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view of Ghirardelli factory

Ghirardelli’s chocolatiers

Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, a tourist destination in San Francisco, is offering something new: a “chocolatier” program. The “factory” isn’t really a factory anymore. Ghirardelli’s chocolate production has moved to a more modern factory out of town and the historic buildings near Fisherman’s Wharf are now a complex of shops, with an emphasis on everything chocolate….

street art in San Francisco

Spotted in San Francisco

I moved to the Netherlands from San Francisco about 17 years ago. The last time I visited was only two years later. Now I’m back, and I’ve spent the past week rediscovering this fascinating city: wandering through different neighborhoods, reconnecting with old friends over delicious food from all over the world, and generally playing tourist…

San Francisco city skyline

Being a Tourist in San Francisco

Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz: these are typical tourist destinations in San Francisco. Those of us who travel a lot like to see ourselves as something other than tourists. Some use the term “traveler,” or “visitor,” for example. We avoid like the plague any…

view over Lake Tahoe

A quick trip to the Sierra

Old Sacramento You’ve probably seen it in a hundred cowboy films: a main street lined with wooden buildings, fronted by a wooden sidewalk shaded by a roof. The storefronts say “Bank” or “General Merchandise” in formal, old-fashioned lettering. Cowboys stumble out through the swinging doors of the saloon. Women of ill repute beckon from a…

How Americans see the Dutch

(Nederlands vertaling beneden) A couple of weeks ago I posted about how the Dutch see the Americans. It wasn’t particularly complimentary, so I promised to write the opposite post: how the Americans see the Dutch. Here’s the problem: the Americans don’t see the Dutch. What I mean is that America is big and Holland is small,…

Zuanich Point Park

Bellingham is far more interesting than I ever expected it to be. When I looked it up on-line before coming here, it sounded like a rather sleepy, rather hippy-ish place, with its once-a-week organic market and its encouragement of biking. And, to be honest, that’s what it is: a sleepy, hippy-ish place. The residents even…

T is for Travel

What is it that we like about travel? I think people would give a variety of answers. Here are a few that come to mind. Experiencing different cultures and ways of life This is what interests me the most. I am constantly curious about how other people live. As we were driving along today, for…

Serenity on the BC Ferry

I experienced a few moments of serenity yesterday. It was on the ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsuwassen, on my way back from a lovely visit with my relatives in Victoria. It had cleared up from an overcast, rainy morning to one of those afternoons with deep blue skies and bright, billowy clouds. I stood…

Odd Little Things in America

When I first moved to Holland there were a lot of little things I noticed that were different than at home. Nothing of importance, so I just noticed and moved on. Now that I’m back visiting, all sorts of little, unimportant things are striking me as different and odd: things that normally people would never…