Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Dude looks like a lady!

San Francisco this morning, the weather is warmer or at least clearer and we set out for breakfast in Washington Square. Sitting in the sun, it's easy to forget how cold it was yesterday.  Today's plan is to visit Lombard Street, described as 'the crookedest street in the world' where the road zigzags down this steep hill between gardens planted with purple and pink hydrangeas. We wisely start at the top (having walked up a parallel street) and walk down. So much of this city is a hill that there is always a climb involved somewhere.
And then, my treat - a cable car ride through the city to Market Street. It was just as I had imagined - like a roller coaster down the hills and all the clanking and bells. I was having a whole 'Meet me at St Louis' moment in completely the wrong city. Love that song, Judy! 
Market Street has the sort of shops that number 4 loves but it also contains the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art so three out of the four of us happy and the other one saying: "Not shops and art galleries again!" Anyway he survived. 
And then the must-do event for my Mrs Doubtfire-obsessed family - a visit to 2640 Steiner Street where Robin Williams' family live in the film. The taxi driver was bemused by our request but dropped us outside in the house in the middle of a quiet residential area. Two teenage girls were also taking pictures - the only other sign of Doubtfire worship and yes, they were English. Photographs taken, especially to send to number 2 child who can recite the whole film from memory and we set off to walk to Little Italy for supper. This is a great place for people watching, sitting on the pavement (or sidewalk since we're here) and watching the world go by with a glass of red wine and some great pasta and then the worst cappuccino in the world - ah well, you can't have everything! 
This is our last day in San Francisco and we're going to bike the bridge - or at least that was the plan until we got to the bike hire place where the little hippy guy/surfer dude said that there was a 4 hour wait for the ferry on the other side to come back. Anyway he gave us a great biking trail to follow instead and we biked across the city to the Presidio park where the view across the bay including the Golden Gate Bridge is wonderful. We stopped to admire the view and met some delightful New Zealanders with whom we shared cricket and rugby chat - excellent. 
Then at almost the furthest point from the bike hire place, disaster struck. Number 3 had a flat back tyre. Not just a minor flat that you can bike on, this was more the inner tube hanging out and having no option but to push. And push we did, to three other bike places who couldn't or wouldn't fix our tyre, for over two hours until we reached Citizen Chain which was a really proper bike place (as well as a great name) where the guy who fixed our tyre was totally in awe of Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and the GB bike team and was an absolute hero to four weary bike-pushers. Anyway we biked back the rest of the way and the little hippy guy/surfer dude/bike hire man didn't charge us for one of the bikes so not such a bad result.
For our last night in San Francisco we went to my beloved's favourite restaurant which is like a little Italian canteen with fabulous food and a mercifully short distance from the Fairmont so only a stagger with very full bellies.

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