Surviving San Francisco – Day Three

     Hello again! Matthew here, reporting in from Walnut Creek, California!
     This entry is to chronical our third day in California. We had a blast, and I hope I’ll be able to convey that in the next few lines.

     Our day started at 8 a.m. with the normal 30-minute trek into San Francisco proper via BART and landed us in the hands of Ritual Coffee Roasters on Octavia Street. Ritual is based in a very small walk-through kiosk-style building with ordering at one end and pickup at the other. Valeri had a Latte and I had a Macchiato.

     Next, we were off to enjoy our coffee whilst enjoying a view of one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions: The Painted Ladies. Due to some untimely renovation works, we weren’t able to recreate the Full House introduction image, but we did get a picture that should give you the general idea.

     You might look at these and think to yourself, “Well, those are just little houses crammed together in a line” … and you would be correct. The thing that you might not be able to tell by the photos is the meticulous decoration. Each house is unique – perfectly so. Both in design and in color. It’s odd, because as a collective group, they all match; they look like they were designed to sit right there together; but the closer you get, the more you see the personality of each one and how different it looks compared to those adjacent.

Side note:
During this entire portion of the morning, the theme song for Full House was playing over and over in our heads – and at times aloud from our mouths. 
For that last bit, I apologize to the fine people of San Francisco. You didn’t deserve that.

     … and then there was food! Good food! For breakfast, we wandered just down the street to Eddie’s Café on Divisadero Street. This was a tiny little shop, built into the corner of a block of buildings.  There was quite a line and that meant we had to wait quite a while to be seated.

Valeri had the eggs, bacon and hash browns and Matthew had the eggs, hash browns and salmon patties.

     The place was tiny, but was oozing with quirkiness. Every mug was different and the decorations were so random that the word “eclectic” brings too much order to the situation. There was just no way to tell what they were trying to do. Whatever it was, it worked.

     After breakfast we made our way to San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Gardens. The grounds were filled with all sorts of plant life – including bamboo! There was quite an extensive Koi Pond, a traditional Japanese Pagoda and a few scattered bridges – one of which was very large and very steep so we avoided it at all costs. Near the end, we found a little café on the grounds and placed a quick order of Miso Soup and Mochi Ice Cream. The soup was absolutely phenomenal and the ice cream was interestingly prepared and fun to eat.

     Valeri had never been to the beach before today, so this was a first for her and we have it well documented! Beyond the normal sand/water combination most beaches are so proud of, this beach had ruins of what once was the world’s largest public swimming pool: the Sutro Baths. This is odd to say, but the story behind this place is actually quite fascinating and I recommend you peruse the Wikipedia article. The statistics for the facility alone are astounding.

Just a small portion of the Sutro Bath Ruins.

     After climbing about the ruins for a while, it was time for a late lunch, so we hiked back up from the beach and paid a visit to the Lands End Café. The place had great food and a great view to accompany it.

Turkey, tomato, avocado, lettuce, aioli and honey mustard on ciabatta bread.

     Our next leg brought us to Japantown, which was in the same vein as the Japanese Tea Gardens. All things Japan seemed to be the theme for the day. Japantown was filled with cool little shops packed with clever trinkets, extremely ornate cookware and the likes. My absolute favorite part was experiencing Dragon’s Breath. If you don’t know what this is, definitely look it up, because it’s neat.  The shop that sold it had to have a warning sign with evacuation procedures – that’s how neat it was.

Dragon’s Breath

     Technically, this was the end to our planned day – but we decided to keep rolling as we walked, rather. We walked, walked, walked and walked some more – bringing our day three total to just about 10 miles, and landing us near Fisherman’s Wharf just in time to see an epic sunset over San Francisco Bay. We used this time to FaceTime our parents and share the sights.

     On our way back to Walnut Creek, we were fortunate enough to get a ride on a classic Street Car rather than a bus. It was very neat, but very crowded – which had diminished the effect on the “fun factor” of the ride itself. One redeeming factor is that, while waiting, we met a lovely British couple (they hailed from Northampton, specifically) that we were able to share the experienced of last year’s  London trip with. For me, this was one of the highlights of the entire day.

     Anyway, that is day three for you! We survived it and we came away with lots of photographs and videos that we will share with you soon. Thank you for sticking with us!
This is Matthew, signing out.

“San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.”
William Saroyan

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