We spent the past few days in Napa Valley, which is less than an hour drive from San Francisco.
We visit a new church most every Sunday. It gives us a feel of home. As much as I love the adventure we are on, God is and has always been my greatest adventure. 💞 We visited a great church this past week. We met a precious family who invited us to lunch and to the park after church. That was honestly one of our favorite parts of the week, and we did some pretty awesome stuff. Not a lot beats meeting new friends, though.
Monday we visited the Castle of Love, Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, CA.
You can pay to take a tour of the inside and taste wine and grape juice produced from the vineyard on the castle grounds. It is more pricey than we wanted to pay, and we were completely satisfied walking around outside.
All of our kids enjoyed seeing the castle.
Our little girls kept asking if we’d see a princess.
We headed to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, CA when we left the castle.
We arrived too late to take a tour, but we enjoyed walking through the gift shop and trying free samples.
On Tuesday we got up early and left our RV around 7:30AM to go to San Francisco. We were scheduled to take a 9:30AM boat to Alcatraz.
We realized as soon as we mapped our route that we were going to miss our boat. Having lived near Houston, we know to account for morning traffic in big cities. We figured an hour extra would be sufficient, but it wasn’t. We arrived about 15 minutes late. Thankfully, we were put on standby and caught the next boat.
This was our kids’ first ride on a large boat. They loved it. We were happy to have these great window seats inside. Making sure 10 little ones didn’t fall overboard if outside would have been doable but certainly not easy.
I did take our older kids onto the front deck of the boat, and one by one I gave our younger kids a turn out there as well.
It was beautiful. Looking one direction we could see Alcatraz Island, another the Golden Gate Bridge, and another the city of San Francisco.
Visiting Alcatraz was a financial splurge for us. We felt is was 100% worth it after the experience.
The island itself has a lot of beauty from the landscape to the historic buildings and architecture to the birds flying and walking nearby.
Our kids are learning history that they won’t forget. I am learning history that I won’t forget.
We watched a short video about the history of Alcatraz Island when we first arrived. Then we walked around looking at different buildings and reading about each.
I knew Alcatraz was used as a military prison. I did not know that American Indians occupied Alcatraz for 19 months of protest after the prison closed.
We went inside the main prison after we walked around the island for awhile.
We were given headsets and each listened on audio as we toured the prison. It was such a good, thorough tour.
We felt connected to guards and prisoners alike.
It saddened our kids to learn of some of the crimes the prisoners committed, and it saddened them that these prisoners could not be free. It brought up many topics of good conversation between us all.
Our older kids really appreciated learning so many details and seeing so much in person.
I thought about how beautiful and precious the sunlight beaming in through these dining room windows must have been for the prisoners. A sign of hope, light and life outside of bars. A sign of freedom. They would have needed hope. That is one thing the soul can’t bear to live without. This I know.
We walked out of the prison somber by what we learned and saw. Even we were happy to be back standing in the sunlight outside.
We walked our way back around the island and were captivated by the view of San Francisco across the water.
We took the boat back to San Francisco and headed over to walk the Golden Gate Bridge.
There’s an intriguing cloud of fog that surrounds the bridge.
It was about 17 degrees colder around the bridge than it was just a couple miles away, so we grabbed our hoodies for the walk.
There are great walkways that run alongside both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the railings are high. We did feel safe walking with our kids there. We did have to watch out for people speeding by on bikes, though.
We were able to see Alcatraz Island, which the kids thought was awesome after just being there.
The noise of cars passing on the bridge was loud. It wasn’t a peaceful stroll, but more of a majestic brisk walk. One that was worth it for sure.
We ended the day meeting up with one of my friends and her husband for dinner. I love getting to see friends along the way as we travel. It was so great catching up with Kaitlen and Nathan after not seeing them for 7 years. Not a lot beats catching up with old friends.