San Francisco, 2 October 2014, 10pm
As I kept saying to Fernando the whole evening: So, this is it. Two weeks of the best holiday I’ve ever had are over. Or at least nearly. Tonight is the last night away from our bed at home (something I really missed!) and it has been an amazing time! But there will be time on the plane to contemplate. For now I just wanna remember the last couple of days. It’s been so much fun!
Yesterday we got up quite early (after a night of choir snoring, constant phone ringing, some sleep talking and loud conversations from the room next door at 4am – Nando and I agree that we definitely prefer the Green Tortoise in Seattle … and I haven’t even mentioned the state of the bathrooms). Anyway, we were out of the door by 10 and decided to leave Wecousa where she was and walk the four and a half miles to Golden Gate Park. The weather was at its best behaviour (sunny and cloudless but not too hot) and the walk was good exercise for our car-adjusted legs. First we experienced Chinatown awakening around us. It’s a huge place! While in London Chinatown covers a few roads, here it is a massive part of the city. And it comes with everything you wish to see in Chinatown – dragons, lanterns, interesting architecture and the smell of greasy Chinese food in the evening.
Up a huge hill (Nob Hill, methinks) we went, passing countless interesting buildings, Grace Cathedral, the Cable Car going up and down, Japantown, an area called Fillmore that stroke us as the historical city centre of Jazz (???) and finally we hit Haight Ashbury. What fun! Think Camden but less commercial and far more crazy people on the street. So this was where Jim Morrison made his rounds. And you can see why. Psychedelic shops stand next to hippie cafes and the smell of pot lies thick in the air. We ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant (can’t remember the name but it was YUMMY!) and eventually went off to Golden Gate Park, where I was especially touched by the AIDS Memorial area. Lots of stones with names on them remind of the big AIDS epidemic since the 70s and it is a place where especially the nearby gay community in Castro goes to remember their lost friends and partners. It made me choke.
Then we visited the Japanese Tea Garden. Supercute! We had to pay an entrance fee of 8 dollars each but it was definitely worth it. A few more quarters made it into the Koi carp lakes. Let’s hope they’ll pay off. 😉 We caught the bus back to Castro, where we walked around a bit more and finally found a biker bar named Zeitgeist with a good selection of beer and a beergarden. The highlight of the day had been organised by our lovely Seattle friends, who’d booked us a table at a rather posh restaurant called Foreign Cinema on Mission Street for our birthdays. The food was full of flavour and the portions were tiny 😉 They show movies on the wall next to the tables the whole time (we had to pleasure to watch ‘Far Away’) and every table has a set of old car cinema speakers. Pretty cool idea! So, thank you to our sweet friends in Seattle. That was a great present! We made good use of your munnies 😉 haha
Afterwards we caught a late bus back to the hostel and had a slightly better night than the one before. Another stroll down Fisherman’s Wharf started us off today. This time we went the other direction, enjoying the blazing sunshine (trust me to get sunburned to a crisp on our last day) and saying a mental goodbye to this amazing city and its beautiful seafront. Afterwards we hopped on the Cable Car and went a whole round. Again, definitely worth the money (12 bucks for a return), just to have this special SF experience.
In the afternoon we took the car and drove to Berkeley on the other side of Oakland Bay Bridge (known for its progressive student movement in the 60s) – but not before we learned that gridlock in the USA means GRID LOCK. It took us two hours when the GPS lady (we call her Dazy because she does get dazed and confused) had calculated 30 minutes! Note to self: when people tell you to park the car and take the train in SF – do it!!! But it was so worth the drive. Our friend Emma showed us around Berkeley (hello, hippie heaven!) and we ended the day watching the sunset on Berkeley beach before we took to the hills and finished the day with an AMAZING night sky view of San Francisco – one of the best sights I’ve even seen!
So, this is it. Tomorrow morning we’ll be off to the airport to catch a plane back to Seattle where our return flight is waiting for us. I still can’t believe how exciting the last couple of weeks were! It will take me some time to take it all in. But, hold on, not before I haven’t visited the Sub Pop shop at SEATAC airport. One more little adventure to come! 🙂