"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." -- Bill Bryson

Monday, January 10, 2011

San Francisco: Day 4

After a night of adventures, we get up and moving pretty late (noonish). But we head out for some even more serious adventuring. We walk from Rachel's place to a cute area of town for brunch at a place called The Crepevine.

I get a delectable "Castro" crepe with bananas, strawberries & Nutella in honor of our walk to the Castro area of town. The Castro is where Harvey Milk lived so it's a predominantly gay area of town (ie giant rainbow flags everywhere, gay rights posters all over, and a fully naked man wandering about). We stop for photos of the famous Castro Theater

A nice couple was taking a photo of their dog with the sign...

By this time it's getting late in the day and we have much bigger adventures ahead of us, so we head off towards the Haight-Ashbury area (a hipster area of town).

There are tons of cool shops, restaurants & boutiques all surrounded by some interesting architecture.

We don't really have time for shopping, but I do pop into the famous Amoeba Records for a quick peek.

We hit a park, swing a left and find Avenue Cyclery, the jumping off point for our biggest adventure. For $30 a day, Sarah and I rent bikes (Rachel brought hers). Our ultimate goal is to ride the Golden Gate Bridge. Away we head, in some direction that no one seems to be sure about. Not a huge fan of bikes in the first place, I am even less pleased when the chain on my bike falls off. The fact that we're also heading in an unknown direction sets the tone for the the day.

My hands after putting the chain back on...

We stop more than once to consult maps, ask for directions and retrace our steps. The hills also suck. Admittedly, the scenery is astoundingly beautiful. We ride through Golden Gate Park catching glimpses of the coast through the trees.

Finally, we reach the edge of the bridge. I'm pretty much done with biking by that time, so I lock mine up and head out on foot while Rachel and Sarah head off on their bikes. Bikes are required to cross on one side of the bridge and pedestrians must walk on the other, so I'm on my own. It's amazing from the pedestrian side. I get a view of Alcatraz and the city.

The bridge is amazing up close so of course I take a million photos. I don't walk the entire thing though because it's way further than you'd think plus the sun is setting and it's getting cold and I'm not trying to be standing on the bridge in the dark.

Here are some of the photos I snapped:

I head back to examine the gift shop while I wait for the ladies. Perfectly I find a knit SanFran cap to shield me from the cold night. It's dark by now and we sit at a table drinking burnt coffee while we examine the map. With a small idea of where we're going we head off into the darkness with me shouting "this is the stupidest thing I've ever done." Mildly lost, we are approached by a couple that's equally lost. All together we head out and luckily find our way back to the Fisherman's Wharf after winding through some sketchy and dark warehouses. We pick a random place to eat (that has oysters) and it turns out to be great. Best hush puppies I've ever had.

The pleasantness of the dinner is then followed by another 30 minute bike ride in which my chain falls off...again. We collapse in Rachel's room and decide that as it's our last night we should at least go have a beer somewhere. We head back to Kilowatt, but don't stay long due to the extreme exhaustion from the day. Back we head to bed.