Mittwoch, 20. Juni 2012

June 20 - San Francisco

We got up at around 7:30, I took a shower, packed my stuff for the day and then we had breakfast in a kind of diner around the corner. I had an omelet that was served with hash browns, white toast, avocado and salsa sauce and I was overwhelmed with the portion size: very big!!!

my breakfast
When I am travelling usually it's no problem for me to adjust my sleeping rhythm. The bigger problem I am suffering from is my stomach-adjustment: I am hungry in the middle of the night or when I have my meals my stomach is confused and tells me "why the hell are you eating in the middle of the night"...
(no wonder, I couldn't finish up my breakfast:-)
After breakfast we bought some drinks for the day and went to the closest tourist information. Then we decided to take the open top sightseeing tourist bus ticket for 2 days: one day cost 35 USD and 2 days were for 40 USD. So we could hop on and hop off at all main sights and got information about the sights as well (none of us was really prepared for the trip and had read any book about SA, so the bus was the best option for us).

We took the bus at 11:15 from Union Square (buses were running every 10 minutes til 6 p.m.) and our first stop where we got off was the City Hall. After being checked by a security guide we could enter and saw a wedding that took place "in the public"

before taking the bus at Union Square

City Hall and "Breathing Flower" by a Korean Artist

City Hall
Christoph in the foyer of the City Hall

cupola of the City Hall

me in the City Hall

a couple getting married in the City Hall
The next stop we got off was Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies. We were dropped off in a crossroad of the Painted Ladies and when we took out our map a 61-year old woman walking her dog stopped and asked if she could help us. She showed us the way and explained that a rich merchant had built these houses (Painted Ladies) for his 7 daughters. After a while she asked where we were from and when we answered "from Germany" she laughed and told us that originally she came from Trier. She had moved to SA in 1977 and still pays 700 USD rent for her apartment. The house she lives in cost her former landlord 53,000 USD and when he died his heir sold it for 1.5 m USD. She also told us that we could buy building land around the corner for 1.5m USD or building land with an old run-down house on it for 3m USD. After this nice chat we went to see the Alamo Square and the picturesque Painted Ladies

the apartment of the German woman from Trier

The Painted Ladies

Alamo Square Park, Painted Ladies and skyline of SA

I was there

From there we took the sightseeing bus again and our next hop off was at the Golden Gate Park. We went to the Japanese Tea Garden, had some snacks over there and walked around.
@Yuki: I could hardly believe it but I got Calpice in the cafe of the Japanese Garden (it was soooo delicious!:-)
De Young Museum in the Golden Gate Park
California Academy of Sciences in the Golden Gate Park
Katja and Christoph in the Japanese Tea Garden
Pagoda in the Japanese Tea Garden
in the Japanese Tea Garden
nice bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden
eating rice cake and drinking Calpice, yeah!!!!

Our second to last stop was the Golden Gate Bridge. I was fascinated by the view from the South Vista Point to the Bridge. The Bridge completely blended in the nature around it. We decided to walk the 1.7 miles across the Bridge and hop on on the bus at the North Vista Point again. It took us a little bit over an hour to get to the North side but the walk was really worth it.

Golden Gate Bridge from South Vista Point
Cable of the Bridge
Christoph and Katja in front of the Golden Gate Bridge
walking and biking path on the bridge
on of the huge towers of the bridge

view from the bridge to the city

one can find several emergency phones on the bridge
=> call, before you commit suicide

in the middle of the bridge
me on the bridge

view from the North Vista Point

Once again on the bus we didn't take a seat on the top of the bus because of the wind. Our next stop was supposed to be Lombard Street but somehow we took the wrong stop and so we got on the next bus again. Because of the time flying by that fast we planned to go to Lombard Street the following day and proceeded our tour to Fisherman's Wharf where we could enjoy the Sea Lions and where I bought postcards and some chocolate. Christoph was keen on a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt and so we went to the cafe, bought a t-shirt for him and had dinner over there.
Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf

Sea Lions at Pier 39

view from the Pier to the city

me at Pier 39
Christoph at the end of Pier 39


faked bagels in a souvenir shop

chocolate store at Pier 39 => I couldn't resist!:-)

I ordered a SMALL portion in the Hard Rock Cafe!!!!

Christoph struggeling with the burger:-)

After finishing up our dinner it was already too late to take the sightseeing bus back to downtown SA (operating hours between 9:00 and 18:00). So it was time to try the public transportation system. After waiting a while at a bus stop someone told us that there was a fire at Pier 29 and therefore most buses didn't run around that area anymore. Fortunately every bus station provided a free bus map and so we could manage to find a way back avoiding the Pier-area.

Riding a bus in SA
Riding a bus in SA is pretty cheap. You pay 2 USD (you need the exact fare) wherever you go and the bus driver gives you a ticket where the remaining time is shown. Within 90 minutes you can change the bus as often as you want and go as far as you want. After 90 minutes your journey has to be finished otherwise you have to buy a new ticket.

On the way back to our hotel a German woman from Koblenz, who had lived in SA for about 5 years, helped us by explaining us where to get off and change the bus to get to our hotel. She also mentioned that it would be best to be back in our hotel before dark.... It took us 45 minutes by bus to get back (21:45 to 22:30) and when we walked the last meters to our hotel I felt a little bit unsafe because of all the stories about the Tenderloin district and the warning of the German artist to be back at the hotel before dark.
In the end we arrived safely in our hotel and went to bed at 23:30.

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