You know time is flying by when plans you made a couple of months ago actually materialize. My dearest friend, Maria, moved from South Africa to the States (Boston to be exact) in August and we had made plans in July to meet up in San Francisco (and hit up the beloved & world-famous California wine country) after I had arrived in the land of the free and the home of the brave. It happened. It was everything! Nothing quite as good as having those familia relationships to keep you comforted when you’re so far from home.
Maria arrived on Friday evening around 11pm. I wasn’t quite used to driving here at night so the ride was less the perfect – there might have been a few instances of me driving the wrong way in one-way streets and hitting some curbs along the way, lol. After picking Maria up, we were both too tired to go out so we grabbed a bottle of wine from the neighbourhood Safeway and chatted the night away over some sips of the magic juice. It was a prelude of the wine-filled weekend to come.
We woke up early on Saturday morning for our trip to Napa. Being the sometimes-mess that I am, there were a few hiccups on the way. Hiccup No. 1: The aim was to stop over at the Golden Gate Bridge to get some pictures but I seemed to miss the off-ramp/turn-off (or “exit” as they say here) and we just had to keep on going, lol. I must say, the bridge is spectacular…well actually, it’s just a bridge and it’s red…that’s about it but it i still cool to see a monument that you only ever see in pictures. In my next post, I will post some pics of SF’s lovely bridges. The drive itself was lovely and very scenic, it was super nice to get some fresh air away from the city of SF.
There were more blips along the way. Hiccup No. 2: Word to the wise, the same rules about filling up your car with fuel (or as “gas” in the American way) at home, also apply here. Obvious I know, but I a bit of a mess. I forgot to fill up my car so we almost ran out of gas on the highway. We had 1km of fuel left so I took the first exit I could find and found what looked like an old school gas station – I was like “oh heeey, this has a nice vintage look, let’s do it”. Well, it was vintage because it was literally V.I.N.T.A.G.E…the damn pumps hadn’t worked in years, lol. So, in true Koodzi fashion, I made it a fashion moment and got a couple of pics hahaha.
We managed to find an actual gas station in Novato…something from the current century. Pumping gas for the first time was a bit on experience in itself. I had to ask a stranger how to work the machinery. He thought it was the biggest joke because he didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it. In his mind, “you have a car….so….this should be basic…”. Another photo session ensued and the car was filled up and ready to go forth to Napa.
Napa was really beautiful. We stopped off at Don Giovanni for some lunch and wine to get the day started. I had an amazing pasta with some super tender & tasty lamb. Maria had a rissotto that was highly recommended on Yelp. It was all super tasty. We of course snapped more pics.
Next up was the main event. We decided to keep it to 2 wine estates (being the DD an all, I had to be responsible and stuff). The first one was called Trefethen Vineyards. They have an amazing merlot. It’s generally not my preferred varietal (my dear friend Puleng, on the other hand, swears by merlot) but this one was particularly bold yet with a smooth finish that left you wanting more. The estate itself is really beautiful.
The next wine estate was called Regusci. This place had such an amazing energy. The staff were very friendly, they hooked us up with a free glass of one of their estate wines. There was no wine that I particularly loved but they product range is very solid. I didn’t end up buying any wines anywhere and my main gripe is that this place is too expensive. A wine-tasting costing $20 is the same as a WHOLE really good bottle back home so I’m still trying to reconcile that in my mind. Smh.
We headed home, drove on the side of the Bay Bridge this time (Pictures coming in my next post). We decided to have an authentic American experience afterwards. We spotted a Walmart on the way back home. It was a gigantic Walmart Superstore. As Maria mentioned, given that Walmart acquired Massmart (a retail group) back home in South Africa, we should turn the wine trip into a learning trip to have a real-life understanding of this retail giant. Geek alert!? This Walmart was massive! It even had a McDonalds inside – I’m guessing it’s just in case you get hungry while walking across the massive store during your shopping or something hahaha – such a joke! After our all-American Walmart experience, we made it back home safe and sound. Tired as hell.
In our tired state, we met up with my other SF counterparts and headed off to a Keg party that I was invited to by a work team mate. It was so cool. Straight from the movies I tell you. Straight. From. The Movies! There were keg stands, lots of beer, red cups, urban music, drunken “oh my gaaad”s – everything. I loved it.
Sunday was spent at brunch and Golden Gate Park. Post of the lovely bridges to come next.