San Francisco was marked in our calendar as “relaxing time”, and we had serious plans about having a good time and not rushing through. And so we had! Before arriving San Francisco, we had made plans with some friends to stay at their place just outside the city, in a place called Livermore. From here it is about 45 minutes into the city center by BARTH, the local city train. We also booked a night at a hotel downtown SF, so we shouldn’t have to worry about train schedules and last departures when checking out the city life.
When visiting friends that have lived here for years, they do have some cards up their sleeves. We had been discussing driving up to Napa Valley to expose ourselves to some wine culture, but what we didn’t know was that there were about 50 vineyards in Livermore! So, first activity on the list was wine tasting! Stopped by three excellent vineyards, and that was perhaps a little too much for the quality of the tasting, but we had a lot of fun!! At the last place I Think we taster about 10 wines. Hm…
Zinfandel discussions at Ruby Hill
Don Franklin explains the production process at McGrail Vinyard.
Final conclusions at Boa Ventura...
Another convenient consequence about staying with friends was to have a physical mail address. Incredible how many nice-to-have things available online are never in stock when you try to look for them in an old fashion store. Not an easy thing to have thing sent to you when you never are in the same place for more than a couple of days (and don’t really know where you are going to be next week..). There showed up ,among other stuff, a kit with new rear brake pads for the Patrol – came all the way from Norway as Patrol parts are relatively scarce here in the US.
Downtown San Francisco we took the “tourist route”; got off the BARTH at Embarcadero, walked along the piers, and found the stairs up to Coit Tower. From there we walked down the hill on the other side of the tower, and came down to North Beach.
Coit Tower from Embarcadero
View from Coit Tower towards North Beach and the city center.
North Beach is not a beach, but the Italian part of San Francisco. And as it was time for lunch, we found a table and had great, Italian pizza at Divine Café.
On our way back to the hotel (NB Park Hotel in the city center has rooms for only 60$ a night!) we walked through SF’s Chinatown. We are a little fascinated that all bigger American cities has a so uniform looking “Chinese” area.
In the afternoon we got on the tram for some sightseeing on the other side of the city, Fisherman’s Wharf. Looked around for a place serving fresh fish, but after finding this sign down by the piers, we ended up eating chicken at a Thai restaurant…
The next day we met up with Luis from www.lostworldexpedition.com which happened to be back home in California for a few weeks. He and his girlfriend have been on the road for almost a year and a half in a Toyota Landcruiser, and they are kind of in Panama now (if they hadn’t been in California…). It will be interesting to see if we will catch up with them. We also met Christian and Dave that also are overland travelers. Christian has been traveling in Africa and Australia, and he is also one of the guys behind www.expeditionportal.com. Dave and his wife are packing their Nissan Xterra as we speak, and will be driving south in a couple of days. Their destination is the same as ours – Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. We had a really nice day talking about preparations, travels, and Central America.
The last couple of days we stayed in the area, we spent in Livermore, and we really got to relax and recharge our batteries after a lot of driving the last two month.
A big thanks to Elin, Larry, Diane, Nina, Jan, Jackie, and Peter for a great stay in Livermore, and to Luis, Christian, Dave, Persephone and Matt for a fun and interesting day in San Francisco
(…and to Charles for an excellent white wine! It went really well with the beautiful ocean view at Kirk Creek Campground along Hw1)
And from San Francisco we take Highway 1 south along the Pacific coast in the next blog post…