Trip Start Sep 16, 2005
18Trip End Mar 17, 2006
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Had a fab time in San Fran - it's a great city. Our hostel turned out to be a bit of dump so gave us lots of reasons to spend as much time walking the streets as possible. After depositing our bags in the hostel we had a bit of a wander around Union Square which is the posh shopping area with all the big department stores (Macys, Saks 5th Avenue, etc). Also made acquaintance with some of the city's nutters who seem to hang out on the steps in Union Square & on pretty much every street corner - never been anywhere with so many people walking round talking to themselves (not on hands free!)
The following day we planned to do a walk from the Lonely Planet around the China Town area but as we passed through Union Square we were distracted by the 13th Annual Korean Festival which seemed about to start. So we took a pew & waited patiently. About an hour or so later & having sat through loads of sycophantic speeches between various dignitaries - the show finally started. Absolutely fantastic traditional dancing, music and an impressive Tae Kwan Do display meant that four hours later we were still on Union Square, now sunburnt & no closer to China Town. However, we did make friends with a lovely Korean lady who tried to explain what was going on, translated things for us & even bought us lunch which consisted of typical Korean food. (We had considered buying a lunch box ourselves but having seen what was inside it had decided not to bother!)
We didn't have time to do the walk properly so we just decided to whizz through China Town & on to Fisherman's Wharf which is the cheesy end of San Francisco's tourist market & then walk back via some of the many hills that make up the San Fran sky line
We finally got round to doing the walk the following day. It was Sunday which meant that the shops were shut when we arrived in China Town - but not being keen shoppers this didn't really matter & anyway we wandered off the main streets where we were soon the only non Chinese people around. Next, we entered North Beach which is the Italian district - full of Italian restaurants & pastry shops. Our favourite looking restaurant was 'The Stinking Rose' where each dish contained huge amounts of garlic, even the desserts!
On our final day we took one of the famous cable cars through the San Francisco fog to Fisherman's Wharf to hire a couple of bikes so that we could cycle over the Golden Gate bridge. By the time we reached the bridge the fog had completely cleared and we had fabulous views of the bridge and (as we cycled over it) across to Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline.
We cycled on to Sausalisto, which is a funky little place & we enjoyed two fabulous ice creams before carrying on to a place called Mill Park, a fabulous collection of HUGE houses set amongst giant redwoods - an amazing place to live! We carried on to Tiburon, the other side of the bay where we missed the ferry by 10 minutes and had to wait a couple of hours until the next one. Managed to find a cake shop though so stuffed our faces once again!
So overall we loved San Francisco. Despite all the looney-tunes, it has lots of character with beautiful houses & magnificent views whichever way you look. Definitely a city we could live in - but we'd have to have one of those big mansions on Pacific Heights with great views over the bay!