A quick flight up California took us to San Fran where we are staying at the Green Tortoise hostel. A place where we received an email ahead of our visit, warning us it was a noisy, lively establishment suited more for young’ens than couples.
It couldn’t have been the furter from the truth though. We arrived and were introduced to the common room, a huge place with a kitchen, tables and music for you to play (no Oasis though – under any circumstances).
Here they would serve our daily (free!) breakfast and three-times weekly (free!) dinner, the first one being that night. The hostel is located in the Broadway / Columbus area just north of Chinatown in the heart of strip club row, which gave me a slightly uneasy feeling on first impression, but now at the end of our stay here I can say San Fran feels, safe, open and hip.
It was lunchtime and as Kelly and I always joke we only focus on the next meal. We wandered around the corner to an Italian and ordered a Broccoli Pizza declaring:
Congratulations San Francisco you’ve ruined pizza
That night after the free vegetarian burritos and a few conversations with the residents, we headed out for the hostel organised pub crawl. This consisted of 3/4 bars and 6 games of rock-paper-scissors against other ransoms in the group. We made friends with a newly engaged couple from Belfast who love San Fran, a Ukrainian and a Russian (no handbags) and a few San Franciscans who love to complain about the weather albeit sunny and pleasant. Apparently the fog and the bad weather are-a-comin’ anytime now so don’t get your hopes up!
Day two my plan was to wander to Coit tower and then down to the ferry port market. We went to Coit tower and took in the amazing view, listening to the lift lady witter on about the priceless painted walls and priceless people (TM) a few times.
We then caught the bus to Pier 39, which actually proved longer than walking and took us back to Washington Square and round the (nice looking) houses.
Pier 39 is a cool place with singing seal ions, squawking seagulls and Twittering tourists all vying to make the most noise.
We took in a 7D show where we shot zombies on a 3D screen, in moving chairs (don’t make me list the 7 dimensions – I’m not sure), then we hit up a wine bar for a selection of 3 Californian reds and 3 whites. Delicious to the last, especially when accompanied by a local clam chowder in a bread roll bowl, which I ate too. Yums.
By this point we’d missed the chance to head to the ferry port market, but it didn’t matter, we were slightly drunk and full. Obviously based on that we decided to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge.
It’s lots of fun riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, but renting is deceptively expensive at $45 for 3 hours. The ride along the marina past all the million dollar yachts, gives some glorious views of the bay and Alcatraz. There’s a small hill which I attacked, and Kelly walked up providing me with some amusing photos.
Then the cycle over the bridge is great. There are two lanes of traffic where some signs say stay to the left and some say stay on your right, but at least both are heading in the same direction depending on what side of the bridge you’re on. I used my (cheap fake) GoPro to film a stunning ride (safely of course), and take in the sweeping view.
It’s the most famous bridge in the world don’t you know. Debate that amongst yourselves, we did.
On the other side we hit Sausalito a little town with a ferry back to San Fran and a few nice bayside establishments. While we waited for the ferry, and before some bickering over whether to stay for another drink or get the early ferry home (guess who wanted the drink), we had another glass of Californian red.
Once back in the docks we headed to Toni’s pizza in Washington Square and chatted to a few locals in the queue about proposition F to stop Airbnb from operating in the city. Once inside after a long queue we had a stout based (stout!) pizza, which was so flavourful and matched only by the sumptuous red we ordered with it.
Back home to rest our weary legs, tomorrow isn’t a day off. We’re being sent to al-ca-traaaaaz (said in Eddie Izzard’s voice).