We met up with Cirsten mid-morning in Half Moon Bay. We met her very lovely niece, who had worked at Google, but quit to stay home with her adorable daughter. We learned that, as expected, Google are quite a demanding to work for, but she enjoyed it and would be happy to work for them again. We also learned that she very much agreed with us that California is ridiculously overpriced after living there for several years.
Here is the video:
We set off toward San Francisco with Cirsten. We saw some lovely beach vistas on the way:
We went out for lunch/coffee at a very lovely place called Tartine Bakery, which was delicious and the best coffee or tea either of us had had in quite a while:
We wanted to see the sea, so we went to something called Pier 39, which appeared to be quite popular. It not only had the the ocean, Alcatraz and some sea lions, but it actually had a rather impressive air show practice going on at the same time:
At this point, we realized we were not leaving San Francisco on this particular day. Even being the most insanely expensive part of the country by far, we booked a room that cost what could have easily bought us nearly a week in Phoenix once you included the 40+ dollars of parking.
Traffic getting to said expensive hotel was ridiculous. It took us nearly an hour to move 2 miles. The view was nice though:
That said, we did have a good time. It was an old but well maintained hotel right in the heart of the city:
We went out to eat at a place recommended to us by some good friends of ours in England who happened to visit San Francisco a few weeks before we did. It was a very good recommendation and we had one of the best meals of the trip at the country’s oldest Italian restaurant:
You may wonder how a city far west has such an old Italian restaurant that happened before mass Italian immigration. Something that made San Francisco uniquely interesting is being a very old city on the west coast of America. It was founded in 1776 by the Spanish (no connection to US independence at all despite the year), and this means it has more of an old world feel than anywhere in the West, but it is still utterly different from the older cities in the East. Even though it was very expensive for what we are doing, it was a lovely place and I am sure we will be back.
The next day we did one more thing in the area, which was cross the Golden Gate Bridge. By the way, it is right to call it golden. It was called Golden Gate before there was a bridge there, so it is not an erroneous reference to the color, which is obviously red.
By the way, the northern end of the bridge is apparently the future home of Star Fleet in Star Trek. This is what it looks like now: We hit the 16,000 mile mark, but despite that, we didn’t go far.
I think we were quite exhausted by this point as we hadn’t had a break in a while for various reasons. We ended up making some mistakes. Maybe we didn’t do enough research, but normally that has not been a problem. Unfortunately, California is expensive enough to make you pay dearly for your mistakes. We tried to go on the coast road, missed a few turns, tried to get back on it, ended up on a slow mountain road in the middle of nowhere, and then decided we just wanted to get some more sleep. The place in which we decided this was quite near Napa Valley. As one can imagine, wine country on a warm weekend is not the cheapest place to stay just to rest. We ended up paying 120 dollars for the most revolting hotel of the trip. Sure, we had some duds that cost 40 dollars, but when it’s so cheap, you can be less annoyed. This Comfort Inn in Vallejo required that I take 3 allergy medications just to sleep, so filthy it was, and the carpet was actively sticky. More annoyingly, there was a change in the algorithm of our hotel site that meant that even though in the past 4 months, it only gave very narrow searches, so if you searched my hometown of Onalaka, it would only give you hotel IN the city of Onalaska, none in LaCrosse, the larger city nearby or in Holmen or West Salem, the cities next door. Now it does. Not only does it give you cities nearby, but at least up to 40 miles away. This crappy Comfort Inn actually took us back 40 miles the wrong way and we couldn’t cancel it. Major bummer.
That said, as bad a time as this was, we still think San Francisco is a lovely city. We just want to come back with more money and time to enjoy it, and, perhaps even Napa one day.