Last week I flew to San José for a business trip and decided to spend the weekend in San Francisco to explore the city. On Friday morning I took the Caltrain that runs up to San Francisco in about an hour. It stops in different locations on the way in the Bay Area, one of them being Palo Alto where I took a break. I was a bit limited with my suitcase so I only spent about an hour visiting the Stanford campus. Then I walked to downtown Palo Alto to get some ice cream and to have a Google automated driving vehicle drive past me.
The campus at Stanford looks very nice and is super clean. I was surprised by how many people in Palo Alto were cycling or skateboarding around.
Then I continued to San Francisco and started exploring. The city is definitely different from the other U.S. cities that I have seen so far. It has a lot of smaller residential and cute looking buildings and tons of hills.
One of the more alternative neighborhoods with bars and clubs is the Mission District. It is covered with a lot of interesting murals and can get a little bit sketchy during the night.
At first I was very skeptical about public transport as only a small part of the city is covered by the subway system. In addition to that there are street cars and buses as well as the famous cable cars which only seem to have very limited use, though. The whole system works awesome and is surprisingly cheap with only $2.25 for a 90min ticket that can be used on all those rides (except cable car). My airbnb host recommended the app Swiftly to find the fastest connection at any time and this worked flawlessly.
On Saturday I missed my bike that I could’ve been riding, had I stayed in Michigan, because the weather was surprisingly mild that weekend. In order to compensate for that, I just rented a bike and went on a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and to Sausalito on the other side. This was a lot of fun and I got some good exercise thanks to the steel frame and the crappy components on it.
I was also surprised by the cars that were driving around in the city. This is the exact opposite of Michigan - almost exclusively non-U.S. cars and a lot of hybrids and electric vehicles. And then there are classic vehicles. I’ve probably seen more bugs driving around than in Wolfsburg. A lot of them were in great condition.