Sunday 15 May 2011

Europe here we come! The travel begins with a short stopover in San Francisco

image001Travel is often exhausting, so we have broken up our trip to Europe with a one day stopover in San Francisco on the way over and a few on the way back.

Once through customs at Auckland we noticed that there is a Zarbo Cafe and Bar. If only we had known earlier we would have waited until we had gone through customs before we had lunch.

image002We found these neat little shells throughout Auckland airport (once through customs) which were quite cosy and took away a lot of noise from the whole environment. I could easily have fallen asleep in one of these, and in fact saw others that had.

Dinner on our Air New Zealand operated flight was excellent in economy and I thoroughly enjoyed the lamb and roast kumara, and the Kapiti ice-cream to follow. Breakfast on the other hand was a different story; I didn’t feel like hotcakes with maple syrup so went for the scrambled eggs with sausage and baked beans. I usually steer clear of scrambled eggs on planes and definitely should have this time; they tasted bland, were a bit undercooked and Jane questioned they would even know what an egg looked like; needless to say I didn’t each much of it.

Directions to the BART train at San Francisco were clearly marked, but buying the tickets was more challenging that it needs to be. The credit card slots weren’t working on the respective self service checkouts and there was no ticket counter to be found, but thankfully I had some $US already. I knew exactly what station I wanted to get off at (Powell St), found it on the board and the cost, what wasn’t so clear was that you don’t say where you are heading, you need to instead put enough money onto a card (one for each person). I finally sorted it out and we were fine from there, once I’d got my head into the right mindset. I was however pleased to see everybody else was struggling with the machines too.

image003Once we arrived at Powell St station there was an excellent vibe of a guy playing on empty tin cans to the busking saxophonist. Once I had my bearings we decided that taking the Powell St tram to our accommodation with luggage wasn’t going to work. Not only was the queue ridiculously long, but the trams really aren’t made for having bulky luggage too. We wandered up the hill and about 10 minutes later arrived at our accommodation.

image004After a quick tidy up we ventured out to Union Square where there was a Taiwanese American festival and an excellent multi-cultural vibe. I also came across this huge heart that was really asking for a cheesy photo to be taken with it so I obliged.

Lunch consisted of a Boudin Clam Chowder in a Sourdough roll and Caesar salad that Jane I shared. It lived up to our expectations and was a good cheap meal (about US$10).

image005Macy’s sales people (particularly in the perfumery department) then tried to get us to try anything and everything. I did find it bizarre that most of the perfumery didn’t have prices on, but when asked about the prices they were very reasonable.

We then wandered a couple of blocks and ended up back at the hotel for an afternoon siesta and freshen up before heading out to dinner tonight.

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