We sort of stayed close to the ranch on Saturday. Chris had a charity gig that evening and, to be quite honest, I was feeling a bit burnt out. A day of relaxation would make the rest of the trip a bit more enjoyable.
We decided to do the "tourist thing" on Sunday. Chris says he never really goes sightseeing because, well, because he lives here. I totally get that. I grew up less than 50 miles from the Statue Of Liberty, but I've only ever seen it from an airplane. So, yeah, I completely dig not sightseeing in your hometown.
We decided to take the BART into the city. "BART" stands for "Bay Area Rapid Transit", and it's a Helluva' lot easier than driving into the city; to the Embarcadero, of all places, and trying to find a place to park. So, the train it would be.
|The BART station in Lafayette, California...|
It took a little over 30 minutes to get into the city. We hopped off the train right near the Ferry Building. At one time, the Ferry Building was this dilapidated, rundown, forgotten husk of a building. Now, however, it houses a number of, primarily, food shops selling everything from Chinese tea (like the kind at Nanking) to kitchen utensils to coffee to meats. The whole building smelled amazing.
|Inside the Ferry Building in San Francisco...|
Chris, being the culinary guru that he is, picked up some smoked sea salt at this one store we went into. It's weird. It's like flakes of salt. I tried it but, hey, I guess I just like boring old sea salt.
From the Ferry Building, we walked along the Embarcadero, shooting as we went (Chris brought his Canon 30D with him). We decided to get some lunch, so we headed over to the Fog City Diner. I was looking forward to this. It just had this certain vibe that told me it was going to be amazing.
It was okay. The food was fine, I suppose, but the service left a lot to be desired. While I opted for the biscuits and gravy (which were... fine), Chris, inexplicably, decided that oysters were the way to go:
|Mmmmmmmmm... Nothing says "breakfast" like hastily prepared shellfish...|
|He was happy. That's all that mattered...|
As I said, the food was okay; certainly nothing to write home about, and certainly not what I'd hoped for. We ate, paid the tab, and continued down the Embarcadero.
The Embarcadero in San Francisco is a pretty wild place. Buskers are everywhere, and there's a tourist vibe that you'll not find in too many other locales. It's fun, though, and it's an absolute mecca for people watching.
We decided to walk up to where the cable cars board, and take one down into Union Square. From there, we'd hop back onto the BART and back to the East Bay. We didn't expect the wait, though. Seems as though a few hundred people had the same idea we did. We decided to stop by Fiddler's Green, a place where Chris plays a gig from time to time. We sidled up to the bar and, as we always do when I come up here, had a Guinness. There's something about getting a Guinness in an Irish pub. You just don't get the same experience anywhere else:
Our thirsts quenched, we lit off for the cable cars.
The San Francisco cable cars are a marvel of engineering. and they're also the only mobile national monument in the world. Cables move under the streets to move the cars. At each end of the track, the cars have to be put on a turntable and manually turned around, as there are no gears (such as "reverse" on them).
|Coit Tower, seen from the top of Hyde Street...|
|Alcatraz, as seen from the top of Hyde Street...|
The city also operates what are called "Heritage Streetcars". These operate primarily on Market Street and the Embarcadero:
|A Heritage Streetcar along Market Street in downtown San Francisco...|
We got off the cable car and found our way underground, headed to the BART station.
We found our way back to Lafayette, and then back to Chris' house.
This proved to me a ridiculously good trip, both in terms of the photo ops it presented, but also the culinary ridiculousness that often occurs every time I come up here. Chris busted out with the biscuits and gravy this morning and, to be honest, I think I'm good for the remainder of the day.
So, once again, I tip my hat to Chris and thank him for his hospitality. This was a great trip...