Dancing at Sea: ExplOratorium and the Golden Gate Bridge
Monday, May 10
Before we actually set off enroute to wine country we stopped first in the Marina District to see the grounds of the explOratorium. And that is not a typo. That's how they spell it.
The Palace of Fine Arts was originally built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. The exhibition hall housed an exhibit of Impressionist paintings. Starting around 1964, it underwent a 20 million dollar renovation and the hall now houses the explOratorium which is an interactive hands-on arts, science and technology museum.
We did not actually have time to go inside and of course that was not part of the Gourmet Food and Wine Tour but our guide Jim wanted to show us the area which is quite a lovely, tranquil park..
So this little interlude in the saga of my Dancing at Sea cruise is simply to post some pictures of two spectacular areas, this Palace of Fine Arts, and of course the Golden Gate Bridge.
We were scheduled to arrive at Santa Barbara at 7 am and depart 4 pm. I had pre-booked a Wine Country Tour leaving at 9 am. The directions on the ticket said to assemble in the Princess Theatre at 8:20 am. I knew that I needed to have some food in me or I would be staggering after the first few sips of wine – yes, I know you are not supposed to swallow but who doesn't? I grew up in South Africa where we had signs all over warning against spitting - "moenie spoeg nie" - thats Afrikanns for "don't spit", so Its kind of ingrained in me.
Checking the PrincessPatter (the glossy daily ship newsletter delivered each evening to one's cabin) I noted that the International Dining room opened for breakfast at 7 am. I set the alarm on my PDA for 6:00 am. Since it was well after midnight, in fact after 1 am before I got to sleep I did the belt and braces thing and also placed a wake up call through the ship's automated system. I joined the lineup outside the dining room just as the doors opened at 7 and was shown to a table where 2 couples, a mother/daughter pair and two other ladies were already seated. I declined the pastries and had a frittata with mushrooms, smoked provolone and Italian sausage, some fresh fruit and coffee. Delicious, but I realized soon that the dining room service is designed for a leisurely breakfast. Not a good choice for an early departure. When I excused myself from the table, the others were still lingering over their coffee and baked goods.