San Francisco

Last week we flew up north to San Francisco. Rasmus had meetings in the Bay Area during the week so I amused myself in the hotel and got the train up to San Francisco one day to see the Asian Art Museum, which had a fascinating exhibit on Bali. I felt a little like I was back in Anthropology 101 class at Uni, learning about funeral rituals and their meaning, about shadow puppets and cricket fighting and other cultural activities. I loved studying anthropology because I was always so curious to find out ”what are they doing and why are they doing it?” Call it natural nosiness. Either way, it was fun to relive it for an afternoon on my own in the city.

Two days later and Rasmus’ meetings were done and we headed in to the city. We’d rented a small garden room in a beautiful town house in the Haight belonging to two elderly gentlemen who had lived in the city since the end of the Second World War. I’d have loved to have a chance to sit down and ask them a thousand questions about how the city has changed in the last sixty plus years!

What we hadn’t anticipated was just how cold it would be. After lunch at a great Italian on Cole Street, we wandered through the Golden Gate park but only got as far as the Japanese Tea Garden before deciding that heading downtown to do some shopping for warm clothes was a far more attractive idea! Once I’d found a thick cardigan and Rasmus had a jacket we were much better equipped to explore the city.

We wandered through China Town and bought some flowering jasmine tea in a wee shop and then hiked our way to the top of Nob Hill, which, let me tell you, is quite the climb! Rasmus snapped two photos of me at the top – the ”I’m great!” face and the true ”Phew, I’m knackered” face…  The views from the top were almost fantastic but the clouds were so low that afternoon you couldn’t see too much. On our way back down the hill then we found an English style pub and stopped for a couple of drinks to warm up!

The following morning dawned cloudy again but with small patches of blue that gave us hope. We got out early and caught the bus all the way down to the Ferry Building for the morning farmer’s market. This was one thing that was top of my San Francisco to-do list, since all the coolest San Franciscan bloggers make regular morning trips here to buy armfuls of fresh vegetables and then cook extraordinary meals out of them. Unfortunately we didn’t have the kitchen or time for the great meals and I didn’t spot any famous bloggers, despite looking out for them, but we did enjoy wandering around and then got the most amazing rotisserie pork sandwich which we sat eating on the by-now-sunny waterfront overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge.

After our pork breakfast we walked the Embarcadero in the direction of Fisherman’s Wharf. Halfway there we spotted a very handsome tall ship tied up on the dock and went to explore. It turned out it was the Russian ship Pallada which was on a trip around the Pacific. The Russian sailors let us onboard to explore the ship and read the many posters about how great Yuri Gagarin was.

We made it to Pier 39 and spent a fun ten minutes sitting with our coffee watching the sea lions fight over board space and got our first view of the Golden Gate Bridge. After some Mexican food for lunch, we joined the long queue for the cable car, behind a British girl who could have won the world championship in complaining. The joy of having learnt my husband’s relatively uncommon mother tongue is that we can in turn complain about how complaining our neighbours are without them having any idea… 😉

By some amazing stroke of luck, we managed to get the best spots on the cable car – I had a seat on the side right at the front facing out, and Rasmus stood hanging on to the rail in front of me making me not a wee bit nervous for him. The queue might have been long but the ride was worth the wait. Did you know the cable cars are the only moving national monument in the country? The hills it rides up and down were so steep and the views were incredible. At each junction it would pause to let a few more people squeeze on, then ring the bell, pull the brake and off we went again.

In the evening we headed back to the Haight and got some noodles at a small restaurant there, surrounded by old hippies, young (high) travellers and trendy students…

We got up early again on Sunday (we don’t let ourselves rest on holidays – there’s things to be seen and explored!) and headed to the airport to pick up our hire car… but more on that fun story tomorrow 🙂