Vacationblogging 2010: Now, with fewer photographs!

I’m sitting on an airplane taking advantage of in-flight wifi as I mull over the past six weeks away from home. We started with a week in Kalaloch, enjoying the beautiful Washington coast. Then we spent a month in Olympia, Washington, for a “workation” that turned out to be quite a bit more work than vacation. Greta and I have this idea that as our kids become more independent, rather than going on a typical vacation for week or two, we could spend the entire summer in an entirely new place, keeping up with work about half the time, and enjoying a different part of world the other half.

Because of scheduling issues with work and kids, this year’s workation was somewhat of a trial — not quite the whole summer, with only four weeks in full workation mode. And as it turned out, for different reasons, we both ended up doing more work for that month than we had planned. We still think the concept has some merit: We got to explore Olympia, a beautiful, walkable small city with an amazing Farmer’s market and some great restaurants. But we were working so hard, we really didn’t get to enjoy the place like we might have. We had planned, for example, to spend some of our leisure time reading the Iliad, discussing it each week over coffee. We only made it about halfway through.

We both agreed that if we do the workation thing again, we have to be in career situations that allow us to really take an honest break and not work 40+ hours a week.

Then last week we went back into full vacation mode, heading to San Francisco with Jim and Nora for our “last” vacation as a family. Jim will be heading to college in the fall at Berklee College of Music, and Nora is entering her senior year of high school, so although we’re not ruling out future travels with our kids, this is really the end of an era.

We had a great time in San Francisco, but since it was foggy most of the time and I didn’t want to carry a backpack around the city, I didn’t take many pictures. Coit Tower is a surprisingly engaging place to visit, not only for its stunning views of the city and its wonderful murals, but also for the walk down the stairs on Telegraph Hill through an amazing hillside neighborhood. The homes are connected by rickety wooden steps, with no automobile access at all. The “street” is a lovely wooded garden, inhabited by a flock of parrots, which I’m assuming are escaped housepets.

San Francisco is a great city to walk around, and I made a map of our exceptional (if hilly) walk that day. Nob Hill, Chinatown, and Telegraph hill are all highly recommended. Even the tourist-saturated Fisherman’s Wharf was a nice end to a long day hiking about town.

I also loved visiting the Golden Gate Park, which I was surprised to find is several miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s sort of a not-so-Central Park for San Francisco, with art museums, a science museum, and a fantastic Japanese garden and separate, enormous botanical garden. The only real disappointment was the Shakespeare Garden, which tourist guides said included every plant mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, along with plaques of the relevant quotations. It did include both of those things, but separately, so unless you were a botanist, there was no way of telling which plant went with which quotation.

Finally, for the last two days, we fulfilled our “kids'” request to visit Disneyland. It was fun reliving the memories of past Disney visits, and there were some excellent light shows at night, but I have to say, the next time I visit a Disney theme park, it’s probably going to involve grandchildren.

I did take a few photos, but I don’t have them at my fingertips here at 30,000 feet. If any of them turn out to be worthwhile, I’ll add them sometime over the next week.

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