Amtrak Trip Across the U.S. - Fall 2013
San Francisco on the #LeylaExpress - Palace Hotel, Ferry Building, America's Cup, and Vesuvio Cafe
The train pulled into Emeryville at 8:10 a.m. and I hopped on the Amtrak Thruway Bus Service to the Financial District. I got off at a curbside bus stop and walked 6 blocks to the Palace Hotel (it should've only been 4 blocks, of course I went the wrong way, I'm an idiot when it comes to simple directions). I was extremely tired from my journey, but thankfully I was able to check-in early. Lucky for the front-desk clerk, because that early check-in probably saved his life, I don't think I could've been responsible for my actions should I have been made to wait. The free wifi I received was also greatly appreciated.
I chilled out for a while in my comfy room; I laid around in my fluffy, king sized bed and enjoyed temperature control for the first time in days - the train is either too hot or too cold. After a few hours, I got up, I took a hot and very long shower - although I love train travel, showering on a train is no treat. Next, I took my time getting ready, and for the first time in over a week, I did my hair and make up. After using a tiny train mirror that ginormous hotel mirror felt like an extreme luxury. Around 1:00 p.m., I left my hotel room and ventured into the city. I was excited as this was my first visit to San Francisco.
The America's Cup
I wandered towards the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building. I bought some dried cherries, nuts, and other items I could eat on the go. I talked to some people out by the pier, I snapped a bunch of pictures (over 300+ photos to be exact). And then, I slowly started to meander towards the America's Cup area.
The America's Cup "park", or whatever they called it, was amazing, and it was a perfect day for sailing / boating / yachting. This experience was so unlike anything in the Midwest, or the horrible boating culture I am accustomed to in Chicago. No offense friends, there really is no comparison. But I imagine the America's Cup brings a certain level of wealth, sophistication and high-brow-ness that San Francisco doesn't experience on any given day either. In any case, The America's Cup was park area was very enjoyable, I drank champagne and ate oysters in the middle of the afternoon while pretending to understand what the boats were doing. I believe I even had the whities fooled.
Getting Lost in San Francisco
On my return, I didn't take the pier / waterfront back to the hotel, I made my way up the streets and took the long way. I figured I'd find my way back along the side streets. As far as I'm concerned, getting lost is the only way to travel. I do my best to get lost - often. I mean, when else does one have the time to get lost other than vacation?
I walked a bit through China Town (or at least that's what my travel notes say, frankly, I don't believe that's accurate, but who am I to argue with myself). I kept walking and took more photos, apparently I spent over an hour taking photos on my walk back - see all of my San Francisco photos on my Flickr account.
Suddenly, I came across Vesuvio Cafe, and I liked the looks of it. It seems I was in North Beach standing outside the bar where "beat" poetry was invented, had I still been in my 20s, I would've cared. But, I liked the colors and I wanted to get a good photo, so started backing up to capture the building in it's entirety, I wanted the whole shot. I backed up more, and more, and more, until I found myself cornered in a small alleyway across the street from Vesuvio Cafe.
See my #LeylaExpress San Francisco Set on Flickr
Read more #LeylaExpress posts on my blog