San Francisco- that fun place with lots of hills.

Trip Start Jul 07, 2010
Trip End Nov 07, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

San Fran baby!

So we made it to San Fran in one piece. The flight was pretty good, apart from no sleep for both of us. But I ask you, how can one sleep when there were TV shows to watch like: Super secret celebrity weddings and my big fat gypsy wedding? (you can tell by now that Cath is writing this entry.) Ian's lack of sleep was more due to a wing nut dude in front of him who kept moving his seat further and further back and just annoying in general, including stretching his arms behind his head and scratching during meal time, unleashing some bonus seasoning on the tray underneath! Anyway.. we got in at around 9:30am, had to line up for around an hour at customs and then we got our passports checked and got fingerprinted and interrogated (I wanted to use that word to make it sound awesome, but really they just asked what we planned to do in the country…) 

So after the airport was the next fun bit… Driving to our hotel. I was freaking out, it felt like my side of the car (passenger side) was driving ridiculously close to everything. Ian did well though, and we made to it our hotel. Hotel is in a really good location on Lombard Street (the famous windy road street.) We had a shower and then headed out to explore San Fran, first stop was the windy street. To get there we trekked up 2 blocks of massive hill (San Fran is the hilliest place we have ever been) and then right in front of us was the famous stretch of road along with a few tourists! We walked down the street and after a few photos walked down to fisherman’s wharf.

Stopped at Girradehli’s chocolate shop for a much needed sugar hit and then kept exploring. We sat at the Aquatic Park bit of fisherman’s warf for a bit and a local san fransician (is that a word?) named Tony started chatting with us and telling us all the best bits of San Fran to visit. We continued down fisherman’s warf, Ian’s eyes lit up when he saw a Spy shop, so we went in and laughed when we saw for sale  a NSW police felt badge.  By this time we were really tired and hungry, so when we saw In and Out Burger, we couldn’t resist. It was exactly like a burger chain you see in all the movies, SO American, we loved it! P.s- Root beer tastes like sarsaparilla on hormones. Got back to the hotel at around 5pm. Crashed watching Wheel of Fortune.

Day two-

Woke up at 7 am, with 14 hours sleep under our belts we got up showered and went down for breakfast. After many comments from friends re: American coffee is rubbish, we braced our selves for the worst. The coffee was good! They serve Peets coffee (know it Swenson or Jodes?) and also fruit and pastries. We then walked down to Pier 33 for a ferry ride to Alcatraz. I loved standing in the line, listening to all of the different accents of tourists. The family behind us were Irish I think, and had two daughters, one strawberry blonde and one red head, the funniest bit was when the mum was talking to the dad and referred to the red haired child as 'the ginger’ haha.

The ferry ride was short, when we got to Alcatraz we had a quick welcome from the staff and then went on tour with a ranger. We learnt about the Robert Young case.. he tried to escape Alcatraz, It was a good tour. We then did the audio tour of the cell house. The commentary was done by past inmates and cell guards. It gave you a really good idea of what it would have been like to be in there. One part of the tour took us into the solitary confinement cells. One of the inmates told a story about when he used to be put in solitary, he would rip a button off his clothes throw it somewhere in hill cell and then spend the next 5 or ten minutes looking for it. Whatever passed the time I guess. After the audio tour, we walked around the island.  We then got on the Ferry and farewelled Alcatraz. Next on the to do list was clam chowder, went to the famous Pier 39 for this, this by far was the most ‘touristy’ area we had been in. So we joined in the tourist cheer and bought a SF hat (only because Ian didn’t have a hat so we reallllllyyyy needed it!) then had clam chowder in a sour dough roll. It was pretty good, kinda like soup. Chinatown was next on the list, the first saw shop sign we saw had sailor moon on it- brought back memories!

China town was pretty average we thought, I would compare it many hot dollar shops in a row except everything was in Chinese writing and there were hundreds of tourists. We did decide here in Chinatown though that we would collect a fridge magnet from each city we visit- riveting stuff. We then decided to go to the cable car museum we had a map of the area it should be in but not the specific address so we walked for about 7 years (no exaggeration there) and couldn’t find it. We walked into a Starbucks and asked if they knew where it was, no idea. Kept walking for a little while longer and decided to go into another star bucks and asked the staff, they had no idea but some nice lady (whose coffee order in itself was amazing strength vanilla soy macchiato with extra froth or something along those lines) helped us out and told us where to go. We then walked for another 7 years (yes, I was now 40) and finally got to the cable car museum, It was pretty interesting.

We then headed to Union Square, had some cherry cola (or chic a cherry cola in Savage Garden language) and went to Maceys and Bloomingdales. Looked at a few louis vutton bags and then caught one of San Fran’s iconic cable cars back to Lombard street.

We ended the day with going for a drive over the golden gate bridge. It was fun. Stopped past a subway for dinner- Ian ordered a steak and cheese sub and they asked him what kind of steak.. Ian said ‘ umm steak-steak?’. Subway man ‘yep, what kind of steak’, Ian ‘ um the steak and cheese sub steak’? After a few awkward steak questioning moments the sub was made and we headed back to the hotel, another fun filled day in San Fran.

Day 3-

Started off with a lazy morning, lucky because the rest of the day was filled with walking, walking and more walking. We got lost on the way to Golden Gate Park but we came across a nice public garden with a cool heart artwork thing in it. ] Eventually we made it to the park (which is actually bigger than Central Park...odd fact of the day) and spent a good two hours walking around the area. We went through the Botanic Gardens, where we had our first sighting of a squirrel, we were pretty excited, no one else was though…ah well, but the squirrel had nothing on the hawk + mouse combo a little later on.

We went for a drive & walk to ‘lands end’ (the San Fran one, not England). Lots of stairs to climb down, but a good view back on the bridge. Corner of Haight and Ashbury was next, it was basically a hippy area with some kooky little shops. We went into Goodwill, it smelt funny, we left.

We then headed to the pretty houses…postcard row, Alamo Square for those familiar with San Fran. To be honest, we aren’t completely sure why these houses are any different to a most San Fran houses, nevertheless we found ourselves holding a little black box with a clicker on it taking photos of the famous houses.

Last activity of the day was walking the Golden Gate Bridge, took 1 hour and 4 minutes round trip. It was a good walk, very windy and loud! Peeps made me nervous by bringing their very small children on the walk, I kept thinking they would slip through the rails, I am such a nervous nelly.

Dinner time, we were starving! We went to Lois’s diner, Ian got a Budweiser, he was not overly impressed ( I am censoring what his actual description of the beer was) and I got another root beer, we then had a debate about root beer, sarsaparilla and cherry beer and if they were all similar drinks. We agreed to disagree.

We stuffed ourselves with fried food (p.s. onion rings here are literally battered pieces of cut up onion,… not sure what we were expecting) We had fried chicken dipped in honey.. but I can honestly say, Kingsleys Chicken still wins in the fried chicken department.

And that is our final day in San Fran. San Fran is such a fun hilly city, tomorrow we are off to Yosemite and then down the Coast Road!

Ciao peeps,

I & C

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Cheryl Murphy on

Fantastic guys!! I'm loving this blog and will save the link to keep on reading!
How did you get a squirrel up so close? They wouldn't come within twenty feet of me in Illinois...

Mr Cool snr on

Well done Cath! An enjoyable read.

Fiona Gilmore on

Sounds like you guys are having a fantastic time. Loved reading your stories so far. It totally grossed me out thinking about the guy on the plane scratching over your food tho. Yuck! Will look forward to reading your next post.

Sis on

Did you find the bible verses on the In'n'out burger packaging? Apparently they're under the cups... and next time order Animal Fries from the secret menu. Don't get eaten by bears in Yosemite

Jodes on

Sounds like you are having a fab time. Good old plane trips and no sleep thing. I think that you are doing remarkably well on limited sleep.
As for the coffee thing..... yes i have been to Peet's. Maegan took me to one in Seattle. The guy who owns Peet's started Starbucks and then moved out to make his own brand. Apparently the company gets all of there coffee from about 5 different families and they are really picky about how long they keep the beans before they are used. It is a great coffee chain.....
As for Americans and coffee, I couldn't say that it s rubbish, they just do it differently. They like drip coffee and we like the espresso kind.
Enjoy Yosemite...... Looking forward to hearing all of the crazy antics that Ian gets up to there. :-)

dad on

sounds like a great couple of days in frisco - by the way, this is the home of one of the hippy anthems - 'if you're going to san francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair ...." i'm jealous


me on

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