Published: April 8th 2012April 6th 2012
We were up at 7am, after about 10 hours sleep. Felt so good!!! We had our free donut and went for a walk...the walk ended up being a 7 mile wander from Market Street, all the way from one end of Haight to the other, and on to Golden Gate Park. I love the architecture in San Fran - every house is unique and really interesting.
We stopped in Whole Foods to buy some food for a picnic in Golden Gate Park and emerged with plastic cheese, tomatoes, baguette, crisps and bananas for $14 - Whole Foods prices, but not Whole Foods quality as far as I was concerned.
The hills are tiring (but not for the 80 year old man who ran past me as I stopped to rest).
Golden Gate Park is huge and separated by lots of roads. We wanted to take mum to the Japanese Tea gardens, which Zoe and I had loved when we visitied 6 years ago. After another hour or so, we found the Gardens, but found that they charge to enter now. It was $7 each, but they are really pretty. I would say they are worth the trek and cost.
We headed back out of the Japanese Gardens and found an outdoor theatre/staging area where we sat to eat our food and read for a while. I felt like I was in an advert, promoting the 'American Dream', as a dad and his three kids played ball together, with mum watching on, cheering from the sidelines.) They all gathered together for a family photo and appeared to be the perfect family. Behind them were two people playing patriotic songs on their trumpets and a group of kids were skateboarding in their low slung jeans and caps.
Aftr lunch, we walked back to our hotel to freshen up and then went to get the cable car to North Beach, to see Coit Tower. and Lombard Street. The queues for the trams are huge all the time - a one way ticket is $6, so the city must be raking money in.
San Fran both scares me and amazes me. I feel unomfortable, as thre is a serious problem with homeless people. I thought there were a lot 6 years ago but there are communities of them now and some of them are quite aggressive when approaching you for money. It is sad, as they are going to push more and more tourists away from San Fran, as the problem is so widespread.
During our wait for the tram, a homeless guy entertianed the crowd with his one man band act. I gae him some change, as at least he is making an effort to make some money, rather than sitting on a street corner with a cardboard sign, expecting money for nothing.
It seems that everyone is an extrovert in San Fran. There are performers on every street corner/buskers/magicians...it is a creative place.
We finally got to the front of the line for the cable car, when mum suddenly pushed through the crowd aheadd and jumped on th cable car. We had n idea what she was doing, but before we had a chance to follow her, the cable cr pulled away. We tried to run after it, but it was going quite fast, Mum's face was a picture of fear - she had no idea where she was going and neitehr did we!
Luckily, she got off at the next stop and we managed to catch up with her.
We abandoned our plabn tto go to North beach and instead headed to Louie's Diner for dinner (where zoe and I had been on our previous trip). It is a cool 50's style diner, complete with Cadillac and jukeboxes on each table.
The food is so different to back home - I only really noticed last year when living in Dener and going to the supermarket regularly. Sorry USA, but I much prefer English food, (with the exception of sushi and soft boiled eggs...)
During dinner, we learnt that mum had never had Ben & Jerry's ice cream before, so we went on a mission to find some for her. In a city where Ben & Jerry's are as common as Starbucks, we couldnt find one anywhere. We accidntally walked into the Tenderloin area and got upset when seeing a line of about 30 homeless people injecting and drinking. One lady approached us and followed us down the street asking for change. Again, we felt unsafe and almost ran back towards our hotel.
it appears that Westfield has reached the States, and as there is one near our hotel, we stopped in to have a look. It is similar to ours back home, with a range of food options, shops and bars.
After a cup of coffee, we headed back for our second early night.