After awakening to another picture-perfect morning in Yosemite NP we boarded the bus for my final travel leg to San Francisco, my final destination for this West Coast tour.
We rolled into town around lunch time and stopped at a Whole Foods Market in Haight Ashbury for a look around. The epicentre of the 1970’s hippie counter-culture, the area was still home to many of the drugs and residents that made it famous 40 years ago along with the addition of plenty of funky stores. You girls would have a field-day here too, with this area being the perfect spot to pop some tags at one of the many ‘Thrift Shops’.
After lunch we stopped at the top of the Twin Peaks for a birds-eye view of San Francisco.
We then proceeded to Golden Gate park, which we learnt was actually built as a challenger to New York’s Central Park on the East Coast (and is actually larger in area), and is still home to a herd of buffalo/bison, a genuine Dutch windmill and the Japanese tea-garden that is actually the birthplace of the fortune-cookie (fun fact: fortune cookies were not actually invented in China at all).
We finally stumbled upon the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
After learning a bit about it’s history including the fact that it is actually orange (not red as everybody thinks) as this was the colour the steel was delivered in and the lead engineer liked it so much he decided to keep it that colour, and that a team of 39 full-time painters are continually reprinting the steel that if stretched end-to-end would encircle the globe 3.5 times over – we got to walk across the massive structure.
We were very lucky to get a clear day on the bay, allowing for a good view across the length of the bridge and back to the city of San Francisco and Alcatraz Island, my destination for tomorrow, however, John Steinbeck’s famous quote about the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco echoed in our ears as the icy winds buffeted us, sending us scurrying back the the tour bus after getting our happy snaps.
As dinner approached we headed for the Hotel, where the rest of the tour group checked-in while I wished them goodbye and good luck before walking to the nearby USA Hostel San Francisco. Along the way I came across a Trader Joe’s where I picked up some Speculoos Cookie Butter before spotting a famous San Francisco tram and some iconic architecture.
I was quite impressed with the Top Deck experience, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of accommodations and number of included meals offered. Unfortunately the quality of included meals sometimes left a little to be desired, but this comes with the territory when you travel with a larger group. As always on a tour the travel could be have been done more efficiently, with shorter stops and different stopping points, however, I would happily recommend them to other single travellers and would consider travelling again with them in the future myself.