A new Tattoo and other Stories from San Francisco

Being a scientist has its positive and negative side, as everything. But apart from being a job that I love, I also love all the freedom that is connected to this job. Part of this is attending conferences all around the world. And I am really lucky, since my boss highly promotes his PhD students to attend conferences. So I could go to San Francisco last summer. Of course I took the chance and traveled around California afterwards. Together with my brazilian colleague Alex I did a California road trip.

The plan:

Cali

Even though I think I could also report a lot of interesting things about the conference, I directly start with the road trip…

Welcome to the Bay area:

The conference venue was close to the airport, so we were able to book a rental car at the airport and drop it off at the same place. I like driving a car and I also think that I drive quite well, nevertheless I was a little nervous. Cities like SF and LA are on a different scale than Berlin. Our rental turned out to be a semiautomatic Fiat 500. That´s very convenient when looking for a parking lot, but on an American highway with 5 lanes surrounded by huge pickup trucks (seriously, they are double the size of what we have in Germany) you feel tiny.

Since we had not too much time at every stop on our trip, we for sure missed some things. This is our selection of things to do in San Francisco:

1. Walk through Chinatown towards Telegraph Hill and Coit tower

Since this post is getting really long anyway, I try to keep it short. San Francisco has a good public transport system. So after a long day of walking in the city center you can relax in the bus on your way home. Don´t forget sunscreen for the day and a jacket for the night!

Chinatown:

If I could I would buy a little bit of everything in these shops to try at home:

Flags (are a very not German thing so I kind of have this autofocus on them while taking photos):

Streetart:

Sometimes it is worth to have a look down:

I love bookstores! City lights bookstore is amazing. And I bought a travel guide there, that suggested me to go to… City lights bookstore (clever guys):

Walk up the hill:

Another flag. And Alcatraz in the background:

2. Bike tour to the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a little outside of San Francisco. But it is very simple to get there and on the other side of the bay by bike. It is best to start in the morning. Bike rentals are everywhere around Fisherman´s Wharf. Watch out, it´s going to be windy! But if you are lucky the sun comes out on the way there.

You see the destination all the way:

Bridge in the clouds:

Sun, sun, sun:

With Alex and Carla, I had such a fantastic time with you two!

3. Haight-Ashbury and Castro, and spontaneous ideas

You can surely proof me wrong, but SF is a little like Berlin. Every district is completely different and has its very own history. Haight-Asbury is the old hippie quarter and you can easily get some funny ideas when you´re walking around there. We had a good coffee in a nice little shop and a good time walking around on empty streets (4th of July). The same was true for Castro, the center of LGBT activism in SF.

Streetview in Haight-Ashbury:

It´s a match!

Spontaneous ideas and cat whiskers (you know what I mean?):

I love coffee:

Here we have another flag. A little different one in Castro… be open minded 🙂

Rainbow pedcrossing:

4. Alcatraz

Let´s go to jail. To visit Alcatraz you have to book a ticket in advance. It´s easily done online, but don´t forget it! On the island you get an audio guide and I have to say the tour is worth it. Somehow it was really cloudy that day.

Alcatraz as seen from the ferry:

Inside:

5. Short stop at Balmey Alley and Lombard Street

On our last day in SF we did two more small stops. Both are definitely worth to spend more time there…

Balmey Alley in Mission District:

Lombard Street:

Next stop, next entry: Yosemite national park!

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