Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Broader Horizons

I’ve been to San Francisco many times and love its eclectic personality. From the Haight-Ashbury to Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf, it has its own very special identity. Recovering from a terrible hammering by AIDS and then the meltdown, it remains one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Yet until last week, I had never ventured out of the city and into the Napa Valley. What an experience. We stayed at the idyllic Auberge du Soleil. Provence style luxury with a revamped swimming pool, a beautiful restaurant overlooking the valley, and over 2,000 different bottles of exquisite wines to choose from. Over the weekend we explored the Napa and were fortunate enough to drive into Calistoga, home of the famous mineral water, just as the Cinco de Mayo parade got under way. Cinco de Mayo is emerging as a major national celebration in the US. This fantastic event has become community-focused fun, with the odd Margarita and Mariachi thrown in. Where better to enjoy something so richly local than in an area like the Napa. A few thousand miles away but with a well-deserved global reputation for inclusiveness, beauty and authenticity.