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December 18th 2015
Published: December 19th 2015
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C: It was a relatively short drive down to SF from Bodega Bay and our first stop was the pretty town of Sausilito, just north of the bay on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. From here you can see straight across the bay to the city and after a little meander along the waterside we found lunch with a view, sitting outside in the sunshine eating pizza with SF and the Golden Gate in the background. Particularly nice in December! There was also a guy on the beach doing amazing balancing art with different sized stones and pieces of wood.

We then got to drive across the GG bridge and visited the park on the other side. It's a huge park, similar to Central Park in size and shape but the main thing we went to was their Japanese tea garden which was lovely and felt like we were back in Japan for an hour or so. Rog had a cup of his favourite roasted green tea overlooking the gardens. Next we drove down to the western edge of the city for more views of the bridge and a look at Ocean beach. Not warm enough for swimming though I might have been tempted were it not for Roger regaling me with stories about the number of sharks in the bay! Another reason not to try escaping from Alcatraz!

We were staying in an Airbnb here in the second bedroom of a shared flat (prices in SF were astronomical). The flat was in a great area - the Marina district (thanks James White for the tip) - but it was a typical lads' flat and not somewhere you wanted to linger a long time. I also felt a bit bad for the guy whose room we were in because he had to sleep on the sofa during our stay. He was very friendly, however, and we ended up watching the big CNN Republican primary debate with him on the second evening. The only two things on the news over here are the Republican primaries aka what crazy thing has Trump said today, and the war on terror which, of course, was the major topic of the the debate. People here really are majorly scared about Isis and it's not surprising with the amount of coverage it gets in the media, so much more than anything else including at least two other shootings that have happened since we got here. Anyway, it was interesting to watch the debate especially with an American who we think probably was a Republican although not a Trump fan. It was difficult to agree with any of them on anything though, more of a case of who was the least awful. Roger is looking forward to seeing what the 'special relationship' would be like if Trump and Jeremy Corbyn ever had to do business!

Both our days in SF were filled with glorious sunshine, no sign of the dreaded fog we had been warned about, and we headed out early to explore. We had to drop off the hire car on the first morning and in the car hire office we were very kindly given a city travel pass by an Italian couple who were just leaving. It had two days left so we got all our travel for free - hooray. This meant that we had lots of opportunity to hang off cable cars, great fun and less dangerous than it sounds as they only go about 5 miles an hour. The downtown of SF is much like any other big city but it's all the districts and residential areas that make it special. We visited the Castro on our second morning which was very interesting, I especially liked the rainbow crossing lines on the roads and we just generally enjoyed meandering through the streets and looking at the pretty houses, I think it feels quite European. We visited Chinatown too which was interesting but I did get dragged to quite a dodgy Chinese canteen for an enormous lunch. The food was tasty but the place was not great. We really liked the Fishermen's Wharf area and Pier 39 which is very kitsch but also has a colony of sea lions living on pontoons next to it. They make a lot of noise but are fun to watch. We went to the Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant here which is exactly what it sounds like and full of Forrest Gump paraphernalia. Our waiter even gave us a quiz about the film, I was better than Rog 😀. On our last afternoon we did a lovely walk from the marina along the waterside towards the GG bridge. It was clearly a popular dog walking spot as we saw hundreds of dogs including groups of them that were attached to just one dog walker, obviously a good market for dog walkers in this very smart area. Roger was especially pleased to see a lot of golden retrievers and chocolate labradors.

We also found a cute market food deli market by the Embarcadero, and stumbled across a free Christmas concert in one of the churches near the cathedral which made a good rest stop after exploring.

On our final morning Roger picked up the car and we headed south towards Monterey and Big Sur.

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