I’ve been so busy since returning from California on Monday that I’m not geared up for blogging with pics yet.
So I thought I would share my top tips before I forget them, as some are quite small but useful.
Number one recommendation: Go to Glide on Sunday morning.
Inspiring, moving and downright uplifting. I’m an atheist and I can tell you that it didn’t matter one bit. It’s the living example of compassion, tolerance and community I’ve ever seen. Marvellous singing from a choir as diverse as you would expect from San Francisco and some of the best voices singing Gospel I’ve ever heard. My friend Heather and I walked passed the Glide community centre to get to the church and it was sobering; some of the most desperate people you will see all queueing to get a shower and some breakfast. But it was real testament to the superb work this community does. Give generously when the collection comes round – these people deserve it. They podcast each week’s celebration, so here’s the one I went to. 5/19/2013 GLIDE Sunday Celebration
And the rest, in no particular order but just as I remember them:
Buy a visitor passport for the Muni, which is the system that runs all the buses and historic cable cars. A week’s pass is $28 and includes unlimited rides on the cable cars, which otherwise cost $6 a pop. You can buy the passports at Walgreens as well as Muni terminals.
On that note, don’t attempt to get on the Powell/Mason or Powell/Hyde cars anytime after about 11 a.m. You will queue. For a loooong time. Instead, ride them early OR ride the Van Ness/Market line up and down California. This passes by Grace Cathedral, so comfortably on the tourist routes but nowhere near as busy.
Grab a BART transfers booklet when you’re waiting for the BART (the underground system) at San Francisco airport. It has every single bus route in it and was 100% foolproof when planning how to get around. You are unlikely to use the BART itself again but the booklet is brilliant.
Enjoy your conversations with strangers. Everywhere we went, people were so open, welcoming and friendly in a way never experienced in Europe. Embrace it, enjoy it.
If you’re staying in Nob Hill (Miranda-like snigger permitted at any time), it’s worth going to MyMy for breakfast on California and Larkin. Don’t go after 9.30 on the weekend, as there will be the obligatory queues but weekdays or early it’s the perfect breakfast. Mind you, you don’t have to go far to get a great breakfast in San Francisco!
The Jazz Center won’t be in any tourist guides yet, as it opened a couple of months’ ago. Do go, even if you’re not going to a gig, as the bar has great staff, gorgeous wine and lovely food.
Don’t try to save dollars by seeing The Legion of Honour and the de Young in one day (you get a discount if you do). These are two fantastic museums, jam-packed with gorgeous stuff (including the biggest collection of Rodin sculptures outside Paris). They need time.
The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is spectacular. Even if you have just a couple of days, don’t miss it.
Oh, an finally, go visit the bar my cousin works in – 15 Romolo. In the alleyway right next to the Beat Museum, it’s a real find. Unusual cocktails and great bar food.
I’m looking forward to spending Sunday editing photos…when a holiday starts with one’s bartender cousin making the perfect Mai Tai, you know it’s going to be lively!