Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sat 18 Oct - Belvedere Tiburon, CA

Today we picked up our car. But not until 3pm. And it is a Saturday. So, to break up the morning and fill the day we started off by walking along Tiburon Historic Trail from Vineet's place to Tiburon Wharf. It's about 5km and pretty flat so really just a stroll.

The plan was to have brunch at Sam's Cafe, then take the ferry to town and then walk to O'Farrell Street just off Union Square to get the car and drive it back to Vineet's place in Tiburon, ready for tomorrow's drive to South Lake Tahoe.

As usual, we arrived at Tiburon Wharf too early for eating brunch, around 10am, so we started off with a less than satisfactory coffee each at another place there called Cafe Acri, followed by a wander along Tiburon's shoreline.

The building behind Di used to be a railroad depot and is now a railroad and ferry museum.

This is how Sam's Cafe looked from Main Street...

...but it is a whole other world on the outer wooden deck - and that is its attraction. You can see the deck over the water in the middle of the photo below.

Busy, busy around 11am when we arrived. It is so different to Australia in terms of skin cancer awareness as there was no shade whatsoever anywhere out on that deck. Apparently there never is, even in the height of summer. That would never happen in Oz.

We smeared on SPF50 sun screen, Hans borrowed Di's New York Yankees baseball cap and then we hoped for the best as we soaked in the atmosphere.

We ordered two classical brunch dishes, eggs Benedict with ham and salmon, hash and poached eggs and shared both portions between us. Di got into the spirit with a a Mimosa too.

The dishes were all quite good and tasty, but perhaps not fantastic. Service was excellent as usual in the U.S.

Full and happy, next we queued up for the 12.45pm ferry from Tiburon Wharf to Pier 41 in San Francisco.

So were a lot of other people. As well as many people exiting the ferry from town. Must be a weekend.

A sparkling sunny glittering day on the Bay and Di is happy.

From Pier 41, we wandered roughly towards O'Farrell Street, with 2 hours before we were due to pick up our car.

Along the way we managed to find another piece of Lombard Street which culminated in Pioneer Park. The main feature of that park is Coit Tower, a name that triggered a few Australian jokes.

Yes, we speculated whether Lillie Hitchcock Coit could have been Russell's wife (non-Australian probably should not even attempt to understand the joke). Di got it though.

Ha, who would have thought that coyotes would have found themselves to a hilltop park in the middle of San Francisco, but clearly some had given this warning sign in Pioneer Park.

This is NOT Lombard Street but in San Francisco there are many steep streets to keep you fit and we liked this one, as did others. Filbert Street looking west.

Down towards what we thought would be Chinatown but first we seemed to have hit the entertainment district (more for adults...). Broadway Street but it would soon cross Grant Avenue which is...

Chinatown looked all fun and we will probably explore a bit more maybe in the dark to see the neon signs (although there are definitely areas around there that looked like they would be downright dodgy after dark).

Finally into Chinatown and we felt at home...again.

Di spotted the "House of Dim Sum" so we had to investigate.

And try...what a bargain. 4 mixed pieces of your choice, including prawn and chive dumplings, for $3. Delicious.

So we went back for a second helping and the Chinese woman behind the counter was laughing at us.

And as usual we were the only Caucasians among the Chinese. Why does that happen so often?

More wandering in the general direction of O'Farrell Street until we stumbled onto Union Square and knew we were close to Thrifty Car Rental (and only a block from our Mason Street accommodation when we return to San Francisco on Wednesday).

Hans booked a Wild Card deal which means Thrifty could give us almost any spare car, economy or better. So we got a huge SUV. Nice.

The Thrifty staff were charming, and yes we took damage insurance for the car this time in case of deer encounters (really, could we be that unlucky again?)

One thing that confuses us, and the Thrifty staff can't explain it either, is why the 2 car keys are permanently cabled together? If you lose one you lose both! The staff can't undo them either. We asked.

So we set out and Hans drove well without needing directions to the Golden Gate Bridge (too easy).

Hans was confident behind the wheel and liked driving across the bridge.

We laughed about the guys in the car ahead of us, who did the whole bridge with a hand stuck out of the window videoing the whole trip across the bridge.

Look closely on the front right side. Would they really go home to Nevada and watch all that footage again?

But then we made a mistake. We, like hundreds of others thought we should stop at Vista Point. Bad idea.

A traffic jam and way too touristy. Once we got through it we did not stop. Why fighting for a parking space with all these punters? Yuck.

So instead we headed through a tunnel up to the Marin Headland through a tunnel. Far more interesting.

And better views too! Background people, background.

What a day! San Francisco at its best.

Lots of shipping still comes under the Golden Gate and heads in and out between the headlands to the Pacific.

Our hire car posed too. It is a Chevrolet Equinox by the way.

We were back at Vineet's place before 5pm, parked our rental car outside and had a cup of tea followed by a shower followed by a cold beer. For Hans. And a couple more beers later.

Of course, Di cooked up a storm again and we had a lovely dinner together yet again.

Tomorrow, we will hit the road.

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