Dinging Our Way To The Haight(s)

Not enough sleep!!  Woke up feeling a little “groggy” – should have stayed in bed for another hour or so.  However, the very noisy garbage collector that comes through the streets at 7.00am is not drowned out by the ear plugs so we reluctantly eased out of bed and in to the shower.

Another yummy breakfast in the hotel before setting out for Union Square and some window shopping.

It was a bit cooler today as we walked through the streets but we were prepared today with our jackets and jeans – much smarter attire for the breezy Californian wind.

We found the Westfield (an Australian company) shopping mall and had a short walk around there before exploring the “underground”.  San Fran’ is not blessed with an extensive underground rail system however, when combined with the plethora of trams and tram buses (electric buses running off overhead power) the public transport is not bad.  It is call the MUNI (short for municipal) and we learnt (on Day 3!!) that you can buy quite a cheap day ticket and travel unlimited on the buses, trains etc… – wish we had of worked this out on Day 1.  However, the day fare concept is very poorly advertised (maybe they don’t want too many people knowing about it!).

After buying our tickets we went in search of the Apple Store.  Being Apple converts we searched like two groupies attending a concert.

This was our first intro’ to an Apple Store and what an experience!!  You have to hand it to Apple for making awesome products and giving you the opportunity to “geek out” and try them first hand.  We had some “play time” with the new iPODs, the iPhone and the ITouch.  We could have quite easily walked out with some new toys and some really neat software but….. we didn’t.  We restrained ourselves and kept moving in search of a place to have a coffee and a hot chocolate.  Roey needed to have a quick nap and recharge his body with some caffeine.  I am happy to report that the quick nap did the trick and I was good to go until 10.00pm!!

After waking up in the coffee shop we hit the street and headed for the “F-line” tram (trolley car).  We were in exploring mode again.

A short walk had us at the tram stop and, after a short wait, we boarded the old tram (one of many dedicated to the trams of yesteryear used in the US since the 1930’s.  They are very comfortable and they are a great way to take in the sights of the outer reaches of SF.
We got off at the end of the line – a place called Castro.  Castro is the “gay capital” of SF. They say that if you drop anything around here then you should kick it until you get to Oakland (the other side of SF bay).  Needless to say we didn’t stop here for too long (not much to see anyway).  We started ANOTHER uphill walk to a place called Haight Ashbury.  This suburb is….. well……. interesting.  It is a part of SF stuck in the hippy era and a place where all the misfits and alternative people hang out.  It is full of some very interesting (and not so “low end”) shops.  Some of the shops have the most bizarre paint schemes and even more bizarre window dressings.  A sight to see.

We stopped in HA for a quick bite to eat (learnt our lesson from the last two days – eating to late).  The meal was very nice but typically huge US servings. We need to remember to order for one and eat for two!!

After lunch we headed for the nearest bus stop (no more walking the streets of SF – they already have more than enough street people!!). We took the bus to the nearest tram stop then re-boarded the tram (the F-line) for the long trip around to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Again – a comfortable trip and a very pleasant way to see the remainder of the city and the beach front leading down to FW.

We went back to the wharf to see one of SF’s famous sites – the sea lion colony that has inhabited one of the marina’s docks.  At times there are over

1000 of these Californian sea lions (at different times) that inhabit these docks.  Most of them are males and they are very noisy!!  They bark continuously and never seem to be satisfied with the position that they have taken up.  Very funny to watch although a little noisy.

After our last visit to FW we worked out the bus route back to North Beach (little Italy). We went back to NB for a coffee and a little bite to eat.  This was our last dining experience in SF as we went back to the hotel after NB and “hit the sack” around 10.00pm.  The Princess was a little peckish before falling to sleep but I figured we had eaten enough food to sink an array of battleships so we fell asleep after eating a healthy apple and banana. Mmmmmmm….. pleasant dreams were had by us both.

End of Day 3 – off to Salt Lake City tomorrow.

A final word from the cute little bear that they sat on our bed in the hotel – “I left my heart in San Francisco”.  We also left quite a bit of our energy, some hard earned cash and a few dollars in the pockets of the 100’s of homeless people.  It is not all about holidays you know.

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