The goal is the South Pacific, but first we’re going to stop for a few days in Hawai’i. And if you were going from Michigan to Hawai’i and had a brother in San Francisco, wouldn’t you stop for a few days to break up the trip? Especially if you had something approaching unlimited time (ignoring for the moment existential thoughts about ultimate mortality)? I thought so.
We stayed downtown at the St. Francis, a classic San Francisco landmark, and spent our two days while Mark’s brother John and his wife Alma were working exploring a couple museums. Our first full day we were going to tour the Museum of Modern Art, recently reopened after a three-year renovation, and after confirming online that it opened at 10:00 AM we headed there after breakfast. To our dismay, the museum was closed on Wednesdays, starting that day, explaining why Google didn’t know it yet.
Plan B, then, was to head out to the Legion of Honor, a European art museum built in honor of the fallen soldiers of World War I. It was a six-mile walk out there, pretty much across the entire city from east to west, all in new hiking shoes we’d both just bought. Perhaps not be the smartest thing we’ve ever done but it worked out alright. The walk itself wasn’t that interesting, taking us through kind of boring neighborhoods, but when we got close to the museum we were in beautiful Land’s End Park with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.
The museum was good, but the modern art museum the next day was spectacular. At $25 each it was the most expensive museum we’ve gone to but it was worth every penny. A huge collection all well presented in a way that you could really learn something about art over the last century. To top it off the museum has a free app available with absolutely great descriptions of probably a couple hundred highlights throughout the seven floors of exhibits. Each entry was interesting, informative, and – crucially – short, rarely exceeding two minutes. There were different people describing the art so it never got too routine. Simply the best museum we’ve been to in our multi-year travels. If you’re ever in San Francisco don’t miss it, even if you think modern art is kind of stupid.
And then we got to spend a little time with John & Alma. One night the four of us went to Al’s Place, what John describes as his new favorite restaurant. We could see why he thinks so highly of it; the food was amazing. Of course, we learned during the meal that it has a Michelin star, so it makes sense it would be somewhere on the “spectacular” spectrum. The next night Alma had an event at Ava’s school, so while she was being a good Mom we went with John, Ava, and Nico to a Wild Sushi, a great little place in their Sunset District neighborhood where we were the only English speakers in our section of the restaurant. That’s always a good sign.
That was the end of our quick trip through the U.S. mainland. From here it’s off to Honolulu for three days – again, largely just to break up the long trip – and then to American Samoa and the South Pacific. We’ve had it with all the ease of hanging out in the States; it’s time for some adventure!
From here on out it’s all art, first from the Legion of Honor, where there was a big Rodin collection to start with.
Now it’s art from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.