Before my trip to San Francisco, my friend who spent his every summer with his aunt there told me I would love the city – the Golden Gate bridge was iconic, Lombard street was awesome, the weather was more than perfect, the public transportation system was “nothing like NYC subway”, there were a lot to do. I took his words without any doubt. I mean, great cities are rumored to be great for a reason, and I have a tendency to fall in love with cities very quickly.
My friend was right about the bridge. It was cool, but not the bridge in itself but the long, desperate trail raising above the sea leading from Baker beach to the bridge. I didn’t even know why I went to that beach, or why I decided to take that trail. I walked, for hours, having no idea what this road would take me. Other people walking that trail all dressed up in work-out clothes, I was the only one looking like a tourist. But in the end, I got a clear shot of the bridge with me in it, and somehow the trail magically ended at one end of the famous Golden Gate.
Besides that, two more things saved the trip. The informative tour of Alcatraz with the glorious view of the bay and city skyline and New Year’s Eve around drunk strangers at the Ferry Building which was partly ruined because of the cold.
The rest was closer to annoying than fun.
The weather would be perfect, if you’re coming straight from Pennsylvania. Before San Francisco, I stayed in LA for 2 weeks, and that’s what you call a perfect weather.
The well-known Lombard street, seriously what was great about it? Just a crooked street in the middle of a city. I walked from the lower end to the higher one, and when I finished, I couldn’t breathe. I could run 3 miles on the treadmill so a half mile walk should be totally possible. Oh wait, that was not a walk, that was a half a mile climb up thousand of stairs.
The same goes for basically almost every street in San Francisco. Irritably steep. I like to walk when I travel, and the streets of San Francisco exhausted me. Not your fault, San Francisco, I just don’t like it, at all. I lived near China town, and that means if I wanted a midnight snack, I had to climbed a mountain down and up, and there went my snack.
Don’t even get me start on the public transportation. Yes, again my friend was right. It was nothing like NYC subway. NYC subway is reliable, user-friendly, cheap, and utmostly convenient. San Francisco has at least 3 public transportation systems – BART, Munis, and that light rail train taking you on short distance, like 10 blocks max. I only know 3 because I was forced to use only 3 of them. God knows how many else are out there. It was simply confusing. You really need to know the city in and out, know the destination very well to make the best out of that system. I left the city with about 25 bucks in my Muni and BART cards. I stayed in LA for 2 weeks without a car and managed to use public transportation to get everywhere I wanted so you would think San Francisco should be a breeze. But it wasn’t. Does that mean something?
Maybe I needed more time to breathe the city in, feel its beat, and fall in love. Maybe this was New York all over again.