Before my friends and I could head into San Francisco, we needed a coffee stop to become more human. After camping for the last couple of days and getting some odd hours sleeping cramped in our little rental car, we needed the caffeine and a restroom.
We stopped at the Sausalito Bakery & Cafe, a couple minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. After some coffee and a hobo shower (using the bathroom sink to clean ourselves up as best we could) it was time to try and get a good shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I’d done some research (of course) and seen the best place to get an overhead shot was the Battery Spencer. It was early morning and so, so cold! Because of the morning – or the cold? – the bridge was basically completely covered in fog. I knew this was a common occurrence in San Francisco, but it was really messing up my desired shots! Still they ended up looking pretty eerie.
Putting a pause on the bridge shot, we headed off in search of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which would be one of the stops we needed in our passport stamp collection. Looking for this area, we ended up crossing the Golden Gate Bridge three separate times. While this should be fun, it got us pretty frustrated. It turned out we were already in the area, so our sleep deprivation was at work.
The sun was coming out, so we headed to Fort Point, not only another National Park site, but also a great view of the bridge from below. This was actually a pretty cool fort because it was one big building of different rooms, rather than the usual plot of land laid out with several small buildings. It was located right at the base of the bridge, so it was also way more crowded than the previous forts I’d visited.
Along the coast, we finally got our Golden Gate Bridge shots! The fog had cleared, the sun was out, and it was an incredible sight to see. As with most big city icons, after a visit it’s usually easy to see why they remain such an impressive landmark. It definitely lifted our mood!
At this point we were way past ready for a warm meal, so we ventured into San Francisco for brunch. I’d read up on how long the wait lines could be on the weekends, so I’d picked a spot that looked good and you could make a reservation. Driving through the city, we passed a dozen or so long lines outside little restaurants, so I was glad we were able to walk right into ours, Fiore Caffe.
It was almost time to head out to to our departure flight in San Jose, but we had about half an hour left to check out the Castro District. Driving there was a great experience because of all the cute colorful homes and the insane hills you travel up and down. It’s full of great street photography and people watching!
Originally, we thought we maybe wanted some souvenirs but after spotting Dog Eared Books, I knew where to head. We passed the iconic Castro Theater on our walk and of course a lot of rainbows because Castro is legendary in the LGBT community for the first openly gay neighborhood in America. People were out and about, the colors were vibrant, and lots of shops had some pretty interesting items for sale (haha).
But if you know me, you know I love bookshops, especially if they have a resale collection. Dog Eared Books was worth the time. They had a very good selection and because we were at the Castro location, they’d curated it to promote interesting gay and transgender voices. They also had a substantial wiccan selection and feminism selcetion. I looked at books I’d never heard of before. I didn’t have much room in my carry-on backpack so I was able to leave with only a sticker.
This brief pitstop in the city was a great end to my Redwoods trip. After exploring nature, it was nice to come back into the manmade world and still feel in awe. I know I will definitely have to head back to San Francisco because I only scratched the surface of all they’ve got to offer!