Past trips: California, San Francisco Curry Night

There was a choice, the boats that had been advertised by the other cycle hire places, they went across the bay and back over to San Francisco. On the other hand their was the cycles and the road that brought us here, technically it was a reversible route, only there was the hill, the one that had been so generously downward on the inward leg. The reversal of this hill posed a concern as I reflected on the question, why had I come over quite so peculiar earlier and based on that would it likely return under the strain of such an effort.

Sausalito, CA, Pacific Ocean

Mitch wasn’t about to be put off by a bit of gradient and I was ready to be swayed either way, declaring defeat and boarding a boat was therefore unlikely as the decision of first choice.
I wasn’t expecting success but set to offering it a token cosmetic effort without expectation, the initial part of the hill had seemed steep on the way down, so first id just aim for the top of that bit and then take it from there. To my surprise I was making it up, past that initial hill out of town and on, I wasn’t even loosing ground on Mitch, least not until the top where the gradient had not been the issue id expected the wind was more assured. Toward the top it gusted heftily through the channel dug out for the road and slowed me to a brief stop. My stomach was doing nothing, neither the heat nor the effort had been cause for further issues, all that 1.5leters of cola that must by now be swilling about within seemed to be working out for the best.

Sausalito Horseshoe Bay

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge Clouds

After a momentary pause I remounted, it was all but flat by now and was shortly back by the bridge. The weather had changed, clouds had drawn in from somewhere and now capped round the bridge struts. Some more photos, for quite unnecessary reasons and onward, a return leg of greater pace than had been achieved earlier and uninterrupted. I couldn’t quite recall where we’d picked up the bikes and stopped with a view to returning mine at what wasn’t quite the right store. I’d simply opted for the first store to appear, that’s how I remembered things, its not how things were, as Mitch rolled past and onward an additional but important few meters.

Apparently we’d only been gone a couple of hours, a cause for further price reductions, always welcome. The fish market was close by and Mitch’s mind had turned to retrieving something from its assorted marine offerings. Seldom in mind for particular delights of the fluddery and salty things, today was not such a day when the stomach would be calling for bravery or exceptions … nor was in any particular hurry to sample that which was so duly fried. I opted out.

San Francisco Fish Market SignSea Gull CA San Francisco

San Francisco Sea Gull Chip Tray

We headed back, taking in a café as we headed away from the bay and encountered the San Francisco cable car, then a fair bit of cross town hill wondering on the way back to the hotel.

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Car and Ferry
Big Old Ferry Leaves Port

Cable Car Travelers Hold On

San Francisco

San Francisco Town House

San Francisco Homeless Resident

For the evening we made a second and more successful effort and using the underground to head to a different part of town, we’d hear that somewhere around 24 and 18th street .. there was options and out going points of interest.
The underground was externally ropey but came with a level of seating and space unfamiliar to those accustomed to the tube. Emerging at the other end, we were underwhelmed by some more developing economy style dilapidation, hoping for something in the way of improvement we started walking, it was after all a stretch of road that we’d been pointed at and this was only one end of that.
San Francisco Underground Station

San Francisco Powell Station

San Francisco Underground Map

The road was in no kind of hurry toward improving, a mixture of grime and discarded rubbish, while the shops looks like temporary buildings in need of a touch of paint and possibly a spot of demolishing and stating again with a less DIY, left over materials from the back of the shed theme. Seldom has a city so underwhelmed, the advise to anyone intending to go would be don’t believe the hype, set you expectations low and the city wont disappoint as shortly shy of average, its hard to believe this was one of the worlds wealthiest nations. Mind Birmingham isn’t entirely all that, aesthetically speaking but then I’m not sure we have too many tourist campaigns espousing its delights. It does a fine line in congestion, as easy to escape as a mythical Greek maze.

Still not working now, not in Birmingham on these days – San Francisco and just as we were commencing the process of wondering what exactly to settle uncomfortably on, we did come upon a slightly richer vein of options. Discovering a bring your own, limited menu options curry house which we reasonably quickly settled on.

San Framcisco Underground

San Framcisco Streets

Drinks sourced from off license shop, conveniently located opposite we returned to what was clearly a popular spot, filling most quickly and it was good. Better than many Curry restaurants back home with their far more extensive menus, here it might have been simple and the options limited but what does that matter if its good and it really was.

Pakwan Indian San Francisco

Curry Pakwan

Pakwan Indian Restaurant CA San Freancisco

After dinner we made a passing effort, burdened by a lack of belief forged of the impressions formed during our earlier wonderings, to find somewhere else to go to. Unready to head back just yet we settled on the nearest thing we could find to meet the criteria of being open, none disconcerting and somewhere to go.

The bar tender put in quite the performance, a lesson in profession bar manning, taking orders from one while serving up assorted types of beverages to others. We could do with a few of these types back home, where getter served is a war of attrition that is doing untold damage to the British reputation for queuing, not even polite pretense is given to such notions in most domestic bars these days. Only ten years ago such behaviour was notable though not exceptional, now it’s customary. Here there was no such need, so swiftly this lone bar tender operated, taking orders committing them to memory, most impressive. The bar on the other hand was a little lacking in charm, perfectly pleasant but with too little about it to warrant any sort of longer visit than the time taken for those couple of post dinner drinks to be supped down, as we perched upon our bar side stools.

Pilfered Post Visit Picture
Pilfered Post Visit Picture

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Blondies Bar
Poor Quality Capture – Blondies Bar SF
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Past Trips – California – Monterey Bay [14]

By the time of leaving the hotel it was darkish out, we’d not arrived so early and since then it had gotten later.  It seems to be the way of things.

We did however witness a bus, at the crossroads down the road it was spotted, it wasn’t headed our way, it was only crossing this road but it answered one question these bus stops did come with buses and at least some of those buses were on the move on Sunday’s.

We headed off, I don’t like to wait and see and so we headed off.  Not long after we came across a bus station, not a bus stop, a multi-stop big old junction spot.  A person was sat on one of the benches, she gave us her bus time table we stood unfamiliar and gawping about.  This lady seemed to be a person who’s had very little, hopefully not too at home on the bench but seemed rather comfortably present there.  There was to be a bus into Monterey.

Monterey At night

What we found in Monterey was a few things – it was dark – there were people touting  clam chowder down at the pier (where we wound up), I’d heard of clam chouder, I didn’t know what clam chowder was exactly, my desire to find out was not sufficient, existent, to see today becoming the day when such discoveries would be made.

There were noises along the pier, rumbles from beyond the tourist enticing lights of restaurants.  Sea lions it transpired slept here, we found them by following the noises, there in the lower tiers of the wooden pier where the smells dwelt, I lent over to see what I could see & photo it, the odor rose up to greet me..

Sea lions pier

Pier Monterey sealion
Minty fresh

Pier at night Monterey

We headed back into the town center for dinner locating.
Monterey Bay town at night

The thick and fish byproduct rich airs the wafted up had little on what was to come. I ought to have known better – There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. Vegan food had lulled me with talk chickpeas and curry, two fine things which was no reason to believe that two great could combine to such unpleasant effect. So on that occasion it fooled me into ordering quite the most unpleasant thing, now it was about to successfully pull it of for a second time.
I had my doubts, I had my memory but id said yes to the idea before the word vegan had come up – cheese cake dessert after dinner, only made with cashew nuts.. Too late the words no cheese vegan came up too late, nkw there was only hope… Hope for no repeats.

It was not to be, it was like a bit of damp chalk, doused in fruits of the forest tea, offering the promise of a scent anything but met in the taste. It was not really edible, least not as a dessert a part of the meal designed not to fill but as a tasty treat – not so much.Cheese cake vegan

I struggle to believe it’s impossible to make a palatable dish due it’s being virtuously bereft of any animal sourced produce. So it can only be that either; these were two bouts of misfortune or that vegan types hate food and are busy weening themselves off it through aversion therapy.. The second of these for sure.

 Monterey Bar / Pub
Quiet village sports bar/pub for local people … maybe not

There were places to go, they were just not very good, or perhaps it was Monday and Monday wasn’t a night to be out and about in Monterey in places that at any other time would be improbably kicking and interesting. With little in the way of places that were interesting to go, there was one high volume metal loudness bar, perhaps interesting but not sufficiently enticing. We headed back to locate the heading back bus stop and find out about its heading back times.
With Monterey having been pleasant enough but fairly swiftly exhausted in the dark, the day been truly well spent heading gradually up the coast.

 Monterey Bay

On the buses California
Some Rather Fine Trousers Arrive

Ramada Marina Hotel Monterey

Ski Day 7 – Mayrhofen .. Half a day then home – & Rating the Zillertal ski areas [3]

Mayrhofen Town Center
Mayrhofen Town Center – Heading Back
Birkenhof Mayrhofen
Back at Birkenhof

My boots had a very itchy way about them, slipping off their designated resting point on my shoulder in a most repeated fashion, where they were put they simply would not remain. Having dumped it all off i headed back to the hotel Birkenhof.

It wasn’t the finest preparation and cleanliness, gathering up some fresh clothing i headed into the toilets by reception, i had a sink for water and old used clothing to dry myself down with, something of the sparrow having a dust bath about this effort at cleaning up.
I’d become familiar with such limited efforts during my two cycling breaks, first during my trip away with Oscar (https://journaloftrips.wordpress.com/the-holiday-chapter-1-setting-off/arrival-day/) and then ever more so during my time cycling around in Europe as i took a mini career break. It may have made me a little to accepting of limited levels of clean and being somewhat minging in a public forum.

There was no sign of Damon and well over an hour of time to fill in, i sat myself in one of the breakfast rooms with a mind to backup and sort through some holiday photos and videos. I had only gotten a few moments into this when an alternative thought occurred to me, food.. Between here and home there was only the limited options of Innsbruck airport and quite a number of hours, making dinner a distant and uncertain concept, so food, there should be about time if i was to get up and go now. More than this the nearest and most opportune restaurant was the one we’d visited on the first night, the one that had arguably been the best of the weeks restaurants…I packed everything back away and headed out.

Kaiser Spaetzle iroler Stuben
Kaiser Spaetzle With Fanta Orange -At Tiroler Stuben

Yesterday i’d thought about ordering Kaiser Spaetzle, both during the day and as i studied the menu.. Opting eventually against and there was rational for this dating back to a night out in Isghl many years ago, I’d never been one for believing that cheese at night could or would amount to nightmares during sleep but that was one thick cheesy affair and went on to find myself tormented by the sight of mettle spiders busying themselves throughout one point of what was roundly a poor nights sleep. Plus as the years past one cant necessarily consume ones own weight in cheese or even pursue the lofty challenge of doing so.

But a thought once had such as this turned out to be a thought only delayed and with no particular care required for the Sunday, it was a thought that had found its moment.
There had also been no orange Fanta on this trip, all that time spent on Jägertee and cider, Fanta Orange that was the original ski drink of choice, St Anton back in the 90s and actually i really rather preferred it. Okay not all the time, not every day but the need to drink alcoholic beverages is really quite unnecessary and no less tedious than anything else done with rigorous repetition.

Kaiser Spaetzle Empties At Tiroler Stuben
No More Kaiser Spaetzle With Fanta Orange -At Tiroler Stuben

Tiroler Stuben Napkin

Tiroler Stuben  Mayrhofen

This was a not such a Kaiser Spartzle, it was relatively light by the standard of such things and came with a salad, that had a most suitably strong Italian style vinegar sauce which worked as a most suitable counterpart to the cheese rich main course. Though I’d been slightly concerned about time there had been no need, it was all cleared down and gone in very good time, to allow me to pay and meander my way once more back, those none too many steps, to the hotel. There was even time for a little checking and backing up of photos on my return.

Damon turned up in good time for us to head outside and await our coach, a coach which surprised up when it didn’t stop off to pick up the others. We caught up with them at the airport after we had already managed to deposit our baggage, their coach had been accompanied by the same crystal rep who had impressed us so a week ago on our inbound journey and had told them that the flight was expected to be quite delayed. Something that the airport seemed to be unaware off, given the departure screens and the pilot had also gone unapprised off as it later transpired the flight was actually expected to head off early. Milton gave this some thought and came up with a theory predicated largely on the observed genius of this Crystal ski chappy and secondarily on a little bit of mathematics.. he deduced that if one was to not fully appreciate the grand complexities of the 24 hour clock then one could come up with precisely the delayed departure time that crystal man marvel had advised.

Thomson Flight Seating
Thompson Flight

I was looking for a place to store my passport and paperwork and only realised half way into the drop deposit that this plastic sleeve did not represent a solid choice being far too deep, narrow and solid to allow subsequently for something of passport size to be successfully retrieved. This could be a real problem, i had one last finger clamped against the corner of the passport as i realised this, brilliant contemplating there with the plan, and tried to edge it back up the way without loosing that critical clamping traction which prevented its decent to the problematic narrow depth.
Ultimately by using the spare of my hands to empty out all the other contents, magazines, safety card, vomit capture paper bag (which never quite seems like the ideal material for something a little bit liquidity in the majority of instances & arguably thankfully so) i was able to free up sufficient space to get a better hold and finally drag it back out. Still on this occasion at least the lesson went learnt, not forgotten within some absentminded couple of moments, so that was something..

Rating the Zillertal ski areas:

Hintertux:
Lots of space, good and cold providing a higher quality of snow – but very few pistes, little more than enough for a half day or one day with quite a bit of repetition.
[1.5/5]

Mayrhofen Penkenbahn Side:
It has lots of little areas to explore and a variety of pistes. Like most of the areas it suffered from over congestion of pistes, it also has a limited sense of travel about it with a lack of taxing runs.
[2.5/5]

Mayrhofen Ahorn Side:
Again – very few pistes, little more than enough for a half day or one day with quite a bit of repetition – smaller than Hinterux and without the quality of snow.. An additional sort of distraction but little to offer in its own right other than the very long good run from top to bottom.
[1/5]

Zell Am Ziller:
The best area in the Zillertal – a real sense of travel and variety in the skiing stakes, it also has two lifts from the valley which limits the queues and efficiently moves people up the mountain. It doesn’t have much in the way of challenging pistes but its reliably fun.
[3.5/5]

Kaltenbach:
A place with night skiing and like Mayrhofen around enough KMs and runs to fill two days of skiing without too much repetition.
[3/5]

The closed piste not taken:

Holiday Related Information:
http://www.austria.info/uk/austrian-cuisine/jaegertee-2078194.html

Ski Day 6 – Mayrhofen: Places To Go Out Dinner & Drinks & The Last Dinner

Going Out:

Apropos Bar – First Night: Too Smokey.. That was the major negative, very traditional and not too tourist pub.
Good for just hanging out, having a quiet but social sort thing going on. Has the darker grungier thing in its corner.
[3/5]

Scotland Yard – Couple of visits: Also smokey but a little less that Apropos Bar, due to having smoking and none smoking sections. It doesn’t have anything really going for it or anything against it, inoffensive, easy to get served most of the time and serving both food and cider, as well as the standard bar fair. Good for larger groups looking to relax.
[3.5/5]

ICE BAR – Shuts earlier. Its really the post skiing bar, in Mayrhofen. Loud, full and really only any good if you want beer. It is what it is, not a place for having conversations or chilling but if you have energy after a days skiing and dont have claustrophobic issues then … its the obvious choice
[3.5/5]

Brückenstadl – Seating, music, space & open until late. Probably best as a place to finish up in, everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable time, the music selection was at best variable but its hard to pick too many faults with it.. perhaps a little large and industrial with no live music, causing it to be at risk of becoming a little repetitious.. but this is stretching matters a bit
[4/5]

Neue Post Mayhofen

On the last night on making it back to Mayrhofen from night skiing we went to the Neue Post, it had been recommended and generally came with the reputation of being a better establishment.
The food variety was decent and the standard was probably moderately above the average, perhaps.. but the service was unfriendly, notably so, to the point of being almost being just a little bit more than bizarre.
It was not an eventful evening after that.

Dinning:

Neue Post – [1.5/5]

Manni’s – Visited Twice . Decent for Pizza’s and more traditional options – [3/5]

Cafe Tirol – Smart, moderately average kitchen – [2/5]

Grill kuchl – Friendly Small, not largest portion sizes – [2.5/5]

Landhaus- Carla -Restaurant Tiroler Stuben – Probably the highest standard of food during the week, pleasant environment & the best place to go – [3.5/5]