After much deliberation, we had zero-ed in on San Francisco with a 2 day visit to the Yosemite National Park, the oldest national park in the United States. Sups and Mitesh agreed to be our gracious hosts :-)
After initial hiccups, with everyone having last minute speed breakers, we met up on the morning of Friday. It was good meeting Vikas after a long time. But unfortunately, my baggage got delayed which led to a day of inconveniences (am still fighting with the airlines for that). Had to get new sets of clothes, chargers, etc. But then, the charm of SJ and SFO went a long way in lessening the pain of the delayed baggage.
After a sumptuous breakfast of dosas and biryani, thanks to the ladies cooking (a special mention for the yummy Harissa, thanks Sups), Mitesh took me shopping for emergency clothes. Finally, by afternoon, we were freshened up and ready to hit the town. First stop was the Indian cafe, Amber, where we had some tasty kaati rolls and veg frankies, which satisfied out palate with great Indian taste. Next was the visit to the world-famous Golden Gate bridge. We first stopped at a Sunset Point outside Mountain View and then drove through the Pacific Highway Coast on the way. We stopped at one of the ocean shores to take in the might of the Pacific. We reached Vista point to see the bridge shrouded in a thick fog. It was impressive, nevertheless. We decided to return when the lights were switched on at the bridge. We visited Sausulito, a sleepy town with a good view of the Alcatraz - The Rock, the famous prison from where there is no escape. It was tough to get a clear view of it in the encompassing clouds.
You can see the outline of Alcatraz just to the left of the boat, way back blurred in the fog.
After having some hot coffee at a quaint little cafe, we shopped for souvenirs. I picked up some fridge magnets and an Alcatraz t shirt.
By then it was past dusk and we drove up to a higher point to get a view of the bridge from top. It was so windy out there that the cameras left alone, could have flown off. And mind you, the S1 IS with 4 batteries, is no ballet dancer! But the views were amazing. A fully lit Golden Gate really lives up to its name. Covered in swathes of golden light and the ensuing fog added to the magic effect. Thought not too good for photography. But who cares. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not some Carl-Zeiss lens :-D
It was time for dinner and Mitesh had arbitrarily picked a Greek restaurant, Mezes in SFO. And what a good choice it was. To say that the food was great, would be a gross understatement. Each and every dish we ordered was something special. And the wine did help in adding its bit of taste. I surely recommend it to anyone who's in that part of the town to try it out. You wouldn't be disappointed.
After dinner, we drove down the Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. I had seen videos of this street earlier, and the experience was just as good.
Finally, reached and and everyone crashed expecting the early start to Yosemite the next morning. I stayed up still trying to locate my baggage from a pretty customer-unfriendly service at Aloha Airlines. They didn't have the courtesy of calling me with updates all through the day. I had to keep calling them to check for updates. Finally, slept thinking the baggage was a goner for ever.
Woke up pretty early next morning and got the news that my baggage was found. Had to make a change in the travel plan to drive to the airport to pick up the baggage. Had breakfast at the highly recommended iHop, which we found on the way. It was true to the recommendation. The omelettes and pancakes were really some tasty stuff. Finally, we were on our way, stomachs filled with food and hearts filled with anticipation :)
Wait for PartII for the Yosemite update!
Until then, check out the pics at www.flickr.com/photos/prashanth_ak
Also, this kept us in splits -> http://www.makkadman.com
Especially the background score! Man, was it awesome!! Complete ROTFL material!!