Welcome to the Golden State!

Days: 2         

Total distance travelled: 12,675.5 kilometres (7,872.98 miles)

Friday 27th June 2015 (for the 2nd time)

It may well be called, however we were certainly in any state but golden when we finally alighted our flight after 14 hours across the Pacific Ocean.

I’m normally fine to get by on sheer adrenaline for that first long day and Sarah can normally sleep anywhere, but after our boarding ordeal, Sarah was paranoid we’d still be turned away at the border and as such, only managed a couple of hours sleep.

As such, what presented itself to the US customs officials, were 2 rather bleary eyed Australians (who passed through customs with no difficulty)!

My first glimpse of the US on the distant horizon

My first glimpse of the US on the distant horizon

Perhaps given that most international flights appear to channel through LAX, we were presented with a relatively quiet airport which aided our quick transition through passport control and customs.

It wasn’t long before we found ourselves on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train system, speeding towards San Francisco proper and our lodging for the following 5 nights, the Sweden House Hotel.

We’d had major difficulties trying to find a hostel in the Bay area that had either dorms/rooms available, but would also allow a male over the age of 31 to stay in their mixed dorms (for females it appears there is no age limit).

So that is how we’d settled for this place. It was old, probably once had real charm, but had certainly seen better days.

But the room was clean and secure enough, that was all we truly needed.

Our goal now was to stay awake as long as possible, to get our bodies used to the new timezone, and also try and limit the affects of any possible jet lag.

So to do that, as usual, we hit the pavement (or should that be sidewalk now that we’re in the States?)

First sights of the bay and the Bay Bridge

First sights of the bay and the Bay Bridge

Our meanderings took us further than we could have asked or expected, especially in our exhausted state (we mostly kept to the flats at this time, as our legs were fairly travel weary) and we managed to take in my first sights of the bay from the Ferry terminal, and with it, the iconic Bay Bridge (I was still itching for the Golden Gate however), and an Alcatraz under threat from encroaching fog (despite the fact that this was a warm and sunny afternoon).

It also meant that an dreams I had of seeing the Golden Gate on this first day were shattered, as that end of the bay was completely blanketed by a thick wall of fog!

Alcatraz, ready to be consumed by fog...

Alcatraz, ready to be consumed by fog…

There was nothing for it, but to keep walking, and despite it being the wrong time of the year, we did catch a couple of sea lions at the famous Pier 39 before deciding to keep rolling with the clichés and feeding ourselves up on some Clam Chowder.

I actually enjoyed it much more than I was expecting, and although it was a bit on the salty side, the creamy morass served in a crusty cob loaf certainly hit the spot (although we possibly could have shared on between us, it did mean that no dinner was now required).

Tucking into my first Clam Chowder!

Tucking into my first Clam Chowder!

We were pretty spent by this point, so what better way to consume any remaining energy, but to climb some hills!

There was a purpose however, as we figured we were well into tourist cliché country by now, so why not keep going. So go on we did, until we hit the famous Lombard Street.

The crazy switch backs (complete with cars and crowds) of Lombard Street

The crazy switch backs (complete with cars and crowds) of Lombard Street

I’d be stretching the truth if I said we were in bed after the sun went down (hey, at this time of the year it doesn’t set until after 8:30pm) but we’d given ourselves a pretty good chance of getting ourselves into the Pacific Coast timezone, ready to tackle our first full day in the USA!

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3 Responses to Welcome to the Golden State!

  1. Yay, you made it! Finding somewhere pleasant and affordable in SF is always difficult. And then there’s always the fog to deal with. Enjoy anyway! ~Terri

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Terri!

      Wonderful city, will show you what we got upto when I catch up on several posts!!

    • Chris says:

      I really enjoyed the micro-climate that San Francisco offered (the sunny hot days, tempered by cool winds and fog reminded me of Melbourne… ok, we lack the fog!)

      A great city for us to kick off our travels in 🙂

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