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Car Trouble
January 11th, 2009 under USA. [ Comments: none ]

After our enjoyable night in the rural and cozy hostel in the national park, we continued our trip in this park. Our goal was to pay a visit to the lighthouse there. Thus we drove further through this deserted place. Every now and then there was a tiny (very very very tiny) village. Since we hadn’t had any breakfast we decided to stop in such a village. There was just a grocery-store / gas-station, a souvenir shop, a restaurant and a couple of houses. We bought some tasty bread (yuck only toast…) and got back in the car. Start attempt … tock tock tock… nothing. Yep, we weren’t able to start the car. We thought that people in such remote places know how to fix cars but as you can imagine this is just a cliché. Eventually, we called AAA and waited for the towing truck for about 90 minutes which was an amazingly shot amount of time considering how remote this place was. Ohh, btw it was called Inverness. As it turned out the fuel pump of the car broke down. As a result, the car and the two of us had to be towed to the next car-rental station which was about 30 miles away. There we got a new car and on the road again we were. Oh, I forgot to tell about the sizes of the cars here. Well, we decided to rent the tiniest most compact car available. Still, the car was enormous considering it was the smallest one available. It had the size of a regular BMW. So much for global warming :P.
We had a nice talk with the driver. He gave us some hints on what to see in the vicinity of Novato (the place where we ended up). One of his hints was to see his home town Pentanluma which is supposed to be the chicken capital of the USA. We drove there but no chickens. Still, it was a pretty nice town to visit. The main street still looks like in the old times; The wild west.
As mentioned earlier, we planed to return to San Francisco to explore Alcatraz. Thus, we drove back there for the night.

Car Rental
January 7th, 2009 under USA. [ Comments: none ]

After seeing San Francisco just partly (Alcatraz missing) we went to the Airport to rent a car. After several half-hour research we found a rental company (518.-). However, when we were at the counter of the rental company the price suddenly raised to 1400.-. Of course we were confused about the enormous price difference and asked. As it turned out people from overseas get much better offers but not at the counter, only online. Therefore, we went online at the airport and made a online reservation for the previous 518.-. So, keep in mind to rent cars online and never directly at the counter one can save a lot of money.

Now we were ready to explore California. We started by driving over the magnificent Golden Gate bridge in the north of San Francisco because our next destination was a home for redwoods; The Muir Woods. We navigated through the Marin Headlands, which is national park along the coast. The view one has from the coast is just breathtaking (see pics).

The best part of the day was the hostel in Point Reyes (another National Park close by). As you can imagine there aren’t many villages or even houses in a national park. Thus, we were astonished and suspicious that a hostel could be found in there. Being suspicious we drove about 20 miles through the woods of this national park. Nothing except nature. About 10 minutes before we arrived at the hostel we even considered turning back but then we finally arrived there. Two buildings, in fact small cottages, stood there in the middle of nowhere (see pics). It’s a good thing we didn’t go back because in my opinion this was the most beautiful and coziest hostel we could ever find.

Oh, to those who wonder where my pictures are; I cannot upload any pictures since I can only use public internet. Sorry about that.

San Francisco
January 6th, 2009 under USA. [ Comments: none ]

19:00 on thursday we arrived at san francisco international airport. Being rather tired, after a 15 hours flight from Zurich Airport to NY JFK to SFO, we took a cab to “the green tortoise hostel”. Well, let’s say there was kind of an odor in the hostels entry hall. Not all too bad but we could definitely tell that we were in an old building ;). However, the most amazing thing of the hostel way the carpet on the floor, I’ve never every seen such a “colorful” pattern. Light headed as we are, forgot to take a picture of it, therefore, you, dear reader, are encouraged to use your imagination freely. Trust me it won’t be even close :P.

Our first day in San Francisco was paved with good fortune. Up to now, we just knew that we wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and ride the all-so-famous Cable Cars. Despite our plans we decided just to stroll around in the city for a while. Our good fortune took matters in its hands and lead us to the sea lions on Pier 39, which are terribly noise and smelly but very amusing :D. The fun part about it is that we had no idea about this tourist attraction. As it turned out, Pier 39 is one beautiful and entertaining place. It’s kind of a tiny theme park (merry-go-arround included). As in most tourist places there are hundreds of souvenir shops but only one caught our eye; The Baba Gump Shrimps Restaurant and Souvenir Shop. This shop sells probably all Babba Gump Related Quotes on fan articles such as mugs, shirts and so on. As you might imagine, there we also purchased our first souvenirs.
After the Pier 39 we decided to visit the Coit Tower (again by good luck. We saw the tower from the Pier and thought:“Hmm, we might get a good look from up there”). From there we took plenty of pictures since one has a magnificent overview over the city (pictures will be uploaded soon).
Then the most prominent construction of San Francisco was our next goal. The Golden Gate Bridge. I guess nothing needs to be said here. Just enjoy the pictures (coming soon).
After enjoying our lunch (American Hot Dogs :P) next to the bridge we went back into the city to drop by the Japanese Tea Garden in the Golden Gate Park. First we thought this might be an impressive sight because of some ads we’ve seen. However, this wasn’t worth the bus ride. This garden is about 20 square meters big and had just patches of grass with two Japanese buildings. Yet, the Golden Gate Park isn’t just the Japanese Garden. The botanic garden is also located there and was gorgeous. In the middle of this huge city there is a lagre place where you can relax. (see pics).
Finally, we walked back home to our hostel first through the financial district. There we could experience what a “big city” feels like. Tall buildings, plenty of car (actually cars were everywhere), wide streets, etc. Then we switched the street and landed in chinatown. It’s amazing to see how different the city of san francisco looks at different places. this is also what makes this city in my opinion to one of the most amazing cities i’ve ever been to.

On the second day we stared by having breakfast in some local place. Then the highlight of our day. the ride with the world famous cable cars. Unfortunately, it was holiday season so there were people everywhere. Thus, we had to wait in line for approximately 45 minutes. Still, the ride was great. You get a wonderful tour through the city. In the afternoon we wanted to take the boat over to alcatraz. As it turned out, this trip is extremely popular, which we didn’t know at the time. The next available date was tuesday. From the start our plan was to rent a car, if possible and reasonable in price, and explore california on our own. Thus, we decided to see alcatraz later on.

Stay tuned for more… btw i apologize for the bad writing style but i didn’t want to spend too much time on this