San Francisco or bust!

Union Square (view from Macy’s)

Well , fortunately we didn’t have to write ‘SAN FRANCISCO or BUST’ on a wooden sign and stand on the side of the road to get to San Francisco – is hitch-hiking evenlegal in California? However, it’s worth it even if you have to hitch-hike.

I think what I liked the most was the incredible views of the bay that some parts of the city have. Also, it is worth taking the time for a cruise in the Bay or even go to Alcatraz, although to some Alcatraz may seem a bit depressing–it was a jailhouse, after all. I have to say that spending an afternoon in the Fisherman’s Wharf area is great if you visit for the first time, although too touristy and in my humble opinion somewhat tacky.

The typical SF Streetcar

You have to take some kind of transport to see everything. Distances are huge even in downtown San Francisco. I was impressed that except the bus, there was no way to get to the western part of the city. The train lines only connect south to east and go out of the city to Oakland and other destinations. We did not care for the bus, the cable car was too crowded and too expensive and the streetcar also crowded, so we rented bicycles. That helped a lot, especially when we went to Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio area and when we went to the Golden Gate Park — which, by the way is a beautiful ride. Of course, there are some VERY steep hills in the city that you have to avoid if you are not in great shape (as we weren’t). With the Golden Gate bridge we were a little unlucky that day, because there was thick fog around it, and everywhere else was sunny(ποιος μητσοτάκης μας μάτιασε)… as I found out today, there is an explanation:

In the mist

“The Golden Gate Bridge has an influence in directing fog as it pushes up and pours down around the Bridge. “Advection fog” forms when humid air from the Pacific Ocean swoops over the chilly California current flowing parallel to the coast. The fog hugs the ground and then the warm, moist air condenses as it moves across the bay or land. This is common near any coastline. Sometimes, high pressure squashes it close to the ground. By the way, the color of the bridge is International Orange, and was chosen in part because of its visibility in the fog. (Wikipedia)

Oakland Bay Bridge

The city is extremely easy to drive (but parking is impossible and available only at 30$/day), as almost all streets form blocks and on top of that, on every crossing you can see the name of the street you’re crossing. This is completely different from what we know about European cities, and it is also expected, because most of the European cities where built around older cities (medieval or even ancient ones).

We were very happy with the hotel where we stayed, it was comfortable and at a convenient location for the center of the city. When we first got in, we didn’t believe it cost us so little as 487$ for six nights. It was a pleasant stay, the people were very helpful, but the only thing missing was airconditioning in the rooms. On hot days, sleeping must be difficult there.

-Be mindful for the prices everywhere, they do NOT include taxes . Even the hotel prices do not include taxes, municipal fees and hotel service fees!
-When renting a car, if you are not a US citizen, you have to pay insurance fees, which are a significant additional cost. This is mandatory for California. Also, you have to pay an additional fee for them to accept your non-US driver’s licence. If you have booked through the internet, it is a good idea to have a print out of the car reservation with you.
-Book a hotel through the Internet, before you get to San Francisco. You can get better rates. In our case, for 6 nights it would be 700$ more if we didn’t.

I guess , “That’s all for tonight, folks!”


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  1. You left your heart in San fransisco..

    Είδαμε τις φωτος σας στο Picassa. Τα έξοδα τα δικά σου ποιος τα πλήρωσε? Εσείς?

  2. Actually I think I have been leaving a bit of my heart everywhere I go!

    Τα έξοδά μας (και των δύο) τα πληρώσαμε εμείς, εκτός από τη διαμονή της Κατερίνας στο συνέδριο, που την ανέλαβε το συνέδριο(ουαου!). Δε μας δωσανε χρηματοδότηση οι τσήπιδες από την Ελλάδα, όπως άλλωστε περίμενα. Μας ήρθε σχετικά καλά όμως, δεν ξεφύγαμε από τον προϋπολογισμό.

  3. Είπα και εγώ, έβαλε το κράτος το χέρι στην τσέπη?…
    Τελος πάντων, αφού δεν βγήκατε εκτός προυπολογισμού…

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