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Day 160-204, 18Dec08 – 31Jan09: San Francisco. Part1: a tour of SF

Ivana cycling the Golden gate BridgeIt has been a long time between updates, but this week we will be catching up a bit, so you can see where we have been this year, what happened with my knee and much more!

We spent about 6 weeks in and around San Francisco, a wonderful city in many ways. I will write a few posts about this as I want to share many pictures, so we will be hopping back and forth in time a bit 🙂

SF: entering and viewing the city

After crossing the Golden Gate we stuck to the shoreline, not only to avoid the heavy traffic, but also the steep hills! Yes, it is true: due to the fact that some smart city planner placed the standard grid-model on top of a hilly place, some of the roads are incredibly steep, a few more than 30%! Still the place is bicycle friendly, with bike lanes and-routes and off the main roads, the traffic is much more relaxed and there are many cyclists.

Kowalski & Golden gate Bridge Cyclist in SF

Touring SF

We had met our new host Mitch at a CouchSurfing meeting and he not only offered us a place to stay, but also took us on some city tours, so we could get an idea of the place. As he is a great photographer, we also finally got some images of ourselves!

Lombard Street, San Francisco Streetcar in San Francisco

Downtown San Francisco and Market street Alcatraz and a streetcar: SF


Views from the Twin Peaks (we summited :), the old but still running Streetcars and the famous Lombard Street, though it is not the curviest street nor the steepest, it is fun to go down it. We spent the evening playing ‘Rockband’ with Mitch, which was fun 🙂

Us and SFIvana & downtown SF

Us in SF (3) Lombard Street, San Francisco (2)


Later, in January, we spent some more time with Mitch. We drank Belgian beers, ate in Chinatown, walked to his friends house Downtown and we had some great ‘mate’ on one of the western beaches before dinner in a Burmese restaurant. SF is great, it is small enough to be able to cycle around, but every neighbourhood is different and there are many nice places to hang out or relax.

Golden Gate from West SFDownTown SF

Mate on the beach at sunsetSunset on SF beach

Culture & science

We also stayed a few days with Nate & Kim, who lived quite close to Mitch, also in the Latino-flavoured lively Mission District. Besides taking us to one of the best Mexican restaurants, we also took advantage of the free museum day in SF, visiting the small Yerba Buena, the huge MOMA and the tiny Cartoon Museum before heading back on the bus.

Harry and Ivana at the Yerba Buena MuseumLooking down at visitors in MOMA

MOMA roof, SFMOMA, SFIvana in MOMA, SF

Looking up at visitors in MOMA (2)Looking up at visitors in MOMA (3)


Ivana managed to get into the new Academy of Science Museum on the free Wednesday (otherwise $25), but when I arrived an hour later after seeing the doctor, the line was so long that it was no use. She enjoyed it a lot and will post pictures on her blog soon.

We also spent time (drinking Belgian beers) in Little Italy, Japan town, Chinatown and Bernal Heights; every part has its own culture and diversity of people and places, while being completely free of strip-malls and McDonalds and such, SF is a good as a US city gets.

Tomorrow, in the next part: pain, ethics and doctors, civil rights and microcredits!

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