Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with San Francisco

Starting to explore America by the west coast, hilly San Francisco was my first major stop.

After my battle with the most ridiculous border guards I’ve ever encountered, I spent a few days each in Seattle and Sacramento.
Seattle seemed nice enough, especially the Pike Place Market, including its chewing gum wall, and Northwest Folklife, but the city never really grabbed me. Maybe it needed more time, maybe it just wasn’t all that.
Sacramento, a destination that baffled anyone I told I intended to visit, was surprisingly nice. I stayed with a friend, which always helps, and although it was a bit of a sleepy town, sometimes that’s nice to do. A day spent rafting down the river was the best day.
One of the rivers in Sacramento
San Francisco was, of course, much bigger and although most people told me it was going to be amazing I could never get past ‘it’s quite good’.

It had a nice mix of tourist spots that weren’t completely overrun (although the world’s crookedest street [a result of the stupid hills San Francisco was built on] and the sea lion colony were busy but not in a stupid, crazy way) and interesting areas that could be enjoyed at leisure, such as Haight Street and along the wharfs.

World's crookedest street

Golden Gate Park was nice green spot that took a few days to fully explore, and it had a couple of things I wouldn’t have expected in America – bison and Dutch windmills.

Bison at Golden Gate Park

The two biggest attractions in San Francisco are undoubtedly Golden Gate Bridge (okay but hardly Sydney Harbour Bridge) and Alcatraz, an interesting spot and one that can be navigated by memory if you played a certain Tony Hawk game too much in your teenage years.

Golden Gate Bridge

Outside the city there’s also a lot to explore (I’ve just done loads of work for a travel site in NSW and fear my stock phrases are slipping in here). The two that I experienced on my last two couple of days were the Napa Valley wineries (not as good as people say and, maybe I was spoiled in Australia, but the wineries were charging people for tastings, which seemed weird) and Yosemite (basically a poor version of the Rockies).


San Francisco’s a nice enough city, but it’s not one that I’d want to live in and I wouldn’t be devastated if I never went back. Next up, Los Angeles.


Filed under: north america, , ,

One Response

  1. Dave says:

    It’s great to get confirmation that these over-familiar landmarks from films are actually real, though I’m disappointed at the lack of Starfleet Headquarters.

    Maybe this is what reading my blog would be like if I’d ever been anywhere that people cared about.

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