Dienstag, 19. Juni 2012

June 19 - Lebach, San Francisco
My alarm clock rang at 4:15. After less than 4 hours of sleep I felt tired but I had to get up, put on my clothes, prepare my sandwich and pack the rest of my stuff. At 5:07 my father and I started our way to the airport in Frankfurt. Around Mainz we were stuck in a traffic jam for about 30 minutes caused by commuters but we arrived at the airport at 7:30. When we came out of the elevator we met Christoph and first thing we did was going to the wrapping station. I was carrying 3 bike bags and got them wrapped together to one piece. Then we had to check in Christoph's recumbent bike at the bulky baggage check in.
Christoph, his wrapped recumbent bike and me
He had decided to take his bike with him. For me this was to complicated and I had decided to rent or buy a bike in the US and sell it again.

I don't wanna confuse anyone but this Christoph I am now travelling with is not my partner. Christoph and I met at a gathering of the "Deutsche Studienstiftung" after graduating from school. From the people we met and got to know there Christoph and I remained the only ones who continued to meet once in a while. Because we studied at the same university and continued to meet we got friends. Now he lives in Nuernberg and I live in Bonn but we still see each other at least twice a year: once in Nürnberg and the other time in Bonn. Christoph is a fan of biking and he convinced me of riding a bike in the US (not for the whole time but at least for about 10 days). When we started our trip I was a little bit worried about this part but Christoph has been knowing me for a long time and therefore knows about my fitness and the maximum distance I am willing to ride:-)
It took us a long time to check in all our stuff and at 8:45 we finally passed the security control and said goodbye to my father. At 9:05 boarding started, at 9:45 the airbus started rolling to the runway and at 10:15 we took off (it was the Lufthansa flight LH 454, my 2nd flight in an A380). I had an aisle seat and between the window seat and my one no one else was seated so I had more space than usual. After about 11,5 hours we were landing in San Francisco (local time 12 p.m., time difference compared to Germany: -9 hours). After two meals, several movies and a pleasant take with the woman sitting in the window seat I was lucky when we finally arrived.

first picture in San Francisco

We had no problems with the immigration officer (in fact he made some jokes) and after picking up our baggage we spent some time at the airport to arrange the most important things:
1) storing Christoph's bike at the airport for a huge amount of money (at 13:10). (it confirmed my resolution in buying and selling a bike in the US),
2) buying something to drink,
3) unwrapping my bike bags,
4) buying a prepaid card for Christoph's mobile phone, valid for 30 days and having 9.60 USD on the card (67 minutes talking time),
5) and asking for maps and directions at the tourist information.

After checking the possible means of transport I decided to take the subway. It only cost us 8.10 USD per person and because our hotel was located close to the subway station we didn't need a bus for about 18 USD that would take us directly to our hotel. It was a little bit complicated to carry my backpack and all 3 bike bags to the subway station and from the station in San Francisco (=SA) to the hotel, but as already mentioned, it was only for a short distance. The ride on the subway took us 29 minutes (15:24 to 15:53) and we got off at Powell Station. From there I took care of our baggage and Christoph went looking for our hotel (Metropolitan Hotel: close to the Tenderloin district in SA that isn't the best area in town- as we found out later:-)). When he came back we carried our luggage to the hotel and checked in at about 16:15.
After unpacking we decided to walk a little bit through the city.

1) First stop was the Union Square

Dewey Monument at Union Square
me in front of Union Square

our first tram

2) We continued our walk to Chinatown

Gate to Chinatown (green tiles)
fancy and expensive stuff you can buy there
still in Chinatown

3) We had dinner at a famous Italian restaurant "Trattoria Contadina" and on the way there I was fascinated by the traffic signs:-) and the nice Victorian houses

if it is too steep cars have to park at 90 degrees

parking at 90 degrees and turning the wheels uphill
nice Victorian house

lots of famous baseball players have already eaten in that restaurant
 (I didn't know anyone, in fact I have no idea about baseball at all:-)
I ordered 2 bruschettas

and noodles
I ordered 2 bruschettas and noodles because I was really hungry but I could only finish up the bruschettas and ate some noodles (my stomach was still telling me that this amount was a way too much for breakfast (dinner time in the US is breakfast time in Germany)).

entrance of Trattoria Contadina

among the recommendations was one from the Michelin Guide!

We walked back to our hotel, Christoph took a shower and I tried to connect the PC with the internet.

My technical devices
This time I took my cell phone and Christoph's (my partner's) small laptop with me. In retrospect this was the best decision. My cellphone worked in the US and the small laptop was more convenient than the tablet I used in Japan and Korea. It was easier to blog and in the US every hostel, hotel, motel etc had wifi, so I could connect easily to the internet. The only disadvante of the small PC was that it was a little bit heavier than the tablet (but one can't have everything:-)

At 21:30 we went to bed.

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