MEL ✈️ AKL ✈️ SFO
We departed from Melbourne to San Francisco, via a connecting flight in Auckland, New Zealand.
Thirteen hours later, we finally landed. After what felt like a long time, we were finally off the plane on solid ground, lining up for customs.
Eventually we cleared customs, and—once we got our bearings—we headed for downtown San Francisco using the BART.
As we drew away from the airport, we got our first view of San Francisco proper. It’s remarkable how different small details appeared—from the quality of the air and atmosphere, to the buildings and trees...
A little while later we arrived in downtown San Francisco. As we stepped out of the station, we were approached by a man who asked where we were headed—turns out a group of people carrying luggage makes you stick out a little.
We told him we were heading for Amsterdam Hostel, and he pulled out a map and drew us a route, cautioning us to avoid certain streets.
We thanked and tipped him (luckily Richard already had some US dollary-doos), and set off according to his instructions on the map.
We headed down Sutter street, and turned right onto Taylor street, where we finally approached Amsterdam hostel.
- 22 Jul
- Check in
- 25 Jul
- Check out
After a bit of a wait in reception (waiting becoming a key theme of travel), we made our way up to our room on the second floor, up a narrow wooden staircase...
After doing the essentially compulsive checking of Facebook on Hostel WiFi, we decided to venture our and walk around San Franscisco.
The first thing that was immediately apparent was how jarring it was walking and keeping an eye on cars which were driving on the other side of the road.
As we walked, we decided on our first goal; to get American SIM cards for cellular data and calls.
It was fast approaching dinner time, and we were really struggling with the paradox of choice. With the help of Google, we eventually headed for an Indian Restaurant, Little Delhi.
The food was excellent and the service top notch. However, when it came time to pay, things got a little awkward.
We still weren’t quite sure of the tip and tax situation, and we ended up separately paying tips separately, which we think resulted in paying them less overall. We felt particularly bad afterwards, given how attentive their service was...
After dinner, we stopped in at 7 Eleven on the way back to our Hostel for some American treats.
We returned to our hostel and turned in for the night.
The next morning, we set off north, towards Fishermans Wharf, interested in checking out some of the scenes from Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic, The Room.
And the touristy thing of taking plenty of photos...
We reached Fishermans Wharf, and took a wander round the local area...
At Butcher’s request, we took a detour to visit a location Google informed us was a filming location for The Room.
As we came upon the street, we should have been able to spot it a mile away...
Getting a bit hungry now, we circled the block back towards Fisherman’s Wharf, again feeling overloaded with choice about what to have for our first lunch in America...
When we spotted a beacon of garish red...
We stepped inside from the ground floor, amused by the option of taking an elevator up to the actual restaurant.
We decided to use the stairs, since we had the option.
We took a seat, and poured over the plentiful (and rather greasy) options...
Compare the before and after...
After walking our lunch off at Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum, we headed back towards the hostel to meet up with Jared—who had flown in to America on a later flight.
On the way back, we ascended a steep street to check out Lombard street.
We had provided Jared instructions while he was on Airport Wifi to get to downtown San Francisco and where to pick up a Cellular Sim.
Knowing he was on his way, we decided to meet him en route to the hostel. It was a jarring (and relieving) to see a familiar face in a foreign country, as Jared strolled up to us on Powell street.
After Jared had settled in at the hostel, we decided to head south towards the shopping district, and our very first GameStop.
What can I say? Shops are pretty similar everywhere. But this mall did have kind of cool circular escalators, and the GameStop did have a neat Bioshock display.
After a bit of city trekking, we decided to stop in somewhere for dinner.
We ended up at Café Mason, which did homely American cuisine—good garlic bread and gnocci.
The next morning, Jared, Butcher and I set off early to look for some throat lozenges for Jared, who was feeling a bit under the weather after the flight.
When we returned, we decided to head East and check out where we’d be headed for the greyhound coach the following day, to get to Los Angeles.
We walked East through the financial district.
After we scoped out the Greyhounds station, we headed North East and reached Cupid’s Span.
It’s probably impossible for tourists to not take several dozen photos and panoramas of it...
Afterwards, we headed north, back towards Fisherman’s Wharf, catching a Tram; incidentally named after Melbourne, Australia.
Back in Fisherman’s Wharf and now quite hungry, we decided to hit up Hard Rock Café.
Hard Rock Café
After our rather heavy lunch, we wandered around Fisherman’s Wharf.
Finally, it was time to hire some bikes and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Riding amongst the traffic in San Francisco near Fisherman’s Wharf was surprisingly easy.
Apparently San Francisco drivers were a bit more patient with tourists and cyclists than we’re accustomed to back in Perth.
We followed our nose...
After a short ride, the Golden Gate bridge loomed in to view...
Or, as much as it does when its shrouded in its characteristic fog.
We stopped and grouped up to admire the partially–fog–obscured view...
We then continued riding North, towards Sausalito. It was approaching sunset, and the ride to the Sausalito Ferry was very pleasant.
It looked like a quaint European town (or at least what I imagine one to look like). Unfortunately, we didn’t have any time to stop, as we had a ferry to catch, and some hire bikes to return...
On board the ferry, we perked up with some coffee and—in the case of Richard and I—White Russians.
The return home was a blur of exhaustion and stress to return the hire bikes in time...
Some time much later we emerged—stiff, sore, and feeling a little worse for wear—in search of some San Francisco pizza-y sustenance...
Piraat Pizzeria & Rotisserie
We returned to the hostel to eat, and then groggily went to bed.
The next morning we awoke, all a little exhausted from the previous day.
Before we knew it, our bags were packed, and we were checking out and walking to the Greyhound terminal...
After a short wait, we boarded the greyhound bus, headed for Los Angeles...