A busy day – starting off with a trip to the City Lights Bookstore “City Lights is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.” After spending too much money on books, we went for brunch at a nearby Italian restaurant, where Gareth had steak and eggs… he had been looking forward to it all holiday!
We spent some time mooching around the area famous for the beatniks, looking at the art on the pavements and the walls, and looking at nearby Chinatown.
In the afternoon, we headed out towards South Bay and walked along the beach there, watching the surf and getting some amazing photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. There were loads of people out and about on the beach, including a few nudists who were also skinny dipping – very brave, it was too cold and windy for us! The views were amazing, and the beach was gorgeous – what more could you ask for!
We then headed over to Marine Drive on the other side of the bridge, and sat and watched the sailing and kite surfers for a while, soaking up the sunshine. This part of San Francisco is lovely, really beautiful, away from the crowds and the cars. We really liked this park over in Presidio… it reminded us of home. There were hot dog carts here – so very different to the ones in NY – proper meat, with a choice of different sausages, onions, nice bread… mmmm.
In the evening, after a brief stop back at the motel, we headed down to Market Street to watch the cable cars turn around and catch one down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We were in a rush, so we weren’t able to stay and watch, or catch one, due to the huge cues, and ended up walking down to the front. However, they looked pretty impressive, and hopefully we’ll catch one before we leave. They are still turned by hand!
We took a night time Segway tour of San Francisco – absolutely amazing. After a brief training session, we went down to Little Italy, Chinatown and the Embarcadero, on Segways. They took a little getting used to, but after a while were pretty easy to use and we were cruising down the hills of San Francisco with no problems… until we had to go up a curb. I ran into difficulty and fell off mine… doh! But still got back on and carried on unscathed! the guide was brilliant, she was really funny, had loads of interesting information about the history of the city, and also managed to steer us through the streets of San Francisco, up and down the hills, and in and out of the traffic without any of us getting knocked over by a car! We were cheered along as we went by many drunk people in the bars we passed…
We learnt about Chinatown – which has the biggest population of Chinese people outside of China, who speak Cantonese rather than Mandarin, which is unusual; we learnt about the Italians and the Bank of Italy which became the Bank of America; the Gold Rush, where thousands of people rushed to find gold that had already been found or wasn’t there; and the people who then sold tickets to the Chinese, telling them there was gold, to make money out of them. We learnt where the phrase Shanghai-ed (meaning kidnapped) came from – where men were kidnapped, spiked with opium and put on boats to Shanghai to work them as sailors – and how, these men were singled out as men who might have sailing experience because they ate with their elbows on the table – which is why mother’s told their sons not to eat with their elbows on the table…
After three hours of Segways, we headed back into North Beach and found a bar with 30+ beers on tap. We were far too tired to even attempt to try all of them, and after a particularly nice IPA, decided to head for home, via a cable car…
With a quick stop in at a Burger King for a very late but much needed dinner, it was off home, via a taxi (for the last little bit, no cable cars…) driven by a very chatty and friendly cab driver.
We got up late and drove over to the nearest Staples so Gareth could pick up a cable to charge the GoPro as the last one had got mislaid. After a soulless hour or so in an American mall, we headed back over to Fort Point on Marine Drive over in Presidio. We sat and watched some catamarans racing, an AC boat out and about touring the bay, and loads of yachts out for a jolly whilst enjoying some food – the sun was shining and it was bliss.
We then walked 4 miles along the front to Fishermans Wharf.
We had some world famous crab chowder and the best crab sandwich I have ever had, then walked back along the front. On the way, we met the infamous Bush-Man, a guy who hides behind bins disguised as a bush, and jumps out and scares people for entertainment. He is homeless, but claims to make $60,000 a year! I’ll post the video as soon as I am home 🙂
We were back just in time for Gareth to catch the Golden Gate Bridge at night.All in all, one of the best days of our trip – very chilled out.
Laura and Gareth xxx