The San Franciscan Hills
Trip Start Nov 01, 2010
47Trip End Nov 01, 2011
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Where I stayed
Eventually, we had made it to downtown San Francisco. We were relieved to get of the Greyhound, the smell of pi$$ and wine of Blue and the fitty gang had become too much, we felt like we needed a shower haha. On the way into the city the view was spectacular, we could see Bay Bridge and the San Fran hills and Skyline. The people were very friendly and even walked us to the bus stop we needed to be at.
HI Downtown San Francisco
Our destination, HI (Hostel International) Downtown San Francisco – basically a part of a large chain of HI hostels across the states which were well known for decent quality, a bit like TOP10 campervan parks in New Zealand. We found the place easily and really enjoyed our brief walk through the city, seemed class. Checked in, to our double room, 2 single bunk beds that is, haha – 7 going on 8 again waa lol
Arrived back about midnight, turned on the free Wi-Fi (handy), to find Facebook covered with messages related to Ireland getting knocked out of the rugby world cup, WHAT? Immediately we Googled 'time in Auckland’ – sure we had been through that many time-zones over this past few weeks we didn’t know whether we were coming or going. Sure we were about 19 hours behind Auckland now and clean mucked it up
The next morning we were up bright an early, we had pre-booked our tour of Alcatraz/The Rock, about a month ago. We heard it was a busy tour, and we were glad we had it sorted, as we arrived on the F car to Pier 33 , we found that it was booked out for 3 days, relief. The pier was absolutely buzzing and then we boarded the boat. The Bay was covered in Naval boats, police, choppers, planes….it was really odd, we thought maybe there was some type of security alert, or maybe the Bay was like this daily. (Note: everywhere we go in America we really where clueless and just picked places on a map and booked stuff we had heard of)
We boarded the island, the weather was amazing, pure blue skies, we had heard San Fran’s best weather was in October. Felt great to finally be at the prison (?), especially after having watched the movie ‘The Rock’ a half dozen times
Golden Gate Bridge
On the Monday, Columbus day, we decided we would head for the Golden Gate Bridge, another big San Francisco landmark. Before hand we needed to put our backpacker hats on and head for grocery store and stock up food for the hostel. We got a K Train out towards the Castro (the gay area of San Francisco - excellent), where there was a Safeway and got sorted out. Left the hostel about an hour later, for some major mucking around waiting on buses, traffic was nuts with it being a public holiday, marches etc., plus I think the San Fran 49’ers had a game. Eventually we made it to Golden Gate Bridge. We had been tempted to hire bikes out or 1 of them Segway contraptions (ironic - the guy who invented the Segway rode one over a cliff by accident and died), but decided against it and done it the old fashion way. We walked it across, views spectacular, packed with other tourists. We were looking forward actually to reaching the other side where seemingly there was a really nice little Spanish/Mexican village, and may well pop in for a well earned Corona or 2. We made across, and about 100m from the end there was a barrier stating ‘sidewalk closed’ – what? We were looking forward to a rest now we were left with no option but to walk the whole way back
Made our way back, dog tired, bussed it back, few drinks in the hostel and chilled out. The day after was the day we never left the hostel, freak rain had hit, however this was actually good timing. About 10 days of our east coast trip had still not been booked, nor had our hotels in Vegas. We had a pile of research to do. Between Google, Trip-advisor and the lonely planets books from the common room we got the whole thing sorted out. A week in Boston (40 Berkeley Hostel), a week in NYC (jazz on the park hostel and then an apartment further out of city) and Vegas hotel (LUXOR) – all booked – phew! But it really did take the whole day and was challenging – east coast availability and pricing is a bit nuts.
We had also been looking into how we were going to get to our next spot the next day, Vegas. We had contemplated the greyhound, but after realizing it took 19 hours and probably filled with headers, we consulted an Asian girl who worked at the Hostel
We headed down to Fisherman’s wharf, Pier 39, on our last day in San Francisco, a city we were beginning to really love. Sun was back out, and we dandered around the markets and pier. Crowds had gathered around 1 particular spot, we followed the sheep to discover a pack of seals (yes a pack) – sprawling out in the sun, smelly but entertaining.
A great way to end our stay in San Francisco, a beautiful city we could easily settle in. Back to the hostel, collected our luggage from the hostel and we were off to Oakland Airport, next stop, 6 days in the mad Sin City, Las Vegas – we were very excited and knew this would be an altogether different experience, praying for a bit of luck in the casinos, to help pay for the little white chapel of course.