San Francisco

Golden Gate BridgeMy stay in San Francisco was fairly brief as a result of poor planning and my desire to afford expensive accommodation.  Hostels for the most part were quite reasonable, but my failure to book ahead on the 2nd weekend for the annual Bay to Breakers run left me with few options.  My first weekend in San Fran had me hanging around the city area and Mission District for the most part and I enjoyed a good variety of restaurants and bars.  Over in the Mission District, there was a street festival where I witnessed a 7-person bicycle being ridden (failed to capture on camera though  unfortunately) and some interesting stalls.  Partying most nights, followed by relaxation during the day was the main mission here, which was fairly successful.

My 2nd weekend in San Francisco was an extension of my original plans, as I wanted to witness the phenomenon known as the Bay to Breakers, the biggest outdoor running festival in San Francisco.  What makes the Bay to Breakers typically such a memorable festival is a number of things, notably including people’s costumes, tendency to start drinking before the event  in the morning, tendency to ditch the run half-way through and stop in at a pub and lastly but most importantly the high number of nude participants.  Booking last minute into one of the only available hostels in the area, I ended up staying at the Marin Headlands, located in a National Park north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Concert Night OutWhilst affordable and scenic, the hostel itself was fairly shabby, alcohol was technically banned and there was really no entertainment or facilities outside of the hostel itself in easy walking distance.  After booking said hostel, I also discovered that no public transport ran directly to it, EXCEPT on Sundays so I decided to hike over from the bridge.  In the end, I reached the hostel before dark with one subway ride, a bus ride (where I didn’t have correct change, but was let off) and a moderate hike along a fairly easy trail.  The total distance of the hike came to about 13km, but included a fair amount of back-tracking and trying to work out where exactly the hiking trail was meant to begin.  In the end though, I managed it without hitch-hiking, so an achievement was accomplished.

I’d packed a couple tins of food to get me through my stay at the Hostel, luckily though I be-friended an English bloke with a car, which proved mutually beneficial for both of us, since he was looking for a drinking partner.  We ended up cruising down to Silicon Valley after a couple nights and took in a System of a Down gig which was good fun, but highly damaging on the wallet due to the usual over-priced drinks phenomenon found at most music venues.  San Fran as a whole was a great city where I didn’t quite cross of as many “touristy” activities as I could have, but which certainly held some good times.  I’ll be more than keen to go back again soon, definitely when some warmer weather prevails!

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