Tuesday, 9 June 2009

California - day two

Plagued by crazy jet lag, we woke up on Easter Sunday at about 5.30 in the morning totally and utterly wide awake. My lovely sister had given me an Easter gift bag to pack in my case - we opened it up to find: two little tubes of Cadburys mini eggs (yum), a cd of The Beach Boys to play in the rental car and a card version of Monopoly! What a lovely sister I have. Feasting on a pre breakfast of two mini eggs each we dug out the guide book and planned our day.

Forty five minutes later we deemed it just about okay to get up and out. Our fist stop was to be Dottie's True Blue Cafe as it had been recommended as a top breakfast eatery and it was only a few blocks over from the hotel. It was pretty quiet on the streets but as we neared Dottie's it was clear that we were entering a bit of a dodgy neighbourhood and I have to say, although quite travel hardy we did both start to feel a little threatened by some of the people, a couple of whom started to follow us... eek. We found Dotties but blimey! there was already a queue outside. This was our one and only day in SF and we didn't want to spend it in a queue however lovely the food so we decided to forgo breakfast and get walking. We walked for about an hour and it was lovely - up hills and down hills passing by beautiful colourful buildings as we meandered our way down to the sea front.
We hit Washington Square to find a beautiful green space filled with people doing their morning Tai Chi exercise. We stopped and observed them for a little while envying their amazing composure and aura of calm and the bells of St Peter and Paul church started to chime for the morning Easter Service.
Not lingering too long we climbed Telegraph Hill to the top of Coit Tower and beautiful views of San Francisco.

Our next stop was pier 33 where we grabbed a bite to eat before lining up for the boat to Alcatraz. In the queue amazingly we bumped into one of N's friends from London! We all sat on the boat together catching up as we crossed the sparkling sea to Alcatraz. 
What can I say about Alcatraz? It was fascinatingly beautiful and yet dark and ugly. The escape stories were fascinating and yet chilling. The audio tour was highly evocative and really gave you a sense of what it must have been like. We listened rapt to the escape stories and at certain points were almost gunning for the fleeing prisoners (but then remembered that these were some of the most dangerous criminals of their day!)  This is the outside of Alcatraz - look how pretty it is:

The beautiful view of SF from The Rock:

Back on the mainland, and feeling a mite peckish we took a taxi over to the other side of SF to Louis Diner at Point Lobos. An unassuming little diner, this place was a gem. Perched overlooking the Pacific with windows all around it has spectacular views and delicious toasted sandwiches. yum. We took a postprandial stroll down towards the huge Ocean Beach, nestled our toes in California Sand and indulged in a little bit of people watching. Next we walked the length of Golden Gate Park where loads of people had gathered for Easter Barbeques and teas.

We also espied bison and visited the Japanese tea garden before walking out of the other end of the park, along the Panhandle to Alamo Square. Sitting on the hill in Alamo Square, drink in hand, surrounded by beautiful wooden 'gingerbread' houses we admitted defeat. Our feet and jet-lagged bodies would take us no further. Ah the relief of finding a taxi! Ah the relief of sitting down! Ah the relief of a lovely shower! And then we were in a taxi again and on our way down to the waterfront to Green's restaurant - a bit of a sacrifice for N as it is a vegetarian place. But oh my goodness absolutely delicious food. And what a view we had from our table!

1 comment:

Pink Peony said...

Sounds like you had a good time. Love SF :)