Spring Break Tour 7: Farewell Golden City

It’s the last day of my journey. I hike the north-east of the city this time. My way leads me from the Tenderloin to Japan Town, from there up the hills of Pacific Heights, down into Chinatown and the North Beach.

The last day of my trip has arrived. I am so pumped with positive energy and joy about what I have seen and experienced, that there is no time to be sad I have to return to Florida. The flight is at night, so I have the full day to spend in the city hiking around. I pack everything and start, today I hit the Tenderloin first, an areal of San Francisco right in the middle of the city, where lots of broken people hang out, yet tolerated by authorities – I decide to not take pictures here while I walk along Hyde Street. It is close to the Mission area where my exploration started yesterday. I have nothing special on my agenda today, just strolling around and see as much as possible of the rest of this awesome city.

From the Tenderloin I reach Japan Town first and continue to walk up the hills of Pacific Heights, another good area for pretty pricey living.

You have a great view from those hills, either to the bay, to Alcatraz or to the center of the city. It’s beautiful! I take some time in Alta Plaza Park, which is not overwhelming but still offers a great view onto Alcatraz. On the other side, towards the inner city, I can observe a big column of smoke, there has to be a big fire somewhere…

From Pacific Heights I walk along Broadway back towards downtown. I have no energy left to make it actually to shore of the bay, to the Marina Blvd, therefore I should have gotten up earlier.

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Soon I hit SFs typical China Town and I decide to get me some decent dinner over here, Peking duck with rice, to go. I quickly eat half of it in the Portsmouth Square Plaza but I really don’t like this area somehow, so I continue the Kearny Street towards the Telegraph Hill.

The Pioneer Park with the well known Coit Tower on top, which is closed due to refurbishment is my last destination. I eat my dinner while I watch the sun going down. It has been a sleepy day today, compared to yesterdays march. Still I made some miles, but the more beautiful areas of SF are surely to be found around Mission, Castro and Haight-Ashbury. At least I was in North Beach, the touristic area of SF, and it is beautiful after all, isn’t it. I return to Oakland and Carl brings me to the airport. If I am totally honest… I’d love to stay in California right away and not go back to Florida, at least for this moment – but on the other hand I am looking forward to see my people in Gainesville, too. It is a great state of the USA, so far the best I have ever experienced and it is worth reconsidering, if a comeback – for longer – would not be an option. Thanks Carl, thanks Californians for your hospitality and the great time! 

Sping Break Tour 7: Hiking San Francisco

Hiking SF is fun. Part 1 of this report is about the route from Mission, to the Mission Dolores Park, through Castro, to the Buena Vista Park, from there into Haight-Ashbury and to the Golden Gate Park. At the evening Carl joins the party and we attend the beach again and for dinner it is Steak Pizza this time. A great day, hiking this great city!

Carl has to work, he leaves early and I sleep a little longer. I need to recover, the last days have been tough. Just one true party night (Vollgas!) on Saturday, but the many miles from San Diego, via L.A. to Vegas and back, along Big Sur, Santa Cruz to San Francisco… All the impressions, the many hours riding the car, all the memories and the fun time spent with him and all the cool people I met along the way… All of that is pretty exhausting, yet very satisfying. It is already one of my best trips I made so far, hands down – maybe together with my Bahamas trip of the past and my last visit to Fehmarn… Now I am on my own, without a car, hiking the city. The way to the Metro which is called BART in SF is quite a bit and on my way I see Oakland. It is not as bad as everyone states, I don’t feel uncomfortable for a single second.

My route for today starts at the BART Station 16th St / Mission. And I explore the Mission district first of all.

I hop into the Dolores Park Cafe for breakfast – it’s already 2:30 p.m. but this still is my breakfast… 🙂 – Espresso for me, like always and a great tart. The Californians are really good in their business doing bakery, nothing to miss here compared with Europe! The barkeeper prepares a cool smoothie, fresh, with some fruits, some veggies and some ice cubes, without adding sugar, puts it all just in a mixer. I tell him “this is cool shit”, he pours me a drink on the house – just another “wtf, how awesome” experience here! Not just because of this experience – Dolores Park Cafe is worth going if you are around, they know what they do! And it’s right besides  Mission Dolores Park, my next aim.

I enjoy the sun and the mild breeze, while I watch the people in the park, the city and some hummingbirds, which flitter around the blossoms of the trees. They are tiny and cute, no chance to catch them on a picture! 

My way leads me into Castro, the gay and lesbian district with all its colorful houses. It is a beautiful district with theaters, fancy cafes and restaurant, and artsy shops. Certainly one of the better areas of San Francisco. On my way, Castro changes smoothly into the hipster district Haight-Ashbury, yet another central and good area of SF. I pass the Buena Vista Park on my way.

When I exit the park, I am in the middle of hipsters paradise. Haight-Ashbury was cool last night, it’s flashy today! All those colors, the cool shops, everything rises my mood, although I don’t have the feeling to be hipster, or is this kind of an indicator?

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It’s late afternoon, around 5:45 p.m. when I hit the Golden Gate Park kind of the “Central Park of San Francisco”, a most beautiful, stretched out piece of green in this over all very green city. It is so big that a baseball field, a polo field and even a golf course find their space…

I leave the park at a certain point because it is getting too dark. Haven’t heard from Carl yet, so I continue to walk towards Ocean Beach and the Great Hwy, along Fulton Street, later I change to Cabrillo Street since there is less traffic. The lighting I get to witness is stunning, no wonder this whole area was baptized “Golden”.

Close to the shore Carl gets me and since we are already there, we decide to go to Oceans Beach again. A good decision, today we witness a wonderful twilight!

And at Carl’s place we prepare some steak pizza (yummy!!!), my visitor’s present for him. Since we are both pretty done, the evening won’t last long as well.

I realize that I will have to leave the next day, so I want to be ready for it, since there is still plenty to see!