San Francisco

I spent five amazing days in San Francisco.

I attended the Build 2013 conference which was a great experience. Some sessions were good, some less good. The Game Area in the Big Room was awesome, visiting the booths was nice and also the goodies were sweet.

I am really loving my Surface Pro and I will probably stop using the iPad, although the Windows Store needs more apps! I am planning to do some pet projects so I might help out in that area.

I tried to install Wndows 8.1 on the Surface but I had an issue with activating Windows so I had to revert it to Windows 8. I will definitely install Windows 8.1 again and also Visual Studio 2013. This will be my experiment tablet where I can evaluate but also build new stuff.

The Acer is also nice and I could imagine carrying it in my bag all the time. It could perhaps replace my Kindle but the screen quality of the Acer is not so great so I am still deciding.

I had little time to visit the city during the conference but our hotel, Radisson, is in Fisherman’s Wharf, the central tourist place and we enjoyed walks here every evening.

The hotel is kind of a dump but the location is the key. There is no breakfast in the hotel which to my surprise is usual in USA. The room is acceptable but the AC is old and loud, the window almost fell as we tried to open it. We were lucky to get a room with a view to the sea but it’s not the kind of view which I expected, the kind of sea view which you get in Europe. There is a pool and a fitness room as well but let’s just say that they also require some upgrade, too small.

After the conference was over we had one and a half days to visit the city and, although we couldn’t take the Alcatraz tour because the earliest free date was the 14th of July, we did a Bay Cruise to the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz which was very windy but definitely nice.

We walked also Downtown, visited Chinatown and saw the Lombard street in the Russian Hill.

We tried Applebee’s, had breakfast at Johnny Rockets diner with 50s music running in the background and getting free coffee refill just like in the movies and last but not least, breakfast at Ihop was also a unique experience, although it was difficult to find a light meal choice but listing the calorie in the menu is great. I am usually a healthy food freek but I am willing to try while in US. Also I am a fitness crazy person and, while I had little time to do sports here, I am walking daily about 20 kms, thanks to my Fitbit I can track this.

Now I am packing and going on a road trip. The rough plan is to visit LA and Las Vegas, perhaps we can stop in Yosemite National Park for a day or two as well. Driving on the Pacific Coast Highway is also a must! Death Valley is an option but it’s currently 50 degrees C there so we will probably just drive through or go around it. Las Vegas is also hot at the moment with 45 degrees C, hopefully by the time we get there it will cool off.

We’re going to be here on the 4th of July so I am hoping to enjoy the celebration somewhere and not be on the road on that day.

I usually plan the trips upfront but this time I’m going with the flow and see where it takes me.

Where to stay:

Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf
250 Beach St, San Francisco

– great location with exit to Fisherman’s Wharf
– nice room

– the outside of the hotel, the inner yard and the pool looks run down
– the A/C in the room is very old and loud
– the window in the room was broken and almost fell out as we wanted to open it
– tiny fitness room,it didn’t look inviting at all
– tiny swimming pool
– no breakfast, but there’s an Ihop nearby
– expensive parking, 35-40$
– average customer service: the lady couldn’t write a proper company invoice even though we clearly explained how we needed it and she was also unfriendly when we told her for the 5th time that it is wrong

Where to eat:

Hard Rock Cafe
39 Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Pier 41 or 475 Jefferson Street, San Francisco

The Buena Vista
2765 Hyde Street, San Francisco

Castagnola’s Seafood & Chophouse
286 Jefferson Street, San Francisco

2770 Taylor Street, San Francisco