Hello dear reader, as promised this week I will be talking about the fun trip to San Francisco that the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) International Student Office took us on after orientation, on January 8, 2015.
We met at 8:00 a.m. (ack!) at the Junior College and after a brief delay to pick up one student by the fairgrounds as his taxi didn’t show up, were zooming towards San Fran in two white vans (we self selected ourselves into a boy’s van and a girl’s van, which I thought was funny!). I was elated to be given co-pilot duties so I got to ride shotgun. Woot woot! It is about an hour’s drive from Santa Rosa to San Francisco, and reasonably scenic in places as well, going through some rural areas around Petaluma and other parts of Sonoma county, then through the rarefied air of Marin County (one of America’s top ten richest counties, with an average annual income of $128,544), then after going through the Rainbow Tunnel you see the Golden Gate Bridge coming up before you. Here we stopped at the Golden Gate Recreation Area for one of many photo opportunities. The light wasn’t the best at that time to get the bridge in the shot but it was still a beautiful view!
With my new buddies from orientation, Patti and Melissa, in the morning on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge
Once we arrived in town we drove through the pretty marina district along the waterfront and parked near Fisherman’s Wharf, where we took more group photos before going to see the sea lions as a group.
Peg Saragina, the directress of the international student program, (in red on the left) was one of our wonderful tour guides and very fond of group shots. Here is our Pier 39 group shot! Photo credit: SRJC International Student Program Facebook Page
The awesome, fun sea lions at Pier 39. They haven’t disappointed me yet! (okay I have only been to see them twice, but still – credit where credit’s due! Hee!)
We passed this place on the way to Pier 39, it’s called Boudin Bakery and they make bread animals in the window and one of the bakers wears headphones and exhorts you to come inside to sample their wares. On the left is the burnt end of a giant bread alligator’s tail!
Then we were free to go off on our own for about 4 hours. I walked to Telegraph Hill and climbed up to Coit Tower with a few other students, all the while on the lookout for wild parrots, having recently watched the documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. They tend to hide in people’s backyards though, so it’s not that easy to just see them while on the public parts of the hill.
For some reason, this is the only picture I seem to have taken on the way up and down from Coit Tower!
I then went off on my own on foot back towards the Marina district, as I wanted to go to this new vegan restaurant I had read about called Seed + Salt. On the way I went through the zig zaggy bit of Lombard Street and stopped at XOX Truffles for a chocolate infusion.
The view west down a hill from Chestnut Street, on my way to lunch.
I got a very brief chance to practice my French when I stopped into this truffle shop, XOX Truffles, on my way to the Marina district from Coit Tower. They have 3 flavors of vegan truffles, chocolate, orange and coconut. If you buy a coffee you get a free truffle! (a good deal as the coffee is very reasonably priced)
An interesting tree that I spotted outside of an elementary school on my walk! Anyone know what it is?
I liked the purple flowers in front of this house. How cool would it be to have these outside your window at home?
After enjoying a delicious vegan Eggplant BLT (the bacon is made with eggplant) and some free cookie samples at Seed + Salt and getting some cauliflower couscous salad to take home for later, I walked back to meet my group along the waterfront. I wished I had had more time to hang out on Chestnut Street in the Marina district where the restaurant was but sadly I had to go. There is a very funky, upscale vibe there and I particularly liked the yarn bombed tree in front of Seed + Salt which was done in all my favourite fluorescent colours.
My lunch at Seed + Salt! This was an Eggplant BLT made with gluten free bread that was actually crusty and good and ‘bacon’ made from eggplant. I also took home a great cauliflower couscous salad (the cauliflower was the couscous) with sumac dressing.
I wandered around Fort Mason on the way back, as Mark Bittner, the parrot expert had recommended that as a good place to see the wild parrots. However, while it was interesting and pleasant with the vast tracts of grass and huge trees, still no parrots. I did hear many other birds though.
Looking for wild parrots at Fort Mason…no luck…boo-hoo!!!
Then I stopped at a beach in the ‘Aquatic Cove’ where I watched birds for a while and was amazed to see a man swimming. There is a swimming club and a rowing club next to this beach.
On the drive back we were offered to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge! I never expected to get that opportunity! What a treat for a walking enthusiast like me!
On the way home we were offered the opportunity to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge! I was the only one who took it literally though and everyone had to wait for me (whoops – sorry!). It was about a 3 mile return trip. I did a lot of walking on this day!
Lime Point Lighthouse, on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. My international student office friend told me her son had to go and camp there with his class and pretend to be guarding the land behind it as part of a class historical field trip! Scary!
The Golden Gate bridge is the second most second-most used suicide site in the world, after the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge in China. The deck is 245 feet above the water and it takes 4 seconds to get there. Only 5% who jump survive the initial impact. (Wikipedia)
The view towards San Francisco from the from the bay facing side of the Golden Gate Bridge (the side facing the Pacific is closed to pedestrians)
I think this is a pelican? I wish my camera had a better zoom lens!
View towards Marin County from the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco – je t’aime! I hope we will meet again soon!
Thank you to the SRJC International Student Office for making this lovely day possible!