured: 2
  • Pictures taken: 156
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