Already in the bus on the way from the airport to the hotel Zephyr (I really recommend for the stay – the perfect hotel in the perfect place) the crew start making plans how to use their 48 hours in San Francisco. I’m not involved in the conversation, just watching the way out of the window in silence, reflecting my own plans in my mind. This is my fourth visit, and all the trips to Sausalito and Napa Valley that my colleagues are considering I’ve done already. Moreover, I’m sure that I will enjoy my last date with my favorite city just solo, by myself. Only me and San Francisco…
It is early in the morning, so my first steps lead just one gate further to the iHop bar, where they serve a legendary American breakfast 24 hours a day – eggs in all ways, fried bacon, puffed maple syrup pancakes, French toasts, waffles and endless coffee. After such a breakfast I feel I need to walk it out, so I decide to book one of the many Fisherman Wharf’s bikes for a whole day ($ 30 for 24 hours). Crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge on the bike is said to be an experience without which you cannot just leave San Francisco. Many tourists take bicycles and go for trips to the other side of the bridge, where the charming town of Sausalito lies. My plan, however, is the hidden Kirby Cove Beach. It is also located on the other side of the bridge, but on its left, more hilly side.
In the rental company, I get an old city bike with a basket, but in good condition. And I’m glad they’re not forcing me to take a helmet, too. I get on my old-school bike and follow the cycle path around the coast to the famous bridge. Outside is a beautiful, pleasant, sunny late summer weather. Fisherman Wharf and all the parks in the area are full of people with their heads up. The spectacular Air Force show is taking place in a clear blue sky, and it is also a wonderful weekend where Americans like to spend outside. After a while, I stop seeing why bikes are so popular in San Francisco. The steep streets of the city give my seating muscles a hard time. But as soon as I reach the Golden Gate Bridge, I stop moaning to enjoy the beautiful view. The bridge is quite long, but the worst work-out is still ahead of me. The bridge leads to the edge of a steep hill that needs to be climbed first so I can enjoy the ride spirally down to the Kirby Cove Camp, where the picturesque beach is located. By the time I finally cross the gates of the camp, I’m pretty red in my face. I did not expect such a warm-up. There are a few American campers in the camp. A group of young people are sitting in a circle on the beach and having a cheerful discussion. In the bushes I see a few “parked” bikes. So I’m not the only brave! However, I am the only one who has reached this place on the city bike and not on the outdoor bike like the others! I enjoy the beach, sit on the wooden stump, absorb the atmosphere and recharge. The sun is slowly setting down and there is still not easy way back ahead of me, but the atmosphere was definitely worth the hard work…
When I arrive totally destroyed to the hotel, I meet colleagues in the lobby who are just gathering for dinner. I grab last energy left and decide to join them. We head to seafood restaurant at the Ghirardeli Candy Square (where the famous chocolate and ice cream was once made, and where a chocolate factory takes the place till nowadays). Fortunately, the restaurant is located just a few blocks from the hotel… The next day I feel my butt so bad, that although I have paid for bike until 4pm, I rather go to get it back before the time. Today I prefer to walk. I walk through the crazy Little Italy and China Town, which are particularly busy today. In Little Italy, all the restaurants put their tables out into the streets, in the China Town I run into Chinese markets where you can find anything possible. Roads are closed for cars today and the streets are full of people. And there is an endless parade with a float with a stage in its head. The rock band and Elvis Presley imitator is followed by a float with all American Misses, then cheerleaders, marching band, veteran cars etc… just everything possible what represents America. In a while I’m on my way to Zigzag Lombard Street, where you get a beautiful view of the iconic steep Russian Hill street, which you might know from the posters. Then I head to Union Square, where I buy my favorite Kiehl‘s facial products at Westfield. And from there I take the bus as close as possible to Baker Beach…
I consider Baker beach to be one of the most beautiful beaches in San Francisco. From here it is one of the most beautiful views of the sunset and Golden Gate Bridge. The beach is basically located opposite Kirby Cove, before entering the bridge, on its left. It is quite extensive and there are a lot of people, although the weather is not good for swimming. Some are picnicking or playing beach volleyball, and a few brave ones are bathing in the cold sea. With sunset, more and more visitors come with a camera in hand. I also spotted few newlyweds with a professional photographer behind them who came here to take romantic photos for their wedding album. And among them, barefoot, free and happy myself… When the sun slowly begins to set down, I sing in my mind: “Goodbye my San Francicsco…”