A week in San Francisco

Published: August 12th 2007
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A great place to stayA great place to stayA great place to stay

We loved our little apartment on Anzo Street. A real home away from home.
Tuesday 7th August
After a full day's travel we landed at San Francisco airport and found our way via a door to door shuttle to Richard and Jennifer's home in Richmond, San Francisco. They were surprised to see us so early and were very welcoming. Jennifer had cooked extra food as she correctly guessed we would be hungry on arrival. We certainly enjoyed the prawns, vegies and rice she had prepared.

Wednesday 8th August
After farewelling Richard and Jennifer who were making a 9 hour trek to their home in Las Vegas we unpacked and did some washing. After some map reading we decided to start by just orientating ourselves with a walk down the main street called Geary Street. The small food shops and restaurants held many tantalising treats and we look forward to trying some of them. At the local market we purchased a bagel and bananas as we felt peckish, then realised it was almost 12. We passed some dim sum restaurants, one being an all day dim sum. They had a few different menu items and we vowed to return.

We walked a few blocks before jumping on a bus. This took us almost to
Obligatory cable car rideObligatory cable car rideObligatory cable car ride

We would have travelled on this more than once but they are always so full and the wait seems like forever!
Union Square where we listened to a band play, visited lots of shops and purchased a city pass that gave us free access to public transport and many of the city sights. Next stop was DWS, a place recommended by Larni in Australia. Here we bought shoes and socks and Judy bought a handbag.

By this time we were getting tired and hungry so we headed back down Geary Street and found the all day dim sum. Yum!

Thursday 9th August
An earlieish start, we caught the bus to Union Square and got onto the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf. Here we took a ferry ride which took us under The bridge, and then on around Alcatraz Island. We weren't interested in going there as we did this on our last trip.

We had lunch of clam chowder in a bread loaf at the same place we had it last time (age can make you nostalgic sometimes!! ) and then went to the Aquarium of the Bay. This was similar to Aqwa we have at home, but to be honest, ours is much better with a greater variety of fish, more plantlife & coral, plus better
Union SquareUnion SquareUnion Square

A must visit square that's surrounded by expensive shops. We found a shoe shop nearby and hope they all fit in our bags.
set up displays.

As it was getting late we decided to go to Chinatown for dinner, where, after walking the streets for some time, we settled on a quiet restaurant in a side street. The prawns & walnuts was ok except we were surprised that the walnuts were cooked with sugar, and the other dish of some sort of beef, vegetables and pancakes was very tasty.

We got home at about 8.30 absolutely exhausted after being out for nearly 12 hours, and after a shower were very close to bed.

Friday 10th August
We did it! Got up early and walked/jogged the 3kms to the Golden Gate and then jogged all the way across. Just one of those silly challenges we set when we go somewhere. Wasn't too hard but there are 2 bodies who feel a little stiff this afternoon.

On our return to “home” (we love the apartment and the area) we stopped and bought some fruit - bananas at 49c/lb, cherries at $1.99/lb and apricots at 99c. ( for you youngsters just multiply the cost by 2.2 for the kg cost) These were had for breakfast together with a couple of pastries we
Golden Gate CruiseGolden Gate CruiseGolden Gate Cruise

We enjoyed a trip out on the bay in this boat. We went under the bridge and back around Alcatraz.
picked up at a turkish shop.(after our run we deserved them!! )

The afternoon was spent at the Exploratorium, a place similar to our Scitech except much bigger and with more exhibits. It was great. What made it even better was seeing all the schoolkids running around and knowing we wouldn't have to do that again!

A late snack was had at Fisherman's Wharf, small, because we are looking forward to a Vietnamese meal at a place Richard & Jennifer recommended.

Saturday 11th August
We spent some time washing our clothes and planning our itinerary before heading towards the Golden Gate Park, This is a huge park stretching from the ocean towards the centre of San Francisco. We walked for ages through widing badly marked tracks, saw some guys with their model speed baots racing on a lake and several family picnics before discovering they were renovating the bison park and the a few sad looking bison were crowded into a small enclosure.

A long walk found us back at the de Young Museum. This had many interesting exhibits but the one that caught Judy's imagination was the exhibition of clothes of a Nan Kempner, one
Tired but happyTired but happyTired but happy

Rags surveyed the bridge after his jog across and brisk walk back.
of the most renowned members of the Best-Dressed List's Hall of Fame. The gowns were absolutely gorgeous.

From here we walked through an outdoor art exhibition, across the Music Concourse and headed out towards the road. On the way we had a quick peek at the Botanical Garden but were put off spending too much time here as it's 55 acres and our legs are getting tired. Before hitting the road we also came across an antique paper show. Here we saw people going through on post cards, stock notes, currency, movie billboards and more ephemera.

After a long wait for the bus we sat and rested on the bus before waliking to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. What an amazing building. Our quick looks always seem to take longer than we think they will.

From here we headed toward Union Square (and our bus stop) but were waylaid by a festival about to finish and an Old Navy store that we had a browse in! That browse saw us with more clothing to fit in the the back pack!

Before we arrived home we stopped at a Russian deli to purchase some different
Jude before the jogJude before the jogJude before the jog

Learning a few facts about this colossal bridge.
types of food to take home so we didn't have to go out again as it was going on 8pm. Daylight saving does make for later nights.

Sunday, 12th August

Last night Rags read a sales catalogue for Circuit City and we'd looked up the closest so this is where we headed today as we were after some memory for a camera and considering a mini hard -drive to store our photos and video. It was great, everythings seemed so cheap compared to prices at home. Most of the the laptops had 160GB harddrives and 2 GB of memory for around the $US800 and ones like the one we'd just bought for Clinton could be had for just over $US 300. We found the SD memory card for $US40 and while looking around we also found a laptop backpack that was bigger and stronger than what we have been using as well as a Maxtor 160GB mini on clearance for $US73. At the chekout this was rung up at $US99 which apparently should have been the correct price but Judy showed the chap the $73 ticket. This was a mistake but they honoured the advertised price.

We did it!We did it!We did it!

We were still breathing hard here.
here we walked a few blocks to the Japan Centre Festival which was something Rags had also seen mentioned in the weekend paper. Lots of stalls adorned the streets- all with a Japanese theme Several of the food stalls were offering samples and as it was getting close to lunch time we purchased something from the food stalls, we sharing 2 plates, each from a different stall. At one we bought a plate of riblets and a plate of salad, at the other we bought chicken terriaki that consisted of 2 big pieces of boneless chicken breast, salad and rice. What a feast!

A bus from nearby took us to the BART (Bay area Rapid Transport or train) station where we caught a train to North Berkely to meet up with Bll and Barbara who we had met in Turkey on our previous trip in 2002. They met us at the station and we walked to “downtown” Berkely where we enjoyed a coffee with them. They didn't have much time but before they left us they gave us directions to the nearby university campus and a street that has Sunday markets.

The Berkely university campus is large
San Francisco Museum of Modern ArtSan Francisco Museum of Modern ArtSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art

It's called SFMOMA and we particulary enjoyed the photography of Martin Munkasci and the work of Matisse but neither of us are into the real modern art.
with many beautiful old buildings and mature trees. After an enjoyable stroll through here we came out into the hustle and bustle of the street sellers and a myriad of stalls selling jewelry, tie-died t-shirts, paintings and other crafts. The shops were open too and Judy can now understand how someone she kew came back from San Francisco with 20 new pairs of shoes.

It was here too that we came across a phone shop that sold triband phones that weren't locked to a provider. We'd asked at several others but hadn't been able to find one that sold these anywhere else. So now we have a new phone - with all the gizmos, as the saleman called them and no bigger than an ipod mini! Gizmos means mpeg player, camera, video player, video recorder, games etc. Of course we checked that it worked with our Telstra simm card before making the purchase. The only thing we didn't do, as we discovered later, was to have a lesson in how to use it!

There's something happening everywhere is SF and back at the train station people were dismantling stalls but a band was in fine form - African-Americans
Sad looking bisonSad looking bisonSad looking bison

We walked a long way in one of the largest urban parks in the world, the Golden Gate Park to see a few sad bison.
singing their own type of music with people dancing. Great to watch!

After a pre dinner drink back at home, a white from Napa Valley, we headed out to find somewhere to eat. Instead of a left on Geary we took a right and found several ethnic restaurants. One that was full except for one table (A good sign we think!) was the Kirin Restaurant between 25th and 26th on Geary. The clientele was predominately ethnic, another good sign, and we weren't disappointed. The menu was long and varied and it took us a while to decide! After we had ordered we were brought some complimentary seaweed and bean curd soup - delicious - and not a small serve either.
The waiter was pleasant and helped us make a choice. The vegetable dish was very appetising, with all Judy's favourites including broccoli, mushrooms and snow peas. The Mandarin beef was served with large slices of ginger. A fitting end to another busy day.

Monday 13th August
We slept badly last night as we couldn't relax knowing we had to be up early and downtown to be join up with a winery tour to the Napa Valley that we
Palace of Fine ArtsPalace of Fine ArtsPalace of Fine Arts

This distinctive monument was build for the 1915 Panama - Pacific Exposition
had boked a couple of days ago We left before 7am and were at the Hotel Nikko well before the appointed time. Judy made herself at home by sitting in the lobby and reading the novel she'd brought with her.

We were so tired as we headed out of SF that we dozed on the bus. Gordon, the driver talked non stop, like a recording, the whole time. By the time we reached the first winery, Kirkland, we were feeling more awake. Here they had a huge tasting room and George, proceeded to give us a lesson on tasting wines, teaching the group to swirl, test the colour and even how to really clink glasses. He was quite entertaining and knowledgeable about the wines.

Our next stop was Madonna Wines. Here we had a lesson about growing wines organically before being given some tastings. Californian wines are quite different to our local wines and appear thinner and less full bodied. Judy actually finds them easier to drink and less inclined to give her a hangover or even to make her feel tipsy like she would drinking Australian wines - not sure why this is?

After Madoona winery
Back to yesteryearBack to yesteryearBack to yesteryear

One could be forgiven for thinkng we'd gone back in time. Bananas for 49 cents? Hard to believe but we bought some.
we stopped in Sonoma for lunch. Not knowing what the lunch arrangements would be like we'd come prepared with our own picnic lunch. There was a lovely town square with picnic benches under mature spreading trees so we sat and enjoyed our sandwiches before setting off to explore the town. It was almost quaint with stores containing gifts and wares from many countries. We found one that was full of items all from Norway and another full of unique gifts from underdeveloped countries. We could have tasted more wine if we'd felt inclined as some wineries had their outlets here on the town square. Small frontages usually opened into excitng caverns full of interesting items to look at or in the case of one, “The Cheese factory”, lots of tastings of a variety of cheeses.
On the way home, Gordon stopped his incessant chattering thank goodness and rather than be taken to the terminal we got off the bus early in town and found our way to where we could catch a bus home.

The next hour or so was spent doing some washing, tidying and cleaning the apartment and packing our bags. After a shower we put the
Taste of new foodTaste of new foodTaste of new food

Judy thought they were savoury and put chili sauce on them but they were sweet. Pity we came late for this festival at the Yerba Bueno Gardens.
towels in the washing machine, leaving just one for our use tomorrow morning so that we could be ready for our transfer bus.

The Kirin was chosen again for dinner and once again they didn't disappoint! After a complimentary soup we tucked into delicious plate of very garlic clams, with chicken & vegetables , and rice. A carafe of house white complemented the food.


12th August 2007

San Francisco
Love the pics. and envy you the bananas. Saw them in the shop the other day over here for $9.95 per kilo, so they're still going up in price. One of the first things I noticed in your pics was that you are wearing warm clothes.Is it cold over there ? I Leave for the South West tomorrow as planned. Will try and keep up with your blog while away.Have added to my blog and hope to be able to keep it going from an Internet Cafe. Stay well and continue to enjoy yourselves ,love Mum. Ps: Why can't we read the comments ??
12th August 2007

Worn Out
Hi Judy and Rags I am worn out and hungry from reading your adventures :-) You really are making the most of each minute and deserving of the many tasty pleasures you are finding on your travels. Couldn't see any pics on your last post - ops, they have arrived. Keep on keeping on. Di
12th August 2007

San Fran!
Hey there How sad about the bottle of scotch. Love the look of the apartment. Im very excited that you found stuff in the DWS and I can see you did the top of Macy's visit! It looks cold in San Fran. Anyway I'll keep reading this, let me know if you get a new phone number. We are nearly settled on an itinerary so I'll send it through when we have it. L :-) x
13th August 2007

New Phone
Hi Larni, we bought a new phone today. It's been an effort finding someone who sold triband phones that were not locked to a provider so we have the same nummber. We will charge it overnight and it will be ok for tomorrow. However prefer if you email your itinerary as we'll then have a record of it on the computer. (and we don't incur expensive global roaming costs!) See you in Essex! Judy
13th August 2007

time constraints?
so with all that exercise and sightseeing when do you get time to write such detailed accounts? i would be worn out and just settle in with a good bottle of california red. we spent some time at the inn on union square.. a great little hotel on the square. s.f. is a truly lovely city.will you get to travel a little outside of it, say to the napa valley for the wine? when you get to mexico, if you are planning to see san miguel de allende or guadalajara, let me know as i have some contacts for you. one is even an aussie. buon viaje.. jim
13th August 2007

just read the comment by thelma on the price of bananas in perth...yikes!!! here in canada we pay the same as the san fran bananas but in canadian dollars. sometimes it's only 30 cents a pound. we are nowhere near a banana belt. why is perth so expensive for fruit that can be grown in australia? wait till you get to mexico. fruit there is almost a giveaway.
14th August 2007

Hi jim and Laurie We have been writing our accounts either late at night or as is the case now it will be at the airport tomorrow! We have a 3 and a half hour flght and then a 2 hour stopover in Dallas. This time we are going to remember to put in the charger too...

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