6:30 am start today, Vikash dragged me out for an early morning walk/jog around the Fishermans Wharf bay area. Crisp chilly morning outside, around 14 degrees C, there was a slight breeze which made it feel even colder! Good walk & jog was just what we needed, the last few days were simply full of eating & drinking, something to offset all that indulgence.
The views to Golden Gate & Alcatraz in the morning light were wow.
Back at the hotel, time to get everyone else organised, breaky and out the door. Today was Union Square day, shopping for the ladies ! Headed out on beach street to the Hyde Street Cable Car Turntable. Got the three day MUNI passes, these were great, allowing travel on all Cable Cars, Street Cars and Buses – we had lots to cover and this worked out great for us.
Had to wait around 30 minutes before we got onto the next cable car. Could not figure out why they were not utilizing all the cable cars and increasing the frequency, it seemed to be scheduled at 15 minute intervals, only accommodating around 20-30 people at a time. Were lucky to get the outside seats, me and Vikash were standing on the outsides holding the columns! This would never be allowed back home!
The ride was fun, lots of steep hills up & down. Standing on the outside was definitely the highlight. The entire experience of holding on without any safety harnesses was brilliant, I wish they had similar experiences at home. The Cable Car drivers were also adding to the experience, the train bells were being rung to a RAP tune, it was simply brilliant.
There was also not much room between the passing cars, literally around 100 cms or less, but when you are standing outside, it feels more like 10 cms!! Too close but lots of fun.
Union Square is San Francisco’s central shopping & theatre district spanning several blocks. Lots of people, the place is buzzing!
(Union square – San Francisco)
First stop – Cheesecake Factory, time for Brunch.
The queues here are big, wait time for us was around 30 minutes, which apparently is about standard!
Finally got a table for 8. Menu was extensive which did make the ordering process harder. Pooja had to have the waffles and milk shake, Nita ordered Benedict, and I settled for an Omelet. Food presentation according to our MKR panel was mediocre, however the taste was up there
Next, time for ladies to hit the shopping areas. We split up, Pooja & Dian tagged along with me and Vik.
Pooja somehow managed to track down a Disney store, and that meant time for me to open her account of toys! More dolls of course!
In the Westfield mall @ Union Square, saw for the first time a Microsoft store!! , that was very cool. Got a good chance play around with their gadgets. Pooja & Dian had located a giant touchscreen (around 42”) loaded with games which kept them busy.
It was already a couple of hours now, and boredom was hitting us, needed a coffee, settled for Starbucks which unfortunately was the best available around the place. Coffee was medicore. However not all was bad, they provided wireless iphone charging stations at the tables. It simply required plugging in the provided dongle on the iphone and placing that at the correct position on the counter top, very ingenious!
Met up with the ladies @ Union Square park area, they still had lots to be covered, and the kids were becoming restless, except for Neha who was enjoying her time with Nita. Me and Vik decided to head back to the hotel with the kids, and meet up with the ladies later for dinner. Back to the Trams took the Market Street tram to Fishermans Wharf. Aaria, Pooja & Dian had a good time riding it.
Around 7pm, we left the hotel, rendezvous with the ladies was at Mona Lisa Italian restaurant in North Beach, recommended by Nickesh.
Time for Tram again, got off at North Beach requiring only short walk. Arriving at Columbus Ave, we were WOW, this place is all about Italian restaurants, lines and lines of em!
Found Mona Lisa, a gem of a place, not big but with lots of character. They had a MINI parked outside, converted to a table for two!
Ladies comes over soon after, by this time, Pooja and Aaria being so tired had dozed off. The guys at the restaurant were very accommodating with them allowing us extra chairs for them to lie on!
Food was the best I had tasted. The best dishes of the night were the Salmon Risotta & Marinara.