San Francisco Day 3: Exploring Chinatown and the Hippie District

Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge

After such an eventful second day, I got up later on my third and final day in the hilly city. I ended up eating breakfast at the Fisherman’s Wharf, although not at the fancy Hollywood Diner, like I had imagined. The line was pretty horrendous, on a normal Friday morning, and therefore I decided on …. iHop. Yes, you may laugh out loud now. I’ve actually never had as much of an artificial-tasting breakfast than here, so I would not recommend them to anyone.

Artificial-looking strawberry
Artificial-looking strawberry

Since I was craving an iconic view, I trekked up all the way to Coit Tower. Trust me, ‘twas quite a steep and hilly way up there. I have no clue why I wanted to do this, since I didn’t even pay entrance to the legendary tower. But the view over parts of the city and towards the bridge was still quite nice. If you want to exhaust yourself early-on in the day, this is the right place to do so. I somehow managed to not step into anyone’s backyard on my way down, a great success quota already since the path can lead you past private residencies and other quirks. Oh California, how I love you for your fancy flower gardens!

The steep climb up
The steep climb up
Views from Coit Tower
Views from Coit Tower

Once on common soil, I moved on to Chinatown. Here, I watched street musicians play and got lost in a small bookstore. I also walked through a few back alleys and ended up in front of a tiny store. A few elderly Chinese ladies were kneading the dough for fortune cookies. I had to pay $1 in order to get this shot, but it was well worth it and one lady even handed me a handful of fortune cookies (which probably would have been much cheaper than getting them in the store).

Chinatown
Chinatown
Fortune-Cookie Fairy
Fortune-Cookie Fairy

While in the neighborhood, I also walked a few blocks over and took a peek at the cable car museum. It’s free and there are a lot of impressive machines, which was certainly worth the hour I spent here. Debating on whether or not I should spend my hard-earned money on Christmas souvenirs in cable-car-form, I finally decided against it and moved into an entirely different direction.

Cable Car Museum
Cable Car Museum
Fancy Xmas decoration
Fancy Xmas decoration

One of the last things on my list had been the Golden Gate Park. This Park, despite its deceiving name, is nowhere close to the Golden Gate Bridge. I think if I had gone night-photographing here instead of at the other locations, I probably would have been gravely disappointed. But during day time it was a nice area to be in. I started off close to the Botanical Garden and got some peaceful flower pictures. I then moved south and soon enough was in a somewhat seedy-looking area. Somehow I managed to just walk past it and landed in the “Hippie district”: Haight-Ashbury. Even though I had wanted to take a bus or walk to the Twin Peaks from there, I quickly decided against it after taking an educated guess over the public transport situation once again. It also seemed that I would have to crawl up another giant hill in order to get a fantastic view of the city, and I kind of had enough of hiking for the day. Another reason to come back, since I really want to see this scenic panorama.

Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park

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Haights
Haights

In the Haights, I ate another burrito and then bought myself a new pair of sunglasses. Why not, in one of the sunniest cities of the planet? On that day I was also rewarded with one of the most beautiful golden hours. What magnificent lighting! I guess one of the things I can see people missing when moving out of San Fran is the excellent sun one hour before sunset. It’s pretty powerful and makes everything so much more worth it than a grey and dreary East Coast Day.

Golden Hour in the Golden City
Golden Hour in the Golden City

For my night adventure, I picked out the Bay Bridge as my prime subject. I was intrigued by it and the nearby Ferrymarket.

IMG_2156edit

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This is also where my friend picked me up and we drove over to the Mission District. She had some pretty yummy Asian food with me before we were off to the Beauty Bar and another, this time overcrowded taco bar in the middle of Little Tex-Mex. I probably didn’t stay out longer than 1am, so I was able to catch a bus back to the hotel (yeah, busses did indeed run on schedule in the middle of the night). My last day and night had come to an end and I had to get up early to catch my flight to yet another beautiful city: Seattle, another West Coast Dream in the making!

Korean Food to end it all
Korean Food to end it all
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