This is the story of my 6 months of studying in Arizona in 2010 and subsequent travels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 6 and 7 - ♪ "If you're going to Saaaaan Fraaaaanciscooooo"... ♬

January 4th and 5th.

After a night sleeping heavily in our home-stay/hostel beds in Merced, we were woken up by Larry 7.15 knocking on the door to announce that breakfast was ready. So we went to the kitchen and enjoyed toast with butter and jam and coffee and tea plus a few fruits we brought in from the car. While eating we got a few more stories about Larry’s life, very cozy. :)

A bit past 8 we took off towards San Francisco using Larry’s road suggestions instead of the GPS. It took us around 3 hours to get there on comfortable roads and pleasant weather. Again the landscape was incredible, with wine and fruit fields along the road sides. And then we reached the bay area, spotting the ocean between the hills. We crossed the Bay Bridge, past Fisherman’s Warf, and found our way to the hostel where we had called to reserve what turned out to be the last two beds of 130. Sweet! It was a gorgeous area in a park on the top of a hill, and we were very excited to walk around the area where we could easily spot the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

We had lunch in the sun in the park, consisting of break, cream cheese, turkey, and salad purchased in a supermarket in Merced. Afterwards we walked down towards Golden Gate, and met up with my friend Diana, whom I know from UA. We went to a café, then drove to the bridge, to the Golden Gate Park, and then through the city to get an idea of the layout. Back home in the hostel we we’re resting a bit, and then went back to the city to find dinner. Turned out to be in a Chinese place, very tacky, but cheap and delicious. Then around to Polk Street and all its little restaurants – super atmosphere! We walked rather far, at least that was what we found out the day after when we checked the map. Anyway, we went back towards the hostel, and stopped in a restaurant for a cup of hot chocolate. That night we were both really happy to have our earplugs, as at least 2 of our 6 roommates were snoring…

Breakfast was in the hostel café with the bay view, and the meal consisted of a bagel with jam, juice, coffee and tea. We added cream cheese from lunch the day before, and then got ready to head to Alcatraz. We had book the trip online to be sure to get tickets, as apparently the trips sell our early. 9.30 AM and we were off on a 15 min. boat trip to The Rock, where we spent some hours touring the old prison. It was a great experience. First we watched a short documentary about the place, and then followed the audio tour around the buildings. It was really well made, and an interesting insight into the prison’s younger days. The audio tour included spoken statements from former guards and prisoners, and that had a really powerful effect while we were walking around the old prison cells.

The weather was great again today, and we enjoyed the sandwiches we brought from the hostel in the sun while waiting for the boat back to the city. Afterwards we spent several hour walking around, taking in the atmosphere, checking out shops and churches, and climbing the STEEP hills of the city. Such amazing views from the top, and incredible that people manage to park their cars on these streets…! Around 3.30 we got hungry, and headed back towards the hostel, hoping to find a place to eat on the way. It ended up being a Mexican place on Polk, where Helene had a humongous burrito and I got a tortas. Yum! So afterwards we were soo full that we rolled back. I got a blister on my foot in my new hiking boots, so I went back to the hostel while Helene picked up a few groceries.

I hate to admit that we totally wasted that last evening in San Francisco, but we were just both SO tired. We slept around 9 PM, though I claimed to the other people in the room that I was not sleeping, just resting…

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