If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there…
San Francisco and I have a love-hate relationship. I find this city fascinating, but always cold and beary windy! Here are some highlights.
Things I wish I knew before my first visit – public transport (trams in particular) is reliable and fast. It is also very well priced, around 2.50 USD for unlimited use for three hours. You can make it almost all the way across the central city and back whilst stopping for a long coffee break in between.
Getting to the city from the airport is easy if you are staying in mid or downtown as there is a good and reasonably fast connection on BART (local trains). Those lucky travellers staying in areas not covered by trains directly are better off catching a shuttle bus (around 17 dollars each way). Considering how hilly the city is, it is a very good option indeed!
The dodgiest part of the city is considered to be Tenderloin. One time I accidentally walked pretty much right into in it, and it did not look pretty. Even the pigeons looked a little… sad.
Food to try while you are there would have to be clam chowder and lobster. Quite rich and the bowl is difficult to eat (it is made from sour dough bread), but it tastes great, especially on a cold evening. Oh and the onion rings!
Speaking of bread bowls, they are usually made of chiabatta, a type of bread which requires a little bit more effort that other types of bread. A great place to see the process in the making is Boudin bakery by Pier 39.
Best known landmark – the mighty Golden Gate Bridge. It’s glorious. The views from the bridge are great, whether you choose to walk it or cycle across. Sausalito (a small town) is be on the other side.
Second best known landmark is Alcatraz. One of the greatest and well known prisons of all times. At one stage it was home to Al Capone and Arthur R. “Doc” Barker, James “Whitey” Bulger, and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (not sure who they are? ). Located in the San Francisco bay, Alcatraz is visible from the shore. However a short ferry ride to the island provides even nicer views of the bay and Golden gate bridge than the mainland. It really pays to get on an earlier ferry as it gets more and more crowded as the day goes on. It also pays to get your morning coffee anywhere else but the café by the terminal. Terrible coffee and beary expensive food.
The friendliest neighbourhood is Castro (in a gay-friendly sort of way). Nice Mexican food cafes and amazing coffee. For people not used to signs like this it is also a very interesting experience.
Dominating café chain is obviously Starbucks. No love for it… nope. Every single corner has its own shop. Just ridiculous. This cafe in Castro was, on the contrary, amazing.
The steepest street of the city is by The Russian hill. Walking up to the hill is a mission aka good workout for calves and bum. I wouldn’t like to drive down that spiral (you can’t go up the hill), but judging by the traffic a lot of people would!
Lovely view can be found at Coit Tower. We were a bit cheap to go up and just enjoyed the atmosphere from around it. Note to self – next time I’m there – please make sure you go back to the city the same way you get there. Taking a random ‘’shortcut’’ may or may not result in a detour and more hills.
Overrated neighbourhood is Chinatown. Yes, dozens of movies were filmed there, yet there wasn’t anything special.
An unexpected discovery was the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Incredible..
The most memorable part of the city is the amazing architecture. Villas, buildings in downtown SF, bridges.. I love you all!
Until next time…