The End of the Long and Winding Road

Published: March 12th 2011
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5th March 2011

Our penultimate day. What a glorious day for it, the sun was shining there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was pretty still and very warm for San Francisco.

We had a plan for the day, which was to go to the farmers market, and also to visit the “crookedest street” (Lombard Street) so after a complimentary breakfast at the hostel, which consisted of some toasted muffins for me and some bagels for Lou, we headed out into the sunny city.

I had thought we were going to go to the farmers market and come back via the cable car and Lombard but Lou had the opposite idea so that was what we did.

We were only a couple of blocks from the cable car (which is incidentally nothing like a real cable car, but is actually a tram. It is called a cable car as the power cable runs in the floor between the tracks as opposed to overhead like on the streetcars!) so we were there in no time.

The queue on this fine Saturday morning was pretty long but nobody cared as the sun was shining on
The Cable CarThe Cable CarThe Cable Car

bathed in morning sunlight
us. We were “entertained” if that is the right word by a random collection of SF’s beggars, hawkers and preachers whilst in the queue. Some trying to sell us the virtues of being a born again christian, one guy tap dancing to some music and a few vagrants just generally being odd. So all in all it wasn’t much different to most big cities in the world!

We got on our cable car after a goodly wait, and got a prime spot - Lou sat on a seat, with me riding the running board right in front of her. It may be an archaic form of transport which is now more a tourist attraction in its own right than many of the spots it passes, but it was a fun ride nonetheless. The is something about riding with the wind in your hair that is just more enjoyable than other modes of transport that are more enclosed.

We dutifully followed the tracks with the driver operating his levers to start and stop us at the lights and intersections, picking up passengers along the way and dropping a few also. Driver was alos somewhat the comedian stopping mid street to pick up his lunch/breakfast from the sandwich shop on the side of the route, asking “ anybody else order anything?” before proceeding. In fact he gave quite the commentary along the route.

We reached Lombard Street, made famous in many a film (although I can’t name any right now), and after a quick, stay on or get off chat we hopped off the car. I’m really glad we have seen it but it isn’t the most exciting landmark we have visited on our trip, it is however the last!

We took a few pictures, and walked down it, before heading to the wharf a few blocks down the hill.

From here we got a drink in a fast food place as they are so cheap and big, before getting the streetcar back towards the ferry building at the other end of the Embarcardo to the farmers market.

Jeremy had mentioned last night that we should get a Porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti food stall, so when we found it we got in the huge queue. Over an hour later we got to the front of the line, where we got the last two of these sandwiches and the last small portion of potatoes.

All I can say is we have had some good food on our trip but this is definitely up there near the top of the list - it was definitely worth the wait.

From here we headed back to the hostel for a lazy afternoon recharging the batteries prior to heading out for the last supper. The other purpose of our return was an attempt to check-in online for our final flight so we avoided any further traumas in that department. 17:50 arrived and past and there was still no way to check-in. We made a call, and nothing doing. The website had been down so we gave up and knew we had to wait until the morning to try again.

We were just heading out the door for dinner when Lou checked our mail and realised that the couple we had met in the Cook Islands were in town and coming to our place for the dinner (they were staying in the sister hostel) so we sent them a quick message and headed out the door, where we bumped into them on the step.

A quick caht and we arranged to meet them back in the hostel after we had our dinner. We hadn’t known what we were going to eat and after such an amazing and large lunch it was going to struggle to compete. We ended up heading around the corner to a Thai place.

The service was good, and quick and we were done in about half an hour, with Lou beaten by here Pad Thai, which meant my breakfast was organised, and me having finished the Thai ribs I had.

An evening of chatting with Laura and Ivor followed before retiring to bed. Lou did her packing but I left mine for the morning as we weren’t going to be in a rush.

6th March 2011: Our last day

Lou awoke really early and went down for breakfast leaving me sleeping. I woke while she was gone and commenced the final pack. Doing an admirable job of condensing two bags into one, and finally doing the zips up and the locks with plenty of time to spare.

So much time in fact that we could use the computers for a bit and do some blogging that we needed to catch up on. With this done we checked out and put the big bags in storage and I then left Lou in the hostel whilst I went into town to check out a couple of shops that I hadn’t yet managed to get in. All of this by not long after 10am which was so early on a Sunday that half the shops weren’t yet open.

I took my time in those that were until I could get in the ones I wanted and even managed to buy a last minute bargain. I headed back to the hostel to find Lou and then we met Ivor and Laura, and we all headed back into town. We said our goodbyes on the corner of union square and then returned to the shop I had made a purchase in as there were a couple of heavily reduced girly items I thought Lou may appreciate. After a few moments of indecision Lou eventually did buy the coat I had thought she may like and then we went for our last lunch.

A Mexican where Lou had a quesadilla and I had a burrito, which was so big I had to take over half of it with me.

A final hour lazing at the hostel before our booked shuttle to the airport arrived and picked us up. WE got to the terminal and to the check-in gate, where the Virgin lady in red, asked us to check-in using the kiosk, so we tried that and it wouldn’t let us….not another flight problem please!

We got put into a queue all on our own away from the masses checking in, only to be told to go back to the other queue. Then told to stay put…make your mind up someone!

Eventually I stood in one queue while Lou went in the other. I got served first but only just and we were finally checked-in after starting to fear that something horrible had happened at the last hurdle. Two seats together, with a window, no direct neighbour. We made it through security with no hiccups and I am now sat in the departure area writing this. Baring hiccups, that’s it. Its all over.

Thanks for joining us on our journey, we have had a great time, all that is left is a couple of round ups. Till next time…

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Remains of my lunchRemains of my lunch
Remains of my lunch

the rolled up remains of my buritto is what I couldn't eat!
A plane taxiing out to the runwayA plane taxiing out to the runway
A plane taxiing out to the runway

from our viewpoint in the departure lounge.

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