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Published: July 30th 2010
The day started with a major dilemma: where to go? Some of the things that had sounded like full day excursions from the guide books have ended up being 1-2 hour long or in some cases not even worth a visit. We haven't really 'done' San Francisco because there's still plenty to do and see. I am still enjoying the changing perspective of looking down each street and seeing a new collection of three+ storey houses in various colours marching up or down hills. Occasionally a church spire or skyscraper will provide a vivid backdrop. So after dropping off the hire car this morning down at Fisherman's Wharf, we had options open as to where to go next.
The Cable Car Museum and a look at the crooked part of Lombard Street seemed reasonable, so we caught the Powell-Hyde cable car (don't try later in the day as there are long lines at each tourist end) to the Cable Car Museum. The was pretty cool, seeing the big wheels and motors pulling the cables. A downstairs viewing window showed the wheels that changed the angle of the rope. After a short look around the free exhibits, Joseph got a penny
squashed and stamped in a little machine that you find around the place. A few blocks walk to the east, we caught line 30 to Lombard street, where we had a quick look at the street. I didn't bother photographing it because I'd just bought a souvenir photo set, and anyway it was a cloudy morning and no good for photos.
From there we joined Colombus Street at the north end of the Italian section, complete with restaurants with names like "Roma" and "Colloseo". The lamp posts even have the italian colours painted on them. At Washington Square, the boys had playground, while I had a look inside the Church of St Peter and Paul. It had a small marble replica of Michelangelo's La Pieta, which was pretty cool. The stained glass windows and architecture were really nice too.
A stop at a lolly shop was intended to keep the boys settled, but Joseph gets through his giant lollipops too quickly, and Liam just stops sucking his so that plan didn't work too well. It did keep them quiet for a few blocks though, time for us to find a colourful little Italian restaurant called The Stinking Rose
(named for garlic), and a moment of inspiration made me book a table for tonight. That part of 'Little Italy' joins onto Chinatown, so we then walked down a few blocks before catching bus 1 to Japantown.
Japantown was a lot smaller and sparser than Chinatown, and we didn't stay long. Then we opted to split up, Ky and Liam to go back to the hotel and Joseph and I to hire the bikes and do the Golden Gate Bridge bike ride.
So while Ky and Liam were filling in time around by the hotel, Joseph and I rented bikes and cycled off against the chill wind around the foreshore. A couple of steep hills on the way to the bridge meant it wasn't all plain sailing, and the head wind meant jackets. Some kids were braving both the gusty wind and chill out in the marina, yachting on little boats. At other places there were families out for a stroll, lots of other people on rental bikes going forwards and backwards, and people fishing off the wharves. You'd almost think it was a summer's day 😞.
The ride across the bridge was ok. Lots of people
both walking a riding each way meant quiet a few stops and negotiating obstacles, with the chill wind blowing stronger and fog dragging across the top of the bridge columns. Thankfully once you're past halfway it is downhill, and on the other side we were finally out of the wind and in the sun. The next leg was warm and relaxing, down a few windy roads into the town of Sausalito to catch the ferry. Long story short, we finally made it back, dropped off the bikes and caught the bus back to the hotel. We left for the bike hire place around 2:15 and got back at 5:30, so a fairly long afternoon!
Back at the hotel Joseph showered and put on his new Chinese silk shirt, in black with blue embroidery of dragons that really set off his eyes. Ky wasn't brave enough to wear her new dress because of the cold, but she did pop it on later to show me.
The Stinking Rosen is really cool. Large ropes of garlic festoon the ceiling, colourful murals and pictures cover the walls, and the smell of garlic permeates the air. Joseph ordered a margherita pizza, senza
garlic (from the mexican waiter), and I thought we might be thrown out for refusing their signature herb, but seems its ok. Liam had a dish of plain spaghetti, I had a fantastic chicken and asparagus fettucine, and Ky had an even better fillet mignon pizza. The fizzy drinks were giants: bigger than my pint of Stella (no, I didn't ask for a Stella glass Lynnette!).
After dinner we walked up a block to "El Greco", to have a great coffee, Tiramisu and dark chocolate gelato. The gelato did something to Liam, because afterwards he felt the urge to do a little dance around the lamp post outside. Oh, and here's for a global influence: Aussies and Kiwis having dessert in an Italian cafe named The Greek, served by Mexicans.
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