After LA, San Diego, and the Pacific Highway, I was finally on a Greyhound bus from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. 9 hours on a shiny silver bus, the last leg of my California trip. It made me feel a bit like I was on a Kerouac-like adventure. My bag, my destination and no plan ahead of me but discover the city of Frisco the best way I could. So full of life, culture, history, architecture, best of all worlds; grown up but cheeky, relaxing and comforting (despite the unpredictable weather and the prices!). Soon it would become one of my favourite cities in the world.
As I arrived in the city, also known as the Fog City (I would discover why a few days later), I walked to my hostel. This time I chose the, amazing to say the least, Hostelling International San Francisco Downtown, with its colourful rooms and full service, right around the corner from Union Square and the world famous Chinatown. It was the first time I was provided with shampoo, shower gel, and conditioner at a hostel! Thumbs up! 👍
All checked-in, I headed to my room. I soon would meet my roomies for the next few days, an super nice Aussie guy and a couple of Korean girls. Aussie and I decided to check out the area and find a place to eat. We found this Asian restaurant around the corner, ordered a bit of all, and started to plan the following days of our stay in the Paris of the West (Check this interesting post found on SFist about the possible origins of the nickname “the Paris of the West”).
For the next couple of days we explored the city together, we even ran into one of those funny looking Google cars, and acquainted ourselves with the seals swimming in the Bay, among many other cool things. But for now I’ll leave you here with our(my) first impressions of San Francisco.
After strolling through Chinatown, we found ourselves heading towards the corner of Broadway St. and Columbus Ave. Where to you may ask. To the famous City Lights Booksellers (261 Columbus Ave.) of course.
City Lights Booksellers is a bookshop and publishing company made known to the world by the controversial trial for obscenity of Ferlinghetti after he published Allan Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems in 1956. It was made a Landmark not so long ago and it has a very relaxing and a homey atmosphere. They also organise regular events, which anyone can attend. You can find more information on their web.
City Lights booksellers is also conveniently located across the street from the Beats museum (on Broadway ave.). Here you’ll find exposed some of the first scripts of many works by Kerouac and co., photos, history, everything one could possibly may want to know about the Beats (or Kerouac more in particular). It was well worth it. A must-see if you are as much a literature buff as me. And it only costs USD$5 if you have a student ID with you.
After roaming around the bookstore and visiting the Beats Museum, we walked down Union St. towards Telegraph Hill for some breath-taking views of the bay. Oh but wait, there’s no wonderful views or Telegraph Hill without…yeah those famous San Francisco hills. Who needs a gym right?
And from the hills it is easy to reach the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf. From there you can catch the ferry to Alcatraz or just take a walk along the coast. There are the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fort Mason, and the Marina Green. Seals can also be spotted swimming carelessly on the bay. A nice afternoon stroll.
Food wise, San Francisco is amazing, there are cute little places everywhere. If i had known then that today I’d be writing this, i would have taken better note! Anyhow…next time right? Or even better, can you guys suggest eating places for my next trip to San Francisco? ^^