We landed in San Francisco giddy with excitement. Years in the planning, we are finally living our dream of slow travel. It was a long wait to collect our bags at Oakland Airport, everyone weary and tired after the long haul flight with no sleep. We caught the BART to the city. If it weren’t for Iain, I would have hailed a cab, that is when it dawned on me; we are now budget travellers, something I was often quick to forget as we continued our travels.
Our backpacks were so heavy. We heaved our weary selves from the BART station to our hotel. All looking forward to exploring the ‘boutique’ hotel we’d booked through Hotwire.com. The hotel was a bit of a dive and a little over our budget. Our room was dark and there was a constant puddle on the bathroom floor. Breakfast was served in the lobby in cardboard boxes to be taken to your room, with strictly only one boiled egg per person!
We dropped our bags, showered and ventured out. We took a cab to Chinatown to eat in the restaurant the wonderful President Obama had visited. Jet lag was hard on the girls, they were falling asleep before our chow meins arrived.
We all woke early the first morning, something we are not used to but it felt refreshing to get a head start on the day. Iain and I both managed to go for a run before the sun was up, checking out the streets of downtown.
On my run I passed a great coffee roaster a couple of blocks from where we were staying. We ventured there after our boxed breakfasts. The coffee was great, the vibe was cool but the prices were shocking, $5 for a plain croissant, I pay less in Switzerland! However our weakness for good fresh coffee brought us back the following day too.
We wandered through town, checking out the sights. The homelessness in San Francisco was astonishing and wide spread. However people seemed to have a great outlook on life, even those who seemed hopeless would say something funny or nice. We saw a lot of people helping other people. There were of course still a lot of people who just seemed down right nuts. I wasn’t sure if it was always genuine, were there really so many crazy people or was it sometimes a front, a way to distance themselves from a society they already feel excluded from. Our girls didn’t notice too much of the really wacky stuff, like the ranting lady changing her sanitary pad as she stood with us on the bus or the guy at the bus stop whirling his willy around for all to see.
We walked through town and along the waterfront to Fisherman’s Wharf where we hired bikes to cycle over the Golden Gate bridge. What a fantastic way to experience the city! It was sometimes hectic on the bridge as one side was closed for maintenance, it was a longer ride than I’d imagined but we thoroughly it. Cycling back towards the city we stopped several times to admire a pod of black whales playing in the water below us. The weather couldn’t dampen our mood.
Returning through Crissy Field we stopped again as a gaggle of migrating geese took flight, what a sight to see as they passed us and flew up and into the bay. I was amazed to see wildlife like this in a big city, but as we continued our travel across America we noticed glorious wildlife was everywhere we went.
After returning our bikes we enjoyed lunch in Fisherman’s wharf before going off in search of Lombard street. The girls were keen to find the Full House of the Tanner family and we indulged their dream if only to get them to continue walking, we did so much walking!
Eventually we ended up at Golden Gate park, we’d just missed the De Young Museum, but enjoyed wandering around the grounds until our feet could no longer carry us.
We jumped onto the wrong bus and went on a wild tiki tour of the Bay area before alighting in the Mission District as the sun was setting. If you scratch the grimy surface of Mission it’s a pretty cool area, unfortunately we were exhausted so headed straight to the best Mexican in Town. Iain queued for our tacos as Chloe and Gemma napped on my lap. Two male models sharing our table gushed over Holly’s model potential, I was loving San Francisco and wasn’t sure I was ready to leave the following day.