Thursday, July 10, 2008

California: Berkeley

I'm on a quest--a quest for fun. Okay, not really. My quest is actually just to reach the end of our vacation stories! It's like a crazy goal far off in the distance with which I'm completely obsessed. Regular life keeps getting in my way, but I'm determined to finish one of these days!!

On the Saturday morning of our vacation, after watching Hot Fuzz the night before, Chad and I got up and checked out of our hotel in Redwood City. We consulted our public transportation maps and headed north to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Glen Park station on the south side of San Francisco. We parked our rental car in the parking lot (and prayed that it was a safe neighborhood since all of our luggage was inside) and headed into the station to take our first ride on San Francisco's public transportation system. We missed our train by just a few minutes, so we wandered around in the subway for almost 20 minutes before the train headed to Berkeley finally arrived.

When we got on the train, which was underground at this station, we sort of expected that it would come up to the surface at some point and that we'd get to see some of the sites of the city while traveling. We assumed that the tracks came up onto the Bay Bridge and that we'd go across the bay with all the cars and trucks. Little did we know that the train goes underwater to the Oakland area. Seriously, had we done any research on this at all before boarding, I'm not sure we would have traveled on the BART! Chad is not a fan of enclosed places, and you don't get much more enclosed that being in the Transbay Tube, which is supposedly the longest underwater tube for rapid transit in the world! It's 3.6 miles long and goes to a maximum depth of 135 feet!

While we did survive the underwater tunnel to Berkeley, I'm not sure we'd choose the BART for our future travel. It just didn't seem very rapid for rapid transit. It took us over 30 minutes to get there with all of the stops, and yet Google Maps claims it's only about a 30 minute drive by car. It cost us $7.40 each round trip, which is more than we probably would have spent in gas, but I guess we didn't have to fight traffic or pay for parking. It was better for the environment too!

Anyway, once we arrived at the Downtown Berkeley station, we hoofed it over to the U.C. Berkeley campus and gave ourselves the tour. I have to say, I wasn't hugely impressed with their campus. There were a few buildings that were really pretty, but it seemed like there was no general architectural style--no cohesiveness. The buildings all seemed mismatched and disjointed to me. There were several buildings that were just downright ugly--they had multiple equivalents of our Wescoe. I would take the beautiful K.U. campus over Berkeley on any day!

After our self-guided tour we walked back downtown to find a good place for lunch, and we settled on the Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse, which turned out to be pretty darn good! We had great sandwiches that were huge, so we were completely stuffed by the time we left. They even had some mustard that was similar (but certainly not superior) to Chad's homemade mustard!

We wandered around downtown for a little while after eating, but we really didn't do any shopping. There just weren't any stores that really interested us on the main street, and we thought about jogging over a few blocks to find some different shops, but we were pretty hot and tired and ready to head back to the city. That's another thing that I like better about Lawrence--all the downtown shopping is on one street so you can see all the available shops in one straight shot. You walk down Mass Street and you know you haven't missed anything in Downtown Lawrence!

We took the BART back to San Fran, and thankfully our rental car was still in the parking lot with all the luggage inside. We headed north towards Union Square, to check in to the final hotel of our vacation.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Ooohhh....we would have enjoyed the Ale House with you!

Wescoe!? Hardly worth the $14. But it's alays fun to compare campuses and cities. I think I would have liked the underground tube! It must have been exciting.