Sunday, April 27, 2008

Biking over Golden Gate Bridge

Biking over Golden Gate Bridge
Originally uploaded by Dan_H
I may not smell so good. And I'm burnt and my feet hurt and I'm feeling decidedly sticky.

BUT, I am content.

I had a wonderful day! This picture was my scene today. Blue, sunny skies... but let me start from the beginning...

Open my Google Map to follow along with the story >>

I walked down Market Street to Peet's coffee just before the Ferry Building. Peet's is quite good. Apparently, they pre-date and mentored the Starbucks folks and even supplied their beans for the first few months of operation.

There was a farmer's market and outdoor arts show on today at the Ferry Building so I looked around and saw lots of jewelery that I couldn't decide between. And a great photographer I loved. Again, I wanted to think about it and I never went back. I think I should have just bought something even though it was probably too expensive.

It was time to eat. After browsing the entire market, I settled on a bowl of seafood chowder and a chocolate chip cookie. The Ferry Building has a lot of high end organic and specialty food shops which were beautiful but a little too much for me.

I took the cable car along the waterfront to Fisherman's Wharf and was on my way to rent my bike, when I saw Cold Stone. The last time I was there was when I was in Boston a couple of years ago. I remembered loving it so I went in and got the hard ice cream equivalent of a DQ blizzard. It was good, but too sweet. Sad. In any case, I had to EAT it, so I sat down at The Cannery's square where a performer was singing and playing. It was lovely. He sang a song about Sara(h) that made me think of my friends Sara/Sarah.

And then I rented the bike and the guy flirted with me -- though I'm sure he does that with all the girls -- and I was on my way across the waterfront trails all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. I stopped a few times along the way to consult my map. Turns out I forgot to make a critical turn that would have got me to a side trip I wanted to do. But by the time I'd figured that out, I was far past it and didn't want to turn around to do it again.

Anyway, across the bridge I went, taking some pics, finally. The bridge was packed with tourists but the deep orange of the structure was gorgeous against the brilliant blue sky. On the other side, on the road into Sausalito, you can smell warm lavender and spring flowers in the air. It is definitely different over there. Warmer. More mountainous.

What a CUTE little town Sausalito is! Almost European, inasmuch as an American town can be, I suppose. Quaint, anyway. I stopped at Cafe Trieste for an iced Americano. The owners are gruff, the chairs and tables on the patio are plastic and the coffee is strong. But exactly what I needed. I sat there, writing and enjoying the last of the sunshine until a blue irridescent bird perched on my table and seemed totally unafraid of me. After our encounter, I was ready to go and had realized that I'd burned my shoulders and needed to get out of the sun.

So I went to the Lisa Kristine gallery. She's a photographer and I love love LOVED her work. I almost started crying, I was so moved by the photos. They were from India and China and Tibet and the like and they gave me shivers. They were so unbelievably perfect and exactly what I'd want on my walls: such a story to be told in each photo.

And then it was time to catch the ferry back to San Fran. I got a few photos of as we were leaving Sausalito and then Alcatraz as well from the ferry. Leaving the boat, you can grab a MUNI transfer for the public transportation system and get on for free within the next 90 minutes.

I rode my bike back to return it, and stopped in at Fish Alley where a dozen or so stands hawk pretty much the same seafood snacks in, well, an alley. I got a bunch of shrimp. Mmm.

I walked to the Hyde St. historical trolley line and waited. Everyone wanted to get on the same trolley at the same time, it seemed. I waited with my transfer and finally got on. The driver flicked some old-school switches and threw the big switch and we were off up the ridiculously steep hill (Russian Hill). I got off at Lombard St. to see and walk down the world's most crooked street. Well, it's pretty crooked alright. And there are nice houses on it, I suppose.

After that I walked to North Beach, where the "beat generation" was born. During normal hours you could go to one of the zillions of fantastic coffee shops and this great bookstore... but it was late and I was tired and just wanted some gelato. So that's what I had. But as I walked past all the darling little romantic Italian restaurants, I was jealous that I didn't have someone special to share that with. Next time...

And then I was walking again. I THOUGHT I was walking towards Chinatown, but instead I turned the wrong way and walked back towards the water and Pier 39, a tourist trap along the water, really. But it was fun and there was a big chocolate shop there where I just inhaled the yummy goodness. And I browsed in a few shops but ultimately just wanted to go home.

I got on the "F" line which took me right back to my hotel. And now here I am, telling you my story before I drop exhausted into my bed.

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