I need hardly start with an account of the weather. Despite repeated warnings of rain this was yet another bright, clear day. Equally predictably, we would have had a long wait for the MUNI bus on Fulton had we not decided to press on by foot. At Scott we mounted the steps into Alamo Square where, not for the first time, we marvelled at the very San Franciscan dog play area in the park. One of our guides on Janet’s birthday bus tour had informed us that there were more dogs in the city than children, and we have no reason to dispute that assertion. Moreover, they are treated royally, not only with their grooming parlours, retail stores and cemeteries but this lush spot of green and glade. And how they seemed to enjoy the privilege! There must have been at least 20 cavorting and canoodling whilst their owners caught up on the local gossip.
Cutting back onto Hayes we caught a no.21 bus to Powell and Market where we waited for a cable car. We mounted a Powell and Hyde car this time, disembarking at the top of “the crookedest street” on Lombard. With this being our llast full day we were unashamedly being “touristy”, walking, rather than driving, down the street and into North Beach.
Taking one last look at, and photo of, Club Fugazi, home of the wonderful Beach Blanket Babylon, we walked onto Columbus Avenue searching for a lunch venue. We eventually tried Caffe Puccini, and a good choice it was as both my chicken foccacia and Janet’s eggplant sandwich testified.
We strolled back through Grant Avenue in Chinatown, where Janet committed an uncharacteristic extravagance by buying a lovely set of matching turquoise bracelet, earrings and necklace, though she did balance the books somewhat by purchasing just one pair of shoes at DSW Shoes in Union Square. Whilst she was drooling over her favourite San Francisco store I slipped into the Rasputin record store a few doors down Powell and bought, after negotiating the bizarre lift from the second to fourth floor, Jefferson Airplane‘s Thirty Seconds over Winterland and a New Riders of the Purple Sage DVD and CD package.
We caught the F Streetcar back from Powell (the one from Milan which has a really interesting interior) to Fisherman’s Wharf in oder to collect the car we had hired from Dollar for our final 24 hours in San Francisco.
But first we were both in need of a cold drink, and not just any cold drink but one from Starbucks. Now, I am not the company’s greatest fan – I find the coffee too weak and milky – but I love their cold concotions, especially a coffee frappuccino, though, having sampled Janet’s strawberry smoothie on this occasion, I might be converted.
We picked up the car and returned to the apartment to finish packing (Janet) and complete the day’s diary entry (me), before getting ready to go out for our final meal. Last year, when we stayed in Hayes Valley, we had intended to frequent Hayes Street Grill but never did. We made up for this time and, arriving after the ballet crowd had left, we found it quiet, well apart from the two couples on the adjoining table who were American equivalents of what we call in Britain “hooray Henrys”. It was worth the wait, however, and certainly one of the best meals of the vacation.
Janet had warm goat cheese salad with toasted pecans followed by Mexican sierra, a meaty white fish, with fries and sechzuan peanut sauce, whilst I had wild Half Moon Bay smoked salmon with cucumber salad and creme fraiche followed by grilled local fish (I can’t recall the name of it) with fried and lemon and caper butter. We were saved the 20 minute walk up the hill by our good friend the no.21 MUNI bus. Garbage duty was our final act on our last night in the apartment.