115 days away
6 km / 4 miles since last post
49,624 km / 30,835 miles total
We haven't written a blog entry for a few days, as there hasn't been too much to write about. We stayed at the Castle Inn for three nights, and didn't do too much here. We wanted to take a couple of days rest anyway, so the first couple of days we did little more than eat and sleep. This was great, although the cabin fever soon started to creep in.
We checked out of the Castle Inn on Saturday. We wanted to extend our stay here, as the place was the cheapest place around that had good reviews online. However, they were fully booked. So we ended up booking three nights at the Inn On Broadway - luckily just over the road.
The Inn On Broadway, whilst more or less the same price as The Castle Inn, is ok but doesn't seem quite as nice. While we were in reception checking into our room, there was a guy and girl there also having a bit of an argument with the girl working there, as it seemed they wanted a room only for a few hours and didn't want to pay the standard overnight fee. I'll leave that for the reader to make of what they will...
We are located on the ground floor, and our door opens right out onto the car park. Also, we are closer to the main road so you can hear the traffic a bit more here than in the last place. It seems a bit colder in our room here too but thankfully we have a good heater which makes it nice and toasty.
Our main objective now we are on the mainland is to find a motorhome, so we can begin our road trip across the US and Canada. We have looked into the price of a rental, but for the length of time we need it I think it is going to be far too expensive. Therefore, we are probably going to have to buy one. We spent most of our first day in our new hotel looking online for motorhomes for sale, and have come up with an initial list of ones we would like to have a proper look at. Stu sent some emails to the owners of some motorhomes for sale, and we are slowly building up some potential viewings.
That evening we decided to head out somewhere nice for dinner. We took a walk down Polk Street, which is just round the corner, and is full of a variety of places to eat. We found a nice Italian restaurant and had a lovely three course meal and bottle of wine - throwing the budget out of the window for one night! Then took a leisurely walk back to the hotel.
Today we were pleased to wake up and see sunshine in San Francisco at last, after three solid days of cloud and rain. We decided that this afternoon we would take a bit of a walk around. But this morning we had arranged some Skype sessions with the family. It was great to catch up with everyone - our nieces and nephew were particularly entertaining to see. It's just a bit annoying that the internet in this hotel is a bit ropey so the video on Skype sometimes went a bit funny.
After catching up with everyone on Skype we left our hotel and ventured out into the sunny, but still quite cold, San Francisco city.
The first things that strike you about San Francisco when you walk around are: 1) the inclines and 2) the block system (although that may be a common thing throughput The States). Many of the roads are quite steep, and all the roads are in straight lines. It makes for some interesting views, and also means that finding your way around is fairly easy.
We took a walk up to Lombard Street. One section of this road is known at the 'Crookedest Street', and it's easy to see why. The road basically zig zags down a really steep incline. It's clearly a big attraction as there were lots of tourists around taking pictures, and there was a big queue of cars waiting to be able to drive down the road for themselves. Perhaps the only unpleasantness is the smell of the car's clutches burning as they made their way up, and then the smell of the brakes as they made their way down.
From here we took a walk up to Fishermans Wharf at the north of the city by the bay. From here we could get a good view of Alcatraz Island, and also over towards the Golden Gate Bridge. This area was really busy, and it seems like a tourist magnet here. There are street performers, lots of seafood eateries and carousels and entertainment for the kids, particularly around Pier 39. The most appealing thing for us here were the nice views over the bay, and also the resident sea lions relaxing on a few of the moorings nearby.
After a good walk around Fishermans Wharf, and grabbing a couple of hotdogs along the way, we walked towards the Coit Tower.
Coit Tower is a 210 foot (64m) monument to the firefighters of San Francisco, located in Pioneer Park. It was built in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who donated a third of her estate to 'beautify the city of San Francisco'.
We took a walk around the tower, where there were some more great views over the bay and towards the Golden Gate Bridge. We considered going up the tower, but decided against it after seeing the queue and the $5 each price. We were happy with the views we got around the tower.
Next we headed towards China Town. We took a brief walk through, and it really did feel for a moment like we were back in China. Then from here we took a gradual walk in the direction back to our hotel, walking past Washington Square along the way.
Despite the sunshine today the weather here is still cold - I think the temperature today was around 12 degrees - so we decided to stop at a coffee shop on Polk Street before getting back to the hotel, for a hot drink (and a cake) to warm us up.
Once back at the hotel we could both feel our legs aching from today. I think the combination of cold weather, little exercise recently and steep roads has taken it's toll. However, it felt good to have finally ventured out in the city today and see some things.
We ordered a pizza for dinner, as were feeling a bit tired. Some replies regarding motorhomes have come through, and we are trying to set up some more viewings. I think we'll be hiring a car in a few days so we can get around to see these vehicles.