For this girl from drought stricken Melbourne, the last two days have been wet. Very, very wet. Melbourne has had a wet winter but nothing like this. It has rained and rained. Constantly. It is meant to fine up tomorrow. Guess when I'm flying out? :)
Yesterday I made the trek out to Berkeley to have a look (and shop) at Scrapbook Territory. I bought a few things but was generally restrained.
My first drenching came later as I was searching for the shop that sells climbing gear. I knew the street but hadn't written down the number. As I slogged along in the rain I discovered it was a pretty long street!
After a few worrying minutes of running late and thinking I might miss the boat, I headed out to Alcatraz for an evening tour. Queuing in the rain was at least drenching number three. The audio tour was interesting and the clanging of the doors opening and closing was quite chilling. But then the last boat back left without me.
Ok, it really wasn't as drastic as that. I should say the last scheduled boat and we were all left behind as it transported a medical emergency. Gloomy weather and being stuck on Alcatraz, even temporarily, really added to the atmosphere!
Today I remembered to bring my raincoat as I headed off to Fisherman's Wharf where I had some clam chowder and played in the penny arcade. I was amused watching the tourist photographing Lombardy St, apparently the windiest road in the world, as they stood in the middle of the street making cars go around them or hoped out to take photos of their car at the bottom. Crazy!
Pretending to be undaunted by the rain, I took the tram to the Castro then walked to Mission where I took a walk though Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco and which gave the city its name. The murals in nearby Balmy Alley were amazing but I barely stopped walking, taking photos while moving. My jeans were saturated to the knee by this stage.
At Timeless Treasures, an antique shop I heard about on a few different blogs, I bought a 'd' or two. Or 3. Couldn't help myself! And by the time I finished browsing and buying it had stopped raining. Thank goodness and finally!
At Macy's I bought a pair of jeans, wearing them out of the shop. It was so lovely to be wearing dry pants. The shop lady put my old jeans in a bag for me and was amazed at how damp they were - she actually double-bagged them to help keep my raincoat dry! I probably could have wrung them out at one stage.
There was a bit more shopping - at Old Navy, Gap and Ghiradelli chocolates - before I wandered through Chinatown to a well known restaurant with delicious food that I can't for the life of my think of at the moment. But the food was great!
I have an airport shuttle picking me up incredibly early tomorrow morning, so I'm signing off from San Francisco. And going to bed. Night.
I wish I was posting photos right now because I'm not feeling particularly...I can't think of the right word which is pretty much my point! :)
I was up at 6am this morning, waiting down on the doorstep at 6:20 to begin a day trip to Yosemite National Park. It was a LONG day - Yosemite is 4-5 hours drive from San Francisco - but the scenery really is pretty amazing. Although I wasn't fussed by the famous Sequoia trees, looking down the valley at Half Dome and El Captain is quite awe-inspiring.
Words don't do it justice which is why a photo would be particularly helpful here! (I'm using a borrowed Mac at the moment and I simply don't understand them enough to grab some photos off my camera without deleting/corrupting everything else.)
We did a couple of hikes today - just short ones - and I was reminded that the gentle downward slope on the way there never seems as gentle on the way back. Combined with all the hills of San Francisco, my calves are definitely feeling this trip!
I've been trying to find a segway into talking about yesterday, something about the public transport system and calves (I wonder why that wasn't working!) so...
I began yesterday by wandering down to Union Square and gazing around this consumerist paradise. Shop after shop, sign after sign. It all seemed so 3D!
For a change of pace I caught a cable car (couldn't come to San Francisco without doing that) before heading to the Golden Gate Bridge. I walked along it a little but really, to me a bridge is a bridge. I took a few photos (ok, a bunch) and was happy.
I spent some time in Golden Gate Park, walking, walking and walking because it is so massively huge! The Japanese Tea Garden really was lovely to explore though.
I ventured along Haight St, home of the hippy, before taking some snaps of the 'painted ladies' on Alamo Square. I'm really loving San Francisco architecture.
To finish off the day I caught a streetcar to the Castro where I had dinner at a real life diner. For the record - I have no idea of the technical difference between street cars and cable cars. They look different and run on different lines but anything else is beyond me!
That's it for now. Night.
As I arrived in the centre of San Francisco today it felt like I had stepped onto the set of a TV show! So many things that I had seen on screen for years - now I was experiencing it in real life.
I heard the accents. Random snatches of conversation that I overhead. Someone mentioning their portfolio, another the NFL. I felt like all my senses had been amped up a touch.
I saw a USPS truck and a police car - black and white and square with the bar of lights on top.
I smelt hot dogs.
So many little things are different here - like the pedestrian lights to cross the road. I'm used to a red and green man but here 'go' is indicated with white and red numbers count down the seconds until you need to be off the road. It all seems familiar in some way - but different to home.
Today I explored the Ferry Building and had a late lunch at Mijiti, overlooking the water. The only bad part - there were so many BIG creepy birds. It seems like the seagulls here are on steroids!
Later I climbed up and up and up the crazy steep roads and staircases to the Ciot Tower. I haven't been dazzled by the Golden Gate bridge yet - it was a little foggy so the colours didn't gleem - but the view of all those rolling hills is wonderful.
I did stop in at City Light Bookshop - famous for its Beatnik history although I'm not really sure what that is - but that was it for the day. The time change and long flight have done me in.
So with that I'll sign off. Night.
I'm about to head to the airport. As in the moment I log off here. My plane leaves in 3 hours. I'm nervous and excited. Yesterday afternoon leaving work it felt like a Friday afternoon - a really fantastic Friday afternoon with the weekend stretching endlessly.
I went home and dashed about like a mad thing, finishing the last bits and pieces before heading to my parents for dinner. I stayed here last night - great decision as I was pampered (breakfast in bed by Mum) and having everything ready the night before allowed me to relax. I had a chance to say an early morning goodbye to Dad before he headed off to work and now Mum is about to take me to the airport.
San Francisco - here I come!