Walking The Golden Gate Bridge

Recently for a fun Sunday outing, my hubby (Mike) and I  chose to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

I have added my Joie Was Here You Tube channel link to give you a visual recap of the breathtaking views,  commentary and vastness of this incredible Landmark.

It makes for a fun day of activity.  People of all ages walk,  run or bike the bridge. Walkers and runners get the view over to the Bay Bridge Side and bicyclist view the west out to the Pacific Ocean.

Arriving early and from the opposite side of the bridge has its advantages, less traffic, people and more parking.  Later int the day both the San Francisco and Marin sides will be filled with tour buses, cars and tons of people.

Our walk starts from the Vista Point parking lot on the Marin Headlines side.

IMG_6241This is a great way to get our steps in, keep active, people watch and enjoy the incredible view.


Finally reach the San Francisco side to see Fort Point and the bridge in all its grandeur.

There is plenty to do on this side.  We went to the Welcome Center which is packed with historical information as well as souvenirs to commemorate the journey.

There is so many bridge in the background photo opportunities, from the serious iconic shots to the cheesy tourist shots.  The point is to just have fun.


So fun is complete and ready to walk back to the Vista Point and head to lunch.  It has been a fun-filled active day.  I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me and my hubby.

First Cable Car Ride

Visiting San Francisco is always a great experience for me and my hubby Mike.  We have explored so many corners of the city and have uncovered some interesting art, activities and food. But…the most fun time I experienced was from a recent visit by my sister and her new husband. Why you ask…. Because we got to share the great city of San Francisco by taking them to our favorite spot, Fishermen’s Wharf.

Not from a touristy point but from a local point. We escorted them to our favorite spots, a walk through the Playland Museum, (lots of memories here) and  lunch from the wharf street vendors on the main corner near the big Fishermen’s Wharf sign for fresh crab salads and SF sourdough bread.  So good!!

Then, a walk amongst the tourist; soaking in the souvenir stores, art galleries, eateries and the street vendors all along the street. Not stopping just observing all the activity.  Our walk took us up to  the Cable Car Turn Around on Beach Street for the Hyde Street to Powell Street route.  There we learned that neither my sister or her husband had ever ridden on a cable care before.  So as great host what do you do….Get Tickets.  It was the best $7 ride.  Even the short stand it line was worth the anticipations of this virgin journey.  Being the memory keeper I am…of course I captured the ride for all to see.  That way they could have that moment over and over again.  I don’t ever get tired of watching it.  It brings me back to the delight the trip brought them.

I hope you too enjoy this fun experience with us….


A Glimpse Of San Francisco Treasures

I really enjoy trekking around different cities and finding interesting things to capture in my photographs and sharing my discoveries.  While the crowd gathers at an attraction, I will take a different route to see the same things from a different perspective.  Many will only see the tourist attraction, I see the life of the city in the object.

This visit takes me trough San Francisco were the sites of this city are found in the most unique ways, in the neighborhoods, the people who hustle in their daily lives, and the grandeur of history and architecture.

Today I am sharing  a small glimpse of my journey.




We all have been enduring a very wet, snowy and cold winter no matter what state you live in.  BUT….for us Californian’s we got sunshine for the first time in days.  Not only sunny but reasonable…beach warm weather.  YAY!  So what do you do when you have been hunkered down, keeping dry and warm for too long….You Go Play!

Being adventurous hubby and I  headed once again to the City (that is San Francisco for us northern Californian’s) to a place we had not been before… Twin Peaks.  (no, not the TV show).

img_4564 Discovering these are amazing view from the tallest peaks in San Francisco overlooking the entire area from the ocean on the west, The Golden Gate Bridge to the north, the Bay Area to the east and the Peninsula to the south.  A  spectacular 360 degree postcard.


And we we’re not alone…many locals and visitors joined us at this special vista point.  In awe at the beauty of the scenes before us.  Clicking away on cameras, cell phones, and iPads to capture the amazement at every turn.

img_4569To add to the excitement; Twin Peaks has it’s own local artist, spraying out his craft at the speed of light for the delight of the visitors.


Twin Peaks is a great spot to visit, be amazed and if you have a camera handy capture some incredible shots.  The bonus is a little hiking to the top of one of the peaks enhances the experience. Be sure to wear comfy, sturdy shoes, it is a bit of a climb. Certianly worth the excursion.

We encountered a few women in spike heels trying to navigate the climb.  Made me a little nervous, I just envisioned them catching one of those heels in the wood steps and tumbling done the hill.  Fortunately, she made it safely.

We did that; now on to the next adventure…a ride up Highway 35 to Half Moon Bay for ocean views and a bowl the best clam chowder we could find.  That could be only at one place Sam’s Chowder House on Highway 1. Sam’s has won awards and was featured non NBC’s Today Show for their delicious lobster rolls.

I have never been to Sam’s when the parking lot wasn’t full…don’t let that discourage you, it is worth the wait in the lot for a space and then when you put in your name for a table.  You can check out the Sam’s Gift Store or take a few and go to the outside or inside bar and enjoy a cocktail and meet more Sam’s enthusiast.


A cold beer, a pear cider, or your favorite cocktail and if you hang long enough you can eat right there at the bar. The outside bar has the best ambiance and view.


Great Service we found a place at the bar and our bartender was AWESOME!) Lunch  ordered! (Servings are large, so splitting your meal is an option) A Blue Crab and Shrimp “packed”Louie and a HUGE bowl of that famous clam chowder to share with my hubby.  This is a treat not to be missed.  Delicious!!!


Oh yes, and don’t miss that fantastic ocean view.  The best part was observing our fellow humans and their furry friends enjoying the rays as much as we did.


Giving these spots a Joie Was Here Thumbs Up img_3743 to a Sunny Saturday excursion on the west coast.








Chinatown San Francisco

Every urban city has this neighborhood and we are lucky to have a famous one….Chinatown in the heart of San Francisco.

Most of us head to Chinatown’s main street with a mecca of shops and restaurants to get our occasional fix. Our family did for years during the holidays or special visits with out-of-town guests.   We would take them trekking through that famous entrance, walk that street, shopped in those shops and eat in one of those restaurants.

I wanted to know more…so I booked another “Foodie Adventures” tour with our favorite tour guide Chris Milano to venture into the special areas of Chinatown that we tourist rarely get to see.  I knew we would see areas not normal on the beaten path.  Score!


Now I do what to give a huge shout out to Annie owner of  Delicious Dim Sum for the best pockets and wraps of dim sum I had ever had.  According to Yelp followers, a 4 star place.  Yummy, authentic and filling, To go boxes leaving the doors of this establishment faster than I can count.  Find it.  Order. and Enjoy!

I always love when I get my steps in doing something exciting and creative.  We wondered the streets and alleys, tasted and learned so much about the neighborhood, culture and history. Of course me with the added bonus of camera in hand.

We found the neighbors filling the sidewalks to shop in their favorite markets that carried the freshest foods to place on their tables.

The streets are filled with the essence of this culture.  Charm,street food and fortune.

Hidden in the nooks and crannies of the alleys,  are the talents and deep heritage of cultural music and service passions of its neighbors.














A BIG  Joie Was Here a thumbs up img_3743to Foodie Adventures,  Delicious Dim Sum and Chinatown San Francisco for fun, adventure and delicious food.

Stockholm – A Maiden Voyage


My husband and I recently took our virgin trip to Europe via a special excursion offered by a friend heading to their company’s offices in Sweden. They graciously offered to share their company paid accommodations at the Sheraton Stockholm.  We just had to get there.  Who could turn down that kind of offer.  We were ready to pack my bags before I even bought the tickets.  Excited was an understatement.  As a photographer I was ready to capture the essence and beauty of Stockholm.

I did tons of research on You Tube to ensure I was prepared. There was certainly some great information and it put my mind at ease as a first time traveler to a country not in the Americas or Canada. For me personally I was relieved to find out that the secondary language in the country was English…I could do this!  So passport in hand,  booked the flight,  marked the calendar and patiently waited for the departure date to arrive.

We chose to fly on the Norwegian Air newest flight that arrived in Stockholm in 10 hours non stop. That made me a happy camper for sure!  All other flights for upwards to 23 hours; most of which had layovers of 2-3 hours.  We Scored!

The cab ride from the airport to Stockholm was amazing; highlighted by a touch of the Swedish countryside.  It is beautiful and reminded me of going to Northern California.

We arrived in Stockholm City…OMG it was like I arrived in a whole new (old) world…of color, cleanliness and striking architecture.  All I wanted to do was pull out the camera equipment and just spend the entire time there taking photos.  Who needed to sleep!


We did make a stop at the hotel…got to the room unloaded luggage, dinner with our friend and slept a bit and then we were off on the 6 day photo exploration.

The first day our friend gave us the guided tour of Gamla Stan (Old Town).  We pretty much felt like we had stepped back in time.  A meeting place in the square, filled with cobblestones streets,  quaint shops,  adorable restaurants,amazing museums and highly relaxed people enjoying fika (swedish coffee break).

Oh yes, and the home of the Nobel Prize Museum..the place were Bob Dylan humbly accepted the award for Literature this past December.  Pretty sacred ground; I was humbled.




The King’s Palace flanks Old Town and is protected by a myriad of guards.  Every day at noon a ceremony is conducted for the changing of the guard.  Ceremonious grandeur enjoyed by many town’s men, women, children and tourist.


Okay day one was “Soooo Exciting!” I can hardly wait to see what day two was to bring. Stay tune for more tidbits from this Stockholm journey in coming blogs.

Stockholm is rich with color, culture, architecture and amazingly friendly people and a great place for the first time European Travler.

From Joie Was Here…

A international thumbs up img_3743







Walk, Shop and Brunch at Jack London Square

img_4384There is a great walk along the Oakland Estuary. In the west direction you have view all the way to San Francisco and in the east you get the parade of boats heading out.


If your ambitious California Canoe and Kayak has you covered for an afternoon adventure.

All along Jack London Square main walk you will find “Jack of all things Market” Nicely crafted items from local artist.  Listen to music performed by local bands.  Or stop for a brew or food at one of the local restaurants or bars.  There is always something for everyone…even you pets.


One of my favorites booths was the cleaver portable doll houses made inside rolling suitcases and crafted from an artist that got the idea from her childhood.   I just think this is such a unique idea for a take along for kids and easy storage when they are done.   You can get more information on this unique gift idea by calling the artist directly 209-872-3941 or look them up on facebook at Lugg-Around.

And the highlight was Brunch at Eve’s Waterfront restaurant on the Embarcadero. (fully remodel in the old Rusty Scupper building on the waterfront).  This location is just two months new and they recently added the weekend brunch buffet to their services just a couple of weekends ago.

The food is delicious, included fresh fruit, salad, bacon, sausage, pulled pork and my favorite chicken and waffles, and my favorite; sourdough bread.   All eggs to go with brunch are made to order.  Then a special treat is the shrimp and crab, great coffee and bottomless Mimosa’s.  A full bar is available as well.

A great location for corporate or private events as well.  You can follow them on instagram at #eveswaterfront or check out their website at Eve’s Waterfront

This fun day gets a big thumbs up img_3743from joiewashere



An Adventure For Your Taste Buds

Many urban cities are such eclectic places; always something interesting around every corner.  Each neighborhood has its own personality, nooks, & specialties.

So one of my goals for this past year is to discover more about a city in my own back yard… San Francisco. I have visited all the tourist areas over the years. Many of my  trips end up at  the same places; Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Union Square, and the Cable Cars and I always fun, ate great food, took lots of photos and always found the visit adventurous.   And I just wanted more….

I decided to start with something I knew I would love…Food.

A friend suggested I check into a company that specializes in taking people on walking food tours in San Francisco.  What a concept; a win, win…eating and exercise in one trip, score!

My search began on Google of course and the one that caught my eye was “Chris Milano’s Foodie Adventures”.

_dsc0359The Real Guy…Chris Milano

The company had great ratings and offered several choices of tours in neighborhood’s I had not explored before. I immediately contacted the family to join me and book our first tour “The Mission”.  I had no idea what to expect but after checking out the reviews and the website I discovered that the host definitely was the expert on the local foods, as well as, the neighborhoo_dsc0346ds.   I could tell we were in for discovery and treats.

  • Rule number one…arrive hungry….it is a food marathon in savory and sweet delights.
  • Rule number two…wear comfortable shoes and bring a bag…for the left overs or purchases.
  • And for me Rule number three, bring the camera….I would be amiss not to chronicle this fun exploration.

Our meeting was scheduled that Saturday at Chinese Food and Donuts.


Having never been in this neighborhood the name along intrigued me. That is where our adventure began…we did not eat at this location but only met at this interesting spot.  We were greeted by our host, yes the founder and tour guide Chris Milano.


Charming and full of great information to start our 3-hour food feast.

The tour was so informative, full of history, diverse commerce, hot spot for nightlife, and colorful and creative neighborhood pride and most importantly delicious food I would have never experienced had I not done this tour.

Chris Milano’s Foodie Adventures gets my JOIEWASHERE  img_3743thumbs up!


If you are looking for a culinary couture, fun filled, informative, delightful, and delicious time for an adventure in San Francisco.  Go to www.foodieadventures.com and Book Now!


City Under The Moon


San Francisco Skyline Under The Moon

Nothing like a night under the Moon and Stars with a cityscape lighting the night.

I just spent a wonderful evening capturing the essence of beauty of San Francisco at night.  The bonus was enjoying not only this photo shoot but time with my hubby and a new Meet Up Group, “PhotoXploria – The Best Camera Is The One You’re Holding”

This is an angle from the Emeryville Harbor.  I love how the city lights cascade colorfully on the water. Not only can you see the tower of the Bay Bridge, but the beacon light on the Trans America Building and the iconic Coit Tower.  The Holiday lights popping all over the city.   We were given a calm night with little wind, making for perfect photography.  Spending the evening waiting on the moon to descend the night sky and gently fall about the cityscape was so worth the wait.  My favorite part of this photo is the moon beam falling on the water.

If you plan on visiting San Francisco be sure to make time in your schedule to see the city from its many angles.  You will not be disappointed.

Room With A View

img_3734Our views out our windows are taken in sometimes for granted and sometimes with admiration of the beauty that unfolds before us.  At Alcatraz Federal Prison only a few prisoner were lucky enough to have this view.

San Francisco has daily tours run by Alcatraz Cruises taking off near Pier 39 at Fishermen’s Wharf that takes you to the island for a self guided tour that unfolds such an incredible piece of the San Francisco history.  Additionally, you have the bonus of seeing the city skyline, Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate from a different perspective.  A beautiful sight to behold.  Some visits even add the extra bonus of sailboats skimming across the bay for race or leisure or a sight of the cargo ships coming in and out of the bay.

Plan your trip, make reservations and pack a lunch.  Make it a family day  and enjoy  of a wonderful outing full of history.