Tag Archive for 'san francisco'

Premium economy

I somehow scored an upgrade to premium economy on my flight to San Francisco. Two seats on the side instead of three, and they lean back heaps further, the food is a bit better. Nice.

Unfortunately it was on the end of a days wait in Sydney airport, and I now have another five hours at SFO before leaving. Not so nice.

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San Francisco II

So today was a walking day. I wandered all around the middle and western parts of town. I saw the Cable Car museum, some nice parks, the bay bridge, and a tower on top of a hill.

The cable car system becomes more incredible the more one knows I think. The whole thing is driven from a single place with four big motors, one for each line. The cables then head off around their respective loops.

wheels

Walking through Chinatown is cool, there are tonnes of native locals. Started by the the initial gold rush days like Central Otago I guess (where you can be served icecream by a Chinese local who probably has New Zealand lineage longer than me). The heart of Chinatown is on Grant St, so someone wrote my name in concrete for me. Cool.

my street

I went past the lovely Yerba Buena gardens on my way out to the wharves. There is a MLK monument/sculpture which has lots of water and is very cool. There are also a bunch of his quotes, inspiring and powerful as ever.

yerba gardens waterfalls

I eventually made is out to the Bay Bridge, which is pretty impressive. I found a burger joint with outside seating and had a beer in the sun. Near the base of the bridge is a crazy large bow and arrow sculpture, known as “Cupids span.”

cupids span and bay bridge

The people who designed the walk along the bay were apparently extremely worried about creating a skateboard mecca, and put little metal things everywhere to stop them. At least some of them are turtles and octopi, which is pretty imaginative…

turtles stop skateboarders

I walked to the top of Telegraph hill, which has a big tower made with a donation from a colourful citizen. The view from there is not bad, though I was too lazy to wait in line for the elevator to the top. I wandered on home, stopping in Washington Square for an hour or so to just sit. People were picnicking, playing croquet, and throwing things back and forth on the grass.

On the whole a good day. I’m ready to leave since checking out a city is never quite the same by oneself…

Photos posted sooner or later.

San Francisco I

Arriving late last night after a terrible flight from Boston I found myself in San Francisco… getting to my accommodations proved easy, a monorail around the airport, then on the BART, and a cab the last bit to the Green Tortoise. I think I may be getting a little old for backpacking, or need to do it with a clean start, rather than a month of socialising before leaving somewhere else. From the window of the main communal area I can pretty much see Larry Flint‘s Hustler Club, and the City Lights bookstore, so plenty of variety…

First thing, it’s pretty much freezing here. I only took my hoodie and was cold all the time, especially out of the sun and on the ferry back. I’ve learned my lesson, just because it’s California doesn’t make it killer warm in the middle of winter.

I spent my fist day today on a bike checking out the Golden Gate bridge, and some areas on the other side. I got a bike for the whole day for $20, which felt pretty good to me, since I probably did 50kms. I cruised along the shore to the bridge, and across the other side. The highlight along the way was the Museum of Science. I didn’t go in, but around the outside is a huge dome flanked by a series of massive pillars. Beautiful and very impressive.

museum of science

Carrying on there were plenty of photo ops as the bridge drew closer, right under the south side of the bridge were surfers and bodyboarders, with a random wave being generated there. Nice to sit and watch…

surfers under the golden gate

Next came the chance to ride over the bridge, which apparently gets a lot of paint to keep it in its orangy red hue. There is a lot of infrastructure on the bridge to make it’s upkeep possible. On the other side there is a large hill which affords more nice views of the bridge, this time with the city in the background. San Francisco has a lot of hills… so the ride down was fun, if a little cold.

view of bridge and city

From there I continued on to Sausalito, where one can catch the ferry back to the city. Instead I carried on to Tiburon, another 8 miles on top of the 8 I had done. The total distance was some 20 miles or so. Sore arse for me. I had to go a bit faster to ensure I’d make the last ferry that would get me back before the bike place closed. Turned out I did, just. The ferry had a bunch of great views of the bridge, bay, and city. We also went past a really really big ship.

big boat and big bridge

Back at the hostel I sat and sorted my photos with some Chinese food. Very fast service at a place just around the corner, and I got a cuppa while I was waiting!

Thanks for a nice first day San Francisco, see you tomorrow. Photos will be uploaded later when I sort them out…