Golden State’s City by the Bay

Well, yes, after almost three weeks we unfortunately needed to say Mahalo Hawaii (and hopefully see you again one day?). But instead of flying right away back to Germany, since a stopover in SFO was necessary anyway, we deciced to take the opportunity and spent three remarkably laid-back days in San Francisco. The City is such an agreeable mixture of decent multicultural townships (e.g. Chinatown or Little Italy) that we absolutely never felt foreign or alien there. Despite having so many famous tourist attractions of reknown, San Francisco still appears to be a great place for living. Okay, probably not directly at Lombard Street, the number one photo spot for Japanese visitors. But SF has many more beautiful avenues with nice houses and huge parks or green areas nearby…

We were soon to realize that indeed there are lots of steep hills as well, which thanks to the typical US street grid pattern you cannot avoid but have to climb straight ahead. The worldwide known cable cars surely would have been a picturesque and charming possibility to overcome those climbs. Yet we preferred discovering the city more freely and had a most enjoyable time during a long cycling day trip (bikes provided by Bicycle Rental San Francisco) under California’s warm late summer sun.

With our bikes we covered a very hilly tour with a lot of (un-)intended detours. Starting approximately from Oakland Bay Bridge, we rode through SF’s Financial District, appreciated the views over the whole town from Coit Tower, passed by historical buildings on Presidio, crossed the bay via impressing Golden Gate Bridge and continued all the way up to Sausalito – another surprisingly calm and lovely enclave with a considerable amount of people living on artistic houseboats!

From Sausalito we took a ferry back to downtown, whereas luckily no prisoner was left behind on Alcatraz Island. By the way, the triathlon event “Escape from Alcatraz” seems to be pretty cool ;-) We disembarked the ferry at The Embarcadero and walked along numerous piers and docks towards the Fisherman Wharf, perhaps the one and only tourist trap in San Francisco. But admittedly, the countless sea lions at Pier 39 really are a funny (and loud) attraction :-)

Finally, our last evening in California arrived and we just let it end on a typical American note: a few tasty bites at a burger restaurant and afterwards a couple of beers in rogue, wicked bars with live blues and jazz music. Notwithstanding, we desperately missed one cliché that we could hardly find while terminating our three weeks journey. There are absolutely no hippies living in The Golden State anymore.