Sad to be leaving Mexico, but excited to be entering our final country (on the world tour), we boarded our flight from Cabo San Lucas to San Francisco. On arrival, the chilly spring air couldn’t shake our smiles, as we jumped in an uber en route to the Bay Area. Here we would be catching up with Bri and Noni, our US friends from Sydney, for five whole days to experience all the sights and sea lions!
Seeing friends in the flesh, at this point in the trip was an enormous thrill. Not only were we incredibly grateful to have been allowed to hijack their lounge room for five days. But also for their time, and their passion for all things food and drinks. Our timing could not have been more impeccable, with just a few days later the city going into complete lock down.
I know I’ve been joking about COVID-19 on the blog since Panama, little did we know things would get this heated since. I’ll avoid mentioning it again, because frankly, you’ve probably read too much about it already.
Let me blissfully take you away from it all and let you know about all the COOL stuff you can do in San Francisco. Other than visiting a tonne of Goodwill (thrift) stores, an REI and contacting a few people on craigslist (Gumtree equivalent) as we prepared for our cycle, this is what we got up to.
We saw an NBA game
Wanting to try going ‘full American’ we were very eager to experience live sports in the US. This was Moo’s first basketball experience, and my second (Knicks Vs Lakers, back in 2007). We loaded up on craft beers and Wisconsin cheese curds before walking to the Chase Stadium. Last minute bookings meant we were well and truly in the nosebleed section. You literally couldn’t get any higher. It really didn’t matter though, the atmosphere was what we came for, and boy did it impress.
We watched the San Francisco Warriors play the Toronto Raptors, cheering and booing with the rest of them as the score came close in the last quarter. Unfortunately the Warriors lost this one, but we at least got to see Steph Curry on the court. (Basketball neophytes may be lost here, let me help. He’s a big deal sportstar, with many accolades including two most valuable player titles with the Warriors.) I also need to mention the enormous jumbotron scoreboard, and while I often found myself preferring to watch the screen over the court, being there was simply put: awesome!
Land’s end lookout & Golden Gate park
Keen to see the bridge and get a dose of fresh air, we opted to walk about trendy Haight Ashbury for lunch before a walk through Golden Gate park. The park is just shy of five kilometers in length (making it juuust bigger than Central Park in NYC.) With plenty of attractions within, we were more than happy to wander throughout. I was particularly tickled to see so many eucalyptus trees. The refreshing smell wafting on the cool city breeze was just so delicious.
We were grateful to get a glimpse of the bridge from the park and again with Bri and Noni from the north side. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t let out a little yelp of glee when I first caught sight of it.
Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to visit to Alcatraz. There just wasn’t time (and also, fun to leave something for next time!). If you look closely in the picture below, it’s the island smack bang in the middle!
Also, call me crazy! But, I was far more impressed by the Oakland Bay bridge than I was by the Golden Gate (pictured below). For starters, it’s a double decker! How cool is that? It technically runs through an island to connect Oakland to the city. And, it’s one of the longest spanning bridges in the United States. So, maybe it’s not a suspension bridge, and maybe it’s not painted red, but it’s still pretty impressive if you ask me.
Sonoma wine region
A pinot noir lover myself, I was beyond eager to visit the region where this delectable grape thrives. We’d heard Napa Valley was a bit pricier and a little farther away, and so Sonoma was the perfect spot for a day trip. Sure, we had to pay for tastings, but after we bought a few bottles, those were soon waivered. We started out at Jacuzzi vineyards (the family that invented the hot tub! Can you believe it?) and ended up at Roche winery.
This could quite easily have been my favourite day in a long time. Before leaving the city, we’d loaded an eskie with fresh essentials from Trader Joes. Charcuterie meats, chocolate coated almonds, cheeses, crackers, fruit… you get the drift. We’d purchased a few bottles from biodynamic vineyard Benziger Family Winery and enjoyed an afternoon picnic lunch in the countryside. Simply perfect.
As famous as Pier 39 is, I was interested in seeing two things exclusively. One being the sea lions and the other being Bubba Shrimp. Both were a thrill to see. Whilst we didn’t stop for a bowl of chowder, Moo and Bri savoured on a street dog (hot dog from a cart) while Noni and I slurped on a speciality coffee at the ferry building.
Stopping by the house where Mrs Doubtfire was filmed, seeing the old school trams zoom up and down the hair raising, steep hills. Driving down the crooked Lombard street and trying our first ever deep dish pizza. A reconverted theatre turned into arcade game heaven, paired with white claw hard seltzer. Delicious thai food, crisp pastries from Jane the Bakery and honestly – the coffee in San Francisco – wow. I was seriously impressed.
On a serious note. We were pretty shocked about the state of homelessness in the city and were witness to some pretty tragic conditions whilst walking about the suburbs. I can imagine one becomes immune to it after some time, but we did find it a little disturbing.
Sadly, our time in SF was over before we knew it. I quickly want to give a huge shout out to Bri and Noni for having us, we honestly had such a great time with them both. I was sad knowing they wouldn’t be in Sydney waiting for us.
From here, we boarded our flight for the one and a half hour ride south to San Diego. Here we had just three days to source everything we needed for our cycle across country, including the bikes.
During these ‘uncertain’ times, we’re hopeful we can still complete the ride.
Until then xo