Day 3: Mr. & Mrs. Hikes-A-Lot, Wine Drunk, & the Castro
If I could use just one word to describe our third day in San Francisco, I would use the word “hike.” Because we did. All across San Francisco. Because we’re crazy, and hate our feet. I know that path right there doesn’t look too long, but it was all up hill. Because that’s what San Francisco is. UP HILL.
We left our hotel (that’s where the blue thing is) and headed south to check out Lombard Street, the most crooked street in the world. It was an up-hill hike, of course, but so, so worth it because every time we turned around and looked down, the views of San Francisco and the bay just got better and better. I took so many pictures on the way up that by the time we got three blocks, Andrew was ready to kill me because I kept making him stop.
We momentarily contemplated walking all the way down to Union Square but then a trolley showed up and we were all “Oh neat – a trolley!” and since it wasn’t too too packed, we pitched the idea of walking.
I highly recommend taking a trolley ride through San Francisco while standing up, clinging to those leather strap hand hold things for dear life. It’s fun, scary and worth the $5. DO IT!
Seriously. Trolley rides are SO FUN and I’m still trying to figure out how I didn’t topple over onto the lap of the very nice British couple sitting next to the bar I was clinging to. But lo – it was fun, and in true tourist fashion I took pictures like crazy because OMG! TROLLEY! CALIFORNIA! SQUEE!
After the trolley, we walked down Market Street marveling at the shops and I kept saying over and over how big everything was, even though I’ve been to places like NYC and Munich and Houston and Philadelphia and have not, as my words might have implied to passerby, spent my whole life living in a box far, far away from the city.
I did notice that cop cars in San Francisco suck. I mean, maybe they were hiding the nice ones or something because the ones I saw were super crappy. I had assumed that a city so expensive and fabulous would have money to throw at their police force so they could look super cool. But no. Richmond, Virginia has better copcars.
After we had thoroughly window shopped along Market St. and Union Square, we went up to Chinatown. I had been told that walking into Chinatown felt like walking into a different world and it absolutely was. It was fun, and beautiful and I couldn’t stop staring at all the beautiful colors and street decorations.
Seeing as we made it to Chinatown around lunchtime, and were starving, we popped into a slightly promising looking restaurant and ate outside on the balcony. I then discovered that I LOVE green tea ice cream.
After lunch we debated where to go and what to do, and ultimately decided to head up to Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower to get a better view of the city. As if we hadn’t climbed enough hills that day. We’re gluttons for punishment, I tell you.
On the way up to Coit Tower, Andrew almost got in a fight with a super scary lesbian. I’m not quite sure what he did to offend her (it might have been the penis), but when he walked by, she puffed herself up and gave him the evil eye. I thought for sure I was going to have to defend his honor or something but she just glared at him as we walked up the hill. I was so freaked out by her evil eye that I kept turning around to make sure she wasn’t flying up the hill on lesbian roller skates with a baseball bat to kill us both.
By the time we made it up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower we were glad to be alive and totally awed by the view. San Francisco is just so damn beautiful. From every. single. angle.
Coming down from Coit Tower we got lost. Each street we tried to turn down turned into a dead end. Thank goodness for my Crackberry. It saved the day with its wonder-twin powers of Google Maps. And lucky for us, the accidental walk back to the hotel resulted in us passing through North Beach. North Beach is where the very, very yummy food is – especially the very, very, very, very yummy Italian food.
We made it back to the hotel with just enough time to take off our shoes and complain about how bad our feet hurt for 30 minutes. Then it was time for free wine again at the hotel and then we walked BACK to North Beach for dinner. We simply had to. It had smelled so good. Everyone we asked about San Francisco told us we HAD to go there to get some Italian food. So we did. And it was one of the best decisions we made.
San from theinbetweenismine.com had recommended a few places to eat in North Beach, but by the time we were walking through looking for a place to eat, I had totally forgotten about them. We choose this little place that didn’t look too pretentious but that promised homemade gnocchi. We sat down, ordered some bruschetta and I remembered – shit! – San had recommended places to eat in North Beach! Dammit! She was nice enough to offer up suggestions and I’d totally forgotten to check them once in the city! I grabbed my phone, opened her email and found this:
There are a few good Italian restaurants, I recommend:
Trattoria Volare Caffee
561 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133-2801
(near Washington Square)
I looked down at our menu, and at the window we were sitting beside and lo and behold – that’s the place we were at! Que freak out about how the universe is wonderful and neat and what a freakin’ coincidence and YAY! now I can say I went to the place she recommended!
The food OH MY GOODNESS – SO good. It’s owned by an adorable Sicilian man who talked to all his Italian patrons in Italian and who obviously takes enormous pride in his restaurant. We ordered a bottle of wine and some of the best food I’ve had in my entire life. It was so low-key. So mellow. We weren’t rushed through our meal. We were left to enjoy our food. And it was the best. THE BEST.
After dinner we went back to the little wine bar place we’d visited the night before. We ordered a glass of wine and chatted with the people who worked there. Andrew asked if we could be friends with them on Facebook. They said yes. We asked what they were getting into that night and they informed us they were going to the Castro for a friend’s birthday (we had absolutely no idea what the Castro was at this point and just assumed it was a bar or something). We asked if we could tag along. They said yes. (!!!)
So we left the wine bar, hopped in the car with these relative strangers and rode to the Haight to drop off the car. Then we hopped on a bus and went to the Castro. Which is when we realized that the Castro is the gay part of San Francisco. (More !!!) So we went to two different bars (and saw no less than 3 totally naked men standing on the street) and danced and laughed and drank and I realized then that I had never even been to a gay bar before and that, holy crap! my first gay bar experience was in SAN FRANCISCO, because I am awesome like that and sometimes things just turn out so freakin’ well.
As the bars starting closing, we spilled out onto the street. There were these adorable gay boys there and they had just been to a wedding out in Sonoma and were still dressed to the nines. We chatted with them and I fell in love with them because they kept telling me I’m fabulous and then I introduced them to Andrew, who they loved as well but who they were mad at because of that whole he’s straight thing and so there we stood, in the middle of the Castro in San Francisco with our new wine friends and some funny gay boys who couldn’t stop telling us how fabulous we were and how more men should be like Andrew. It was one of the best adventures I’ve ever been on. Ever.
We hailed a cab at 3 AM (that’d be 6 AM Virginia time…) and made it back to the hotel at 3:25 AM. We had to be buzzed in to the hotel and the guy at the front desk looked at us with a disapproving glare. I felt like I was 16 again. It was perfect.
Day 4: HUNG OVER & don’t rock the boat
I’m 25. Andrew is very close to turning 29. We should have known better. We should have known that if we drank a bottle of wine with dinner, and then if we went to a wine bar and drank more wine, and then if we went to the Castro and drank beers we would feel like shit the next day. And we did.
Before the Castro adventure we loosely planned on riding the bus over to the Golden Gate Bridge. But then we woke up. And couldn’t move. Seriously. It was the WORST hangover of my life. I’m all about things in moderation and apparently I forgot about that while living it up San Francisco style with the gays. Oops.
So instead of going on an adventure we went to brunch. Where I had toast. And then we went to check out a whole bunch of old boats at the Hyde St. Pier because we’re suckers for old stuff. But that was stupid. Because when you’re hungover and nauseous it’s best not to get on a boat that’s quietly swaying in the water. Because it will make you feel worse. A lot worse. Apparently, we’re not nearly as smart as we thought we were, and we obviously CANNOT party like we’re 21 anymore either.
We didn’t really accomplish much on Day 4, and that’s okay. The crowds started to get bad and I was really, really content just to sit outside at a restaurant and people watch. There are some crazy people in San Francisco (the BUSHMAN!) and we were able to partake in some first class people watching.
Since our flight left San Francisco at 10:36 PM we headed to the airport, via cab a bit early. The cab ride was wonderful, amazingly, and we spent our last few hours in San Francisco wandering around the airport talking about how it was the best vacation we’ve ever taken. And we vowed to do it more often. We go on vacation fairly regularly but we always seem to go with friends and while that’s fun and all, it’s better when it’s just us. Just the two of us doing whatever we want to do, getting to know each other all over again and experiencing things together for the first time. That’s what this time in our lives should be all about – living life to the fullest and taking as many adventures as possible.
We made it home by noon on Monday and spent the day curled up on the couch watching Big Brother. It was the perfect end to a perfect long weekend.
I love you, San Francisco!