It’d indeed been seven years since the last visit to San Francisco (alleged to in the early days of this very blog).
Woke up early, real early. Though having gone to bed around eleven, the irreversible wakeup at 0420 actually did produce some five hours of effective sleep.
Went to breakfast at the first opportunity (very american, bacon included) and then had a more than reasonable delay in departing (sudden attack of the carbohydrates didn’t help).
So I didn’t get out of the hotel that early, and the Powell Street cable car to the Fisherman’s Wharf already had a long line. The cars came and went, and managed to snap a few good pictures of them at the plate. Got on perhaps the fifth one, and had a smooth ride all the way to the waterfront.
First stop was the Ghirardelli Square, had to stock up on the very traditional San Francisco chocolate. Had quite a bit of difficulty finding the entrance – quite an accomplishment on a building that is geared for absolutely one thing, a massive influx of tourists. Picked up half a dozen variants of the chocolate, a good start for a shopping trip.
Built up hunger on the Hyde Street Pier (though skipped the museum ships) and had my first ever meal at an In-N-Out Burger. The cheeseburger was quite OK, though not really worthy of the accolades.
The Wharf hadn’t changed much. Apart from my favorite gallery had gone AWOL (eventually discovered they are moving to a bigger location, but currently closed). Visited a couple of shirt stores, souvenir stores and the National Park Store on top Pier 39. The sealions are still present west of the Pier, lounging on the floating docks and filling the air with their barking.
Instead of taking the historical tram (F line is run with ancient cars that each looks different) back to Embarcadero, decided to walk back.
Looped via the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Hadn’t been inside on previous visits. The views were nice, but nothing spectacular.
Visited the only remaining bookstore along the way back. San Francisco has lost Borders (the gigantic one on Union Square), Stacey’s and Barnes & Noble – leaving the City Lights as the only one I could find. The organization was less haphazard than ten years back, and picked up my first Robert Goddard mystery novel and a couple of other books.
Record stores seemed to be an endangered species as well. Virgin Megastore on Market looked like it’s been shuttered for a long while, and I was out and about too early for Rasputin Music as well.
Dinner turned out to be a simple and quick affair. Ventured out to a chilled evening in shorts and decided to grab something in the immediate neighbourhood instead of acquiring a west coast flu. The something turned out to be a triplet from Taco Bell, Seven Eleven and a liquor store. The last one of the list is the only worthwhile one, as the two Acme ales were a pleasant discovery indeed.
The ~20k steps took their toll, and after trying in vain to stay awake to the sixth episode of Game of Thrones, gave it up around ten o’clock, destined to wake up way too early again, on the first day of the actual conference.