So today was my second proper day in San Francisco and the first time since I started that I had two consecutive days off. Itching to get back on the road partly because it is SO expensive here… but mainly because I miss the open road and have been told the next 400 miles of coast is amazing.
So what did I get up to on my day off… Well I thought I would try and cram as much in a possible and try and keep the cost down.
Firstly I caught the local underground East to Golden Gate Park and did a bit of exploring. My first port of call was the de Young museum. Art has never been a strong passion but I do enjoy a bit of sculpture. They also have a tower with amazing views of the park and San Francisco.
I then sauntered through the beautiful park to the Conservatory of Flowers, a Victorian style glass house. While I wanted to go in, I thought $8 was a little steep and I already had some luxuries planned for later.
I then walked back to the City passing through the old hippy part of town, Haight Ashbury. A very eclectic part of town but full of character and quirky little shops (and an equal measure of some rather extraordinary people…)
My next port of call was the aquatic park near Fishermans wharf. This is a bay where local folk go for a swim. As open water swimming is another passion of mine I had my heart set on taking a dip from the moment I arrived and bought some goggles when I first got here. One problem of travelling alone is that you don’t have anyone to watch your valuables when you go for a swim. Luckily I had done my research and had discovered that there were two local swimming clubs that allow visitors on alternate days. I was lucky that today was the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club. Now at $10 it is quite expensive but this gives you access for the full day and use of lockers, private beach, sauna etc. Once I had paid up John, who was looking after me, gave me a tour of the premise and told me about its long history. The club house is full of some of the most beautiful wooden rowing boats and a workshop where there work on restoring and building new boats. There are some pictures of these below.
After my quick swim I set off in search of lunch and stumbled over the In & Out burger restaurant. This is a lot like McDonalds and Burger King but I have been reliably informed that once shouldn’t be too embarrassed about having the odd burger there. And to be fair it was pretty darn good – so good that a bride and her wedding party popped in for a burger too.
Following lunch I made my way through the backstreets to Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower. This is situated at the north east of the city and is meant to give you great views of both the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. Once I had made my way up the hill I was put off taking the lift to the top of the tower – $8 seemed a lot for one elevator ride and I thought I had a cunning plan!
It had been recommended to me that a quick martini at the top of the Mark Hopkins hotel was a pleasant way to end the day. I meandered through the backstreets once again passing through the more colourful parts and Chinatown. When I finally arrived at the hotel and stepped out of the list I was told that long trousers we required by all customers and no matter how much protesting there wasn’t going to be an exception. A couple in the list advised me that the Sir Francis Hotel nearby had a pretty good view. I stomped along the pavement and arrived to be once again turned away… this time because it was only for guests at that time.
In the end I gave up the notion of an expensive drink and went on a mission to find my next running shoes. After trips to about 8 shops I finally settled on a pair and made my way back to the hostel for a quite beer and to start making preparations for tomorrows return to the road.