1. Spend a few days trekking around San Francisco. Climb hills for the views – or because you can’t really avoid them – and walk almost everywhere because public transportation for five people (the whole family’s here!) is getting pricey. For best results, average at least four miles per day. (Bonus: wear shoes that, at home, are quite comfortable, but in this rocky, hilly city, revolt against your feet and take it out on your left pinky toe.)
2. Rent an apartment in a relatively quiet area and settle in. We chose Alamo Square. Preferably, the building will be a beautiful structure, over 100 years old, with marble stairs, a comfortable garden and intricate facade details. (That has nothing to do with the earthquake, but who wants to visit San Francisco and stay in a modern hotel or some other characterless place?) Obtain one plush king size bed with a wonderfully creaky four-post frame and a pile of marshmallow pillows. For optimum results, this bed should be so comfortable you wake up in the same position you fell asleep in.
3. Take an evening stroll to the nearby biergarten for a drink – it’s your last night in the city, after all. Just a few blocks more…oh, that’s more of a mountain than a hill, really…this place looks a lot closer on the map, but we can’t just turn around now….aaaaand there. Walk up to the bar, situated in a repurposed shipping container and order a beer. No pints here, just half or full liters of authentic German beers, so go all in. Eventually slog up the hill – don’t tumble back down – and fall blissfully into bed, knowing that your last night in San Francisco was good.
Early Sunday morning the San Francisco Bay area was rattled by the region’s strongest earthquake in 25 years…and yours truly managed to sleep through it! I blame my ability to sleep deeply on living for years in dorms and noisy places (like next to the railroad tracks) and days full of walking, drinking and eating.
I was secretly hoping that I would feel a small earthquake while we were there. Nothing serious or dangerous, just a little shake. My only other experience with earthquakes was in 2011, when there was that 5.8 in Virginia and we felt it all the way in Raleigh. That’s the one that cracked the Washington Monument. I was in French class and the desks and projector started gently swaying, and my professor didn’t even stop talking.