San Fran - Back to Civilisation

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, June 5, 2009

Left Yosemite after the (now) usual coffee and oatmeal outside our tent. Arrived SF about lunchtime after a pretty cruisy drive, checked into a pretty plush hotel (nice work Craig) which is a welcome change after share bathrooms etc. Grabbed a quick bite and then headed off to Telegraph Hill and checked out Coit Tower (great murals inside painted by local artists depicting California in the 1930s). Then walked down to Embarcadero at the waterfront. Watched some pretty awesome street acts - some break dancing and a jazz group. Walked along the peers to the Ferry Building - had some drinks and then walked home. Got a really good feel about San Fran.
Next day we headed down to Ferry Building again for the famed markets - so much fresh produce - more for locals than tourists (is local fruit and veges, fresh meat etc). Messed around the Civic Centre for a while not getting very far. Hopped a cable car to Castro to check it out. Pretty fun looking place. Obviously pretty colourful with all the rainbow flags flying and people pretty friendly. Freezing day though so didn't adventure too far.
Got our walking shoes on Sunday morning and walked around Lower Haight, passed the 'painted ladies', and then through Casto to the Mission. Missed the Brazilian parade / carnivale thing but all pretty cool anyway. Haight / Castro / Mission all reminded us of Prahran / Brunswick St kinda places.
Monday's plan was to collect our car and check out the vineyards north of San Francisco in Napa Valley - was given some recommedations by nice guy in a shop we met in Ferry Building - Zinfindels in Dry Creek Valley (West Dry Creek Rd, Sonoma). Nice plan but all went very much pear-shaped. Unfortunately we didn't realise it was a public holiday when we booked the car hire - an hour line up just to pick up the keys to our gangster car (Chrysler 300), then a very frustrating return journey when our GPS wouldn't work. Accidentally programmed in the wrong street into GPS so went a very long way to get to our destination. Thought all could be redeemed by a nice lunch a wine tasting - weather gorgeous, and we were starving by the time we got there. Went to winery where guy in shop had said to ask for his friend (where there would be live music and food etc). Turned out music only on weekends and no food..........not only no food at their winery, but no food in Dry Creek Valley wineries full stop. Annoyingly, all the locals know to pack a picnic - all the vineyards had gorgeous grounds where you can chow into your picnic after a tasting etc. All looked lovely, but given it was now 3pm and we'd not eaten breakfast, the mood was a little tense. After one tasting, we gave up and headed to local town - Healdsburg - really pretty. Picked up a bite to eat and looked around before heading home over the Golden Gate Bridge.
So much fog over the Golden Gate, couldn't see the bridge at all - nice!! In fact, all but one day in San Fran were fog covered (from cold air coming of water and then condensing to fog). After a pretty crappy day, decided to head to The Slanted Door - pretty well reputed restaurant. Had amazing dinner which went a long way to redeeming the day.

Next stop: Highway 1 down to LA
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