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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Big Plans

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Today I was going to get up really early and hit the road again, but my legs and feet wouldn't let me.  I lied in bed for quite a while... writing... doing some work... organizing pictures.

Basically I was letting my feet be lazy.

Finally forced myself up and I was scrubbed down clean and gone by 9am. My entire body went in to muscle shock full seizure.

Not kidding.

I felt like every inch of me tensed up... but, being an avid & enthusiastic tourist... I fought through it.

My plan of the day; Washington Square / Mama's on Washington Square - famous cafe I'd read about (figured it would be a good stop for breakfast) / Coit Tower / Meander down the Greenwich Steps / Stop at Pier 33 to buy ticket to Alcatraz / Go to Atcatraz / Walk to Fisherman's Wharf / Catch the Big Bus Hop On/Off San Francisco Tour / Photograph the Painted Ladies / Bicycle through Golden Gate Park / Walk across Golden Gate Bridge / Tour Sausalito / Go shopping on Union Street / Head back to hotel/motel.... Now... I did do all of those things... kinda.

... it went more like this though... 

1. Walk to Washington Square.

It was about 25 minutes... a little bit of uphill. Not too bad though. A lot, actually, considering the state of my poor feet. There was an abnormal amount of people in the park doing Tai Chi... I think. Maybe it wasn't Thai Chi... maybe it was something else. I honestly have no idea.

2. Breakfast at Mama's on Washington Square.


I had to wait at the little half-horse barn doors for about 15 minutes until they had room enough to let me in. Then I stood in line for (not shitting) 35 minutes and even then, I wasn't at the front of the line. It was one of those places that made you order before you sat down.

Come to think of it, I've actually encountered a lot of those here. To be honest though, the menu looked absolutely delicious... and from my brief Google map investigation, I couldn't really see another breakfast cafe anywhere close. My feet needs to rest... my stomach needed nourishment. While I stood there, in the longest and slowest queue, watching the cooks fry up the eggs and crisp the bacon, I was calculating everything that I wanted to order.

Breakfast Smoothie made with fresh fruit, squeezed OJ, yoghurt and honey $9.35

Large coffee $4.25

Bottle water $3.50

Diet Coke $3.75

I have to admit that their carrot cake looked incredible too and it didn't take long for me to convince myself that life owed me carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

Carrot Cake $?... no price...

As I crept closer to the front of the line... closer & closer to the girl at the register... slowly...

I could almost taste the carrot cake.  

Finally I was within question-asking range... poked my head around the post and said "I just want to know how much the carrot cake is?"

$6.50 That was all I needed to hear. 

I stepped out of the line and walked out of this famous little cafe.

A breakfast- with no real substance (real food) would be costing me $27.35.

What does that translate to in Canadian? $35?

That's a seat sale to San Diego!!! No bloody way.

Life does owe me carrot cake... just maybe not this particular carrot cake.

I went without and continued my regime...

3. Walk to Coit Tower

Up... Up... Up... I think I counted 500 steps up.  Ahhh the burning...

I walked in and the lady at the entrance greeted me with "tickets to the right." So off I went to the right. I kept walking- right, right, right... nothing. No tickets.  At one point, it looked like I seemed to pass a  gift shop... but no big sign telling me to turn in for a ticket purchase.

I made my way around the entire circular tower and eventually made my way back to the lady who was standing at the front door. 

She looked at me and said "let me see your ticket."

I didn't have one.Immediately she closed the rope that would have allowed me access in to the centre of the tower and pointed to the exit. 


Off I went... no Coit Tower tour today.  It would have cost me $9 anyway... and that's money I can spend on carrot cake later. 4. Walk down Greenwich Steps.

Ahhh the beauty...I'd read about them but didn't actually realize I was ON them until I reached the very bottom and there was a directional sign pointing up. Just a narrow staircase path winding its way through backyard residential gardens,  Very pretty with the adornment of little ponds, benches, flowers, bird houses, fountains... etc etc. 

5. Pier 33

Here was the place that the tours left for Alcatraz.I had been trying relentlessly to get a ticket online but every attempt failed.  It was actually enough to make me a little crazy... but I kept thinking that it was due to the fault of my credit cards.  Turns out that the website was down and they weren't accepting any credit cards. 

I got a ticket for noon... perfect. 

While I waited, I wandered over to the Alcatraz Landing cafe for the most expensive breakfast/lunch I've ever had.  It wasn't exactly smoothie and carrot cafe expensive, but a very close second. 

Coffee, water, ham & cheese plastic wrapped stale sandwich and a yogurt parfait.  $23.00 US.

I asked the girl if she would heat up my sandwich and I got the "you're one of those people" looks. 

They put a soggy, damp and wilted piece of lettuce in my sandwich and I really don't understand why.   

To add nutrients? ... I say next time, keep it.

6. Alcatraz 

Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to react to this place. I'm not really one for group tours... but I have to admit, Alcatraz was really interesting! I wandered around at the instruction and mercy of my audio radio tour. It took us cell to cell, taught us all about the prison, the inmates, the escapes and attempted escapes, solitary confinement, the staff, the rooms & residences... everything.

Of course, I did more research on sharks prior to the tour than I did on the notable inmates.  They used to say that a one fin, evil shark used to circle the island on the constant lookout for escaped prisoners. 7. Walk to Fisherman's Wharf.

This, I did.

I wandered around Fisherman's Wharf a bit and actually found more attractions & shops that I had not previously seen in the past two days that I had been there.  There was a hoodie that I desperately wanted but I couldn't justify buying it because it was $49. Gawd... was it dipped in gold? I think not.

If anyone is asking... San Francisco is expensive.

8. Big Bus

Stupid me bought the Deluxe packagewhich included free bicycle rental (to bike through Golden Gate Park) and a walking tour of Saluito. well... I'll get to that...

9.  Painted Ladies. "Hoped off" to photograph this picturesque scene.

Full house.

Very pretty.  Very rich.

Afterwards, I waited for what seemed like eternity and beyond for the bus to "hop on"... was going to just walk down to The Castro district and wait there, but thank Gawd I didn't because the bus didn't actually go through there, so I would have been in big trouble.  

10. Bicycle through Golden Gate Park. Too cold. Didn't want to leave the warmth of the bus. I'd even moved downstairs in the bus because I couldn't handle the wind and cold anymore...

11. Walk across Golden Gate Bridge. Again... too cold. Wasn't even slightly tempted... even my feet screamed NO...

Stayed in the bus and was driven across.

12. Walking Tour of Sausalito.

Nope.  The driver told me that I could do it tomorrow before 4:30pm. Too bad as I'm on a flight back to Bellingham at 7am. So much for my Deluxe upgrade.No wonder I'm eternally poor. Dangle any carrot in front of me and I lunge for it.

13. Shop on Union Street.

Well... the place that I disembarked wasn't really the prime location for shopping. I was exhausted and my feet were throbbing... so I just made my way up the hill and back to hotel/motel. All I wanted to do was re-check in (for the 3rd time), have a nap, maybe grab a bite to eat and then head to the airport....

All the accommodation and transportation plans were not made yet but I figured they wouldn't be difficult.

Back at hotel/motel, I was informed that the rate for the night was upwards of $175US.

I almost died. 

This seemed a little bit of an excessive overindulgence for a crappy room that I would be using for a total of maybe 7 hours. I respectfully declined the generous offer and sat down to figure out if there was a cheaper place near the airport.  I found Motel 6.  

So now I'm staying at the Motel 6 in Oakland... by the airport.

$89... can't beat that!

It's your typical roadside motel and I have my suspicions that people live there.  The reason why I think this is because some of the motel windows are adorned with American flags.Now... I'm don't claim to know the ins and outs of American motel decoration, but usually a flag hanging in a window signifies residence...

I walked down to a nearby pub at the Radissen and had some crappy nachos... and when I say "nachos," I mean nacho chips smothered over with squeeze cheese and topped with jalapeños, olives, shredded lettuce.... AND...  ...wait for it....


Lucky for me that it was squeeze cheese, so I could slide all the cilantro infested toppings to the side of the plate and try to enjoy my soggy chips without excessive vomiting.

WHY don't they put stuff like this on the menu?  Pet peeve.

I'm so out of shape at the moment from all the walking that once I sat down for dinner, my entire body seized up and once I went to get up again, I definitely had difficulty. Everything seized.

I had a bit of a mental breakdown because I thought I got charged for the motel room twice... although the guy at the reception desk assured me that it isn't the case.

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