Around the World – Pacific Northwest USA (part 10) – San Francisco, California

Day 3 in San Francisco: Exploring Point Lobos and the Golden Gate Park

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After our breakfast at La Boulangerie de SF (yes, again), we took a 35-minute bus ride right from downtown towards Point Lobos. From there, we hiked the Eastern Coast Overlook Trail (yay, finally a clear view on the Golden Gate Bridge!) and visited the USS San Francisco Memorial. We also walked along with the immense Sutro Bath ruins. In 1966 it completely burned down to the ground, but it was a massive complex that could accommodate 10,000(!!) people. Some of the baths were filled via the tides, which still can be seen from the ruins. From the Cliff House, you had a great view of the Ocean Beach.

When strolling down towards the North West entrance of Golden Gate Park, we were welcomed by the Dutch Windmill and plenty of tulip beds. Also, the accompanying sign indicating what you can’t do in the park made us feel right back in The Netherlands…

We had taken the northerly John F. Kennedy Drive route past the Golden Gate Park golf course, bison paddock towards Spreckles Lake where we encountered some Dutch tourists on bike that – aside from the language of course – could be easily recognized due to the fact that they were one of the few tourists that didn’t wear their helmets. Next up was Lloyd Lake that had a waterfall with loads of foam at the bottom of the unnatural green-ish water.

Via the Stow Lake and the boathouse, we went to the California Academy of Sciences, which had some great and very informative displays on earthquakes, a planetarium, and a special exhibit on Pterosaurs and flight in the age of dinosaurs.

The highlight for us was a tropical biosphere with a slowly inclining circular walkway covering the entire rainforest from the rivers all the way up to the canopy. Very cool!

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The Steinhart aquarium also had some exciting animals we hadn’t seen before, like Four-Eyed Fishes and Sea Dragons.

The Japanese Tea Garden was next, as beautiful as we recalled.

Walking towards the exit on Fulton Street, there were plenty of sculptures around the De Young Museum.

Tired from walking all day, we wanted some informal and quick dinner. Based on online reviews, we settled on The Grove Yerba Buena (690 Mission St). It was a rather disappointing experience. The food was so-so and the servers rather unprofessional as they automatically punched in orders for the most substantial quantities without even asking, and they didn’t bother to call out that we could pick-up our beverages (which they should as only the food is served at the tables).

The Grilled Cheddar Cheeses that the kids ordered were okay. Chantal’s choice of The Grove Signature French Onion Soup wasn’t bad, but very sweet as if the caramelization of the onions was kickstarted with sugar and balsamic vinegar.

My choice was a Hot Pastrami on Jewish Rye, advertised as slow-cooked to juicy perfection. The pastrami itself tasted great, but it was too bad that the other half of the 10oz serving consisted of fat and un-rendered connective tissue. It did say on the menu that a limited amount is made each day, but this just seemed like serving leftovers. I didn’t feel like going back for more bad service, so I actually picked off the edible parts of pastrami by hand. This was met with some disgust by Chantal and provided the kids with the opportunity to eat all my Kettle Chips. At least the dill pickle and beers (Saint Archer White Ale and San Francisco Brewing Co. Broadway IPA) were nice…

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