Oct 24, 2010

Vacationing in the city by the bay

San Francisco is quaint, scenic and complicated. Unlike most tourists, we did not drive and were not in one of those see-only-the-good-things tour buses. We took the MUNI bus out of Bernal Heights (the suburbs - where our apartment was located) to go everywhere else. Arriving from a more peaceful Austin, we had a bit of a culture shock in Day 1 when we got down a couple of bus-stops too early in Market Str and passed the Civic Ctr. On hindsight, bus-trips are always such an adventure. They were such an eye opener and we did have fun.

Walking the streets in SF seemed an endless task. what a work-out! We walked a recommended trail in a guide book aiming to reach Lombard Street (the most crooked street in America). On our way up a hill, we met a friendly local who told us that the hike is worth it. She told us of parrots perched on tree branches and that sweeping views of the city awaits. So we plodded along and indeed the views were amazing from every angle, finally reaching our destination. After dragging ourselves up and downhill, taking turns to hold on to the DSLR, finding our way around and having too much stimulation in a day, we were pooped and decided to head back to our apartment to wind down.


The next day, 23 Sep 10 was the hubz 32nd birthday. I started the day by preparing sandwiches with ham, salami, cheese and lettuce. I cut peaches eagerly and packed them in ziplocs. Again, we took the same bus out, strolled [s]Nob Hill and almost rolled down the steep streets towards the bay area(!). We walked another couple of hours looking for an  ideal spot to gobble down lunch. I always look forward to impromptu picnics each time we travel. The last one was by Lake Maggiore in Italy. This time we had our sandwiches & peaches at the bench on the right (last picture above) watching dogs n frisbees with the Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop!

I think we should consider ourselves lucky that it wasn't as cold and foggy as we had expected. They were experiencing what is known as the Indian Summer and weather was amazing (got a bit too hot though) with clear blue skies. The day ended with another couple of hours stroll towards the Golden Gate Bridge, back to where we started and then taking the tram back to Market Str to get home.

Home was as mentioned, in an apartment in Bernal Heights. I found it via VRBO and the pristine apartment way exceeded my expectations (being a clean freak, my expectations are really high). I also love the touch of whimsy in the bedroom and toilet because of the illustrations (top centre and centre right). Apartment was in the outskirts but easily accessible. There are bus services nearby going to Market Str, Castro, the Piers etc. So do consider if you're planning a trip to the city.

So! Dinner that day was pizza and wine. We decided to check out the pizza place just a couple of blocks away from our apartment. The pizza was truly to die for. SO juicy and we had difficulty containing the meat within the pizza slice. We had some wine as well to celebrate the hubz special day.

Day 3 (our last full day in SF) we decided to venture to the much heard about Fisherman's Wharf. Oh my god, that place is like super touristy and crowded. I wouldn't go there if I head to SF again. But it is a pretty place with carnival atmosphere. We bought some candy and went to The Left-Hand Store. Being a southpaw, I was elated to find left-hander scissors, potato peelers, pens etc. I had to control myself and left the shop with just 2 items. A mousepad and a mug that say: I may be left handed but I am always right.

We had fresh seafood for lunch at the Franciscan. My crab enchilladas and frozen custard ice-cream were to die for. The restaurant is surrounded by twenty-foot windows imparting unforgettable panoramic views of the San Francisco bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the city's enchanting skyline.

We missed Napa Valley as our schedule was packed. The tons of walking left us tired at the end of each day but we were glad to explore most of SF by foot as that way, you never fail to discover hidden stairways and explore new paths. We also missed out on the night life so till next time, I'll remember SF with this little poem we came across. Hopefully the next time we pop by, the trademark of this city ... the fog will be back!

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

~ Carl Sandburg

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