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Solo San Francisco Recap: Day 1

September 13, 2010

Those who have been following my blog for a while know I recently returned from six days and five nights solo in the City by the Bay. I had an amazing time and can’t wait to go back. If you’re thinking about planning your own solo travel to San Francisco, I hope my recap gives you a better idea what it’s like. So here goes….

Day 1:

11:30 am – I arrive in San Francisco about half an hour early, find my way to the BART station and am whisked half an hour north to the city center. I stumble upward into the sunlight where I make my way to the San Francisco Visitor’s Center, where I pick up brochures and maps and purchase my San Francisco City Pass. Exhausted from not having slept the night before, and hungry from airplane food that was seriously lacking, I want to find something to eat and my hotel, in that order. I begin walking—in the wrong direction, putting myself right in the middle of the Tenderloin district, the last place in San Francisco I want to be. It’s a rough neighborhood and I know it the minute I enter it. I must be in the wrong place. I turn around, dragging my rollaboard suitcase behind me and soon  I’m back in the center of Union Square.

1:00 pm – I finally find Fourth Street but hotel check-in is at 3. I am seated at Annabelle’s Bistro and Bar on the ground floor of my hotel. The floor plan is open and breezy and the walls are yellow, with Capiello posters lining the walls. It is great for people watching, but I am hungry. I order a bacon Swiss cheeseburger, well done, with herbed fries. While I wait, the waitress brings me a trio of the lightest, butteriest rolls I’ve ever tasted. Upon request, my glass is filled with Diet Coke and I wait.

My meal arrives and it is large. I am certain I will not eat the whole thing but miraculously I do, save for some of the French fries. I look at my watch: it is 2 o’clock. I am hopeful that the hotel allows me to check in early.

My room at the Mosser Hotel

2:00 pm – At the front desk, *Lisa (I am not sure this is her name) allows me to check in early and I am grateful. I go up the elevator to my room and am delighted when I open the door. The room is small—no more than 10 feet by 10 feet—but it is clean, comfortable, and well-lit. Behind the door there is a closet, and I busy myself with hanging my clothes. This will be home for the next few days and I am treating it as such.

6:00 pm – I’m on a Muni bus, heading to the California Academy of Sciences’ NightLife. Although the day had been warm, I’m immediately grateful for the cardigan I am wearing when I enter Golden Gate Park and a fog has begun to roll in from nowhere. The temperature feels like it’s dropped at least ten to fifteen degrees. But once I enter the Academy (they do not accept my City Pass voucher as NightLife is considered a special event) it is warm. People are everywhere. The place is packed. I head straight for the planetarium as the shows fill up quickly. I am one of the last people to procure a ticket for the 6:30 showing of Fragile Planet.

At the California Academy of Sciences

I take my seat. I can make out only dimly the silhouettes of the others who fill the room. The presentation begins. It takes me up and away from the museum and I experience the tiniest bit of vertigo. All told, the presentation is enjoyable and informative and when it is done, I head out to see the rest of the museum, stopping by one of the bar stations to sample the NightLife Cocktail, a blend of vodka, cranberry juice and champagne. It is good. Tonight board games are set up in the African exhibit rooms, and people are playing everything from Jenga to Apples and Oranges. I peruse the rest of the museum, lingering at the Foucault Pendulum which is supposed to prove the earth spins.

9:30 pm – I can feel sleep deprivation and the time zone shift catching up to me. I leave the museum and catch a bus back to my hotel. Before I know it, my head hits the pillow and I am asleep.

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