Yesterday was a busy day – and a long one – which is why this post is happening today instead.
I began the day bright and early so that KP could drop me off at the San Carlos Caltrain station on the way to her course. I arrived at the station without any information about the schedule or stops and a minimal idea of the rates to ride. I can’t say that I wasn’t worried – I’m not exactly a seasoned transit user. I never rode the city bus in Whitehorse growing up, and Edmonton can only boast a light rail transit system with one line… No transfers required. That being said, I figured out how to buy a ticket and managed to find my way onto a train relatively easily. I had been given the recommendation of changing to the BART train at the Millbrae station so that I could get to where I wanted to go in the city, and I even managed to do that without any major issues.
I eventually arrived at Powell station near Union Square in San Francisco. It was still relatively early in the morning and there was hardly a soul to be found in the station, but for the many homeless stretched out along the walls for a good night’s sleep. It was an odd thing for me to see so many people without anywhere to go all in one place, though clearly it was warm and dry there.
After emerging from underground, I realized it was too early for stores to be open yet – and shopping was my plan for the day – so I promptly found a Starbucks store to hang out in and surf the internet/people watch, which are two of my favourite things to do.
Once it was a more reasonable hour of the day, I went off to do some shopping. I wandered through the streets around Union Square, and through the stores around Westfield Mall for most of the morning and early afternoon. I stopped at a noodle house called The King of Thai for lunch, which was totally delicious and totally affordable. Later in the afternoon I stumbled upon the San Francisco Visitor Centre nestled under the ground near Market Street, and stopped for a coffee at the cute place just outside.
Once I had had my fill of shopping and wandering, I decided to catch the train back to San Carlos. KP had the evening off, and though we were planning to head into the city, I thought it would be more fun if we could travel together. Plus, I needed to have some down time, to drop my shopping bags, and to change into some of my new clothes!
Sadly, this train trip did not prove to be as smooth as my first. I got off a stop too early, which resulted in hanging out for the longest 12 minutes of my life alone in the station with a man that did not appear to be entirely stable. In my haste to escape, I accidentally got onto a train that was detouring to a different stop and ending there. I rode that train up one stop and back, then finally got on a train that wasn’t stopping in San Carlos, which meant I needed to get off a few stops early and switch trains. I did make it back to my home station eventually, and at one point I even had a girl ask me for help, so I must not have looked too conspicuously clueless.
Anyhow, KP picked me up at the station since she was home from her course by this time and we headed back to the hotel for a quick stop. Luckily I had lots of downtime while riding trains in circles, so I wasn’t feeling as tired as I did earlier in the day. We decided to head into the city and try to make our way towards Fisherman’s Wharf for some dinner and a walk along the water. Between my newfound knowledge of the train system, and our mutual fear of driving the absolute madness that is San Francisco, KP and I decided that the train would be the easiest way to make the trip in. I really am going to be an expert on the Caltrain system!
Our trek into San Francisco was fairly uneventful besides a tight timeline for making the train off the start. Before long, we were disembarking, hopping onto the light rail for a couple stops, and emerging just a few blocks from the Ferry Building.
We went inside and wandered through the building, but most things were closed. I think we will have to make another visit here during the day sometime. Outside, there was a farmer’s market happening. We considered checking it out, but it looked as though the bulk of the booths were serving liquor, and there weren’t too many with food. We were both starving, so decided that probably would not make for the best choice. Instead, we started our walk along the water, past the TCHO chocolate factory, which we hope to visit on the weekend, and the America’s Cup grounds, among much more.
Eventually we arrived at Pier 39 and decided we wanted seafood for dinner. After looking at a few different places, we ended up at The Crab House. It had a nice atmosphere – classy without feeling too fancy to eat crab at (and create the mess that always comes along with it).
We had a crab. Literally that was all that came with our meal – one crab, which we split. We were full focused on getting every scrap of crab meat out of that shell for the next 45 minutes or so. The meal was delicious. It had been far too long since I last had crab, but I find it difficult to convince myself to eat much seafood while I am in landlocked Alberta, so this was a nice treat.
After dinner we went for a walk out on one of the piers and we could hear the noisy sound of sea lions calling to one another. Their shapes could be made out vaguely on the water, and one seemed to be mingling with all the boats docked there. They were so loud they drowned out the rest of the evening bustle along the waterfront. We continued walking down through Fisherman’s Wharf, taking in the sights and sounds as we went.
Rich had recommended the Buena Vista Cafe as the best place to get an Irish coffee, and I was fancying one of those for dessert, so that was our next destination. During dinner, we realized that the Buena Vista is, in fact, the place that introduced Irish coffee to North America, which made it even more worth visiting. I have to say, they really have that recipe figured out. Sadly, KP had a hot chocolate since coffee can give her migraines – and it was late at night besides – but I let her have a sip of mine to get a taste. Here I am enjoying it!
After this, we decided to head back to San Carlos and hopped in a cab to take us to the Caltrain station. The walk back would have been nice but it also would have meant a MUCH later arrival back at the hotel and we were both exhausted. By the time we returned, we were both ready to fall into bed. I’m glad I got to sleep in this morning, but I am also really glad KP and I made good use of her night off.