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Alaska 2006

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Journal for 21-Sep : Half Moon Bay

Slept pretty well, even if it was in a bed.

Filled up on buffet breakfast included in the room price. Got to talk to a young Aussie woman at breakfast.

Had one last shower, then realised I'd left my clean shirt in my checked luggage back t the airport.

Danish women seemed back to normal too, at least at the airport, train station, hotel and around the tourist traps I strolled this morning. Perhaps I was just a bit too self conscious looking. Of course it is hard to tell when everyone is dressed in hair to toe rain overcoats.

Spent a couple of hours at the Danish National Museum, learning how in 1658 Denmark was *almost* conquered by the Swedes, and how they spent 80 years trying (and failing) to seize back the territory they lost.

Copenhagen is a naturally walled and moated city. It is a naturally strong defensive position, and during the 18th and 19th centuries as the city population swelled, the military refused to allow development outside the city walls. So the only way to grow was up. The inevitable consequence of this was the whole city burned down, twice.

I walked off the tourist trail and up to the botanic gardens. The rain had stopped but the unpaved paths through the gardens were still muddy, so I did some shopping and headed back to the train station.

Off the tourist trail and with their rain hoods down, and without looking for began to notice that the Copenhagen women of strikingly uncommon beauty were numerous enough to be, well, common.

Got train out to the airport, got my luggage, changed all my remaining Danish money to Aussie dollars.

No checking gate number displayed for my flight, so I asked and the info desk and was told to queue up at the SAS lines. SAS do the ground staffing for most of the Star Alliance carriers, and this was the queue for Lufthansa (who own Swiss), so this made sense. I asked again to be sure, but that was definitely the thing to do.

40min later I'd reached the end of the queue, to be told by the SAS staff "sorry, Swiss is over there", pointing to a freshly opened checkin gate behind another long queue (operated by SAS staff).

Long queue for security at CPH, then another for passport checks, then for pre-boarding, etc.

Discovered I didn't pack my clean shirt in my carry on baggage :-(. I've already been wearing this one for two days, and only 30hrs of flying to go!

Flight late arriving at Zürich, making the connection even shorter. Just enough time to buy some maltesers with my remain9ng 2 Swiss Franks. Or so I thought, long line to get through security (again).

Slept in.

Pretty easy riding till I got to "Bike Route" sign, where I was constantly getting lost, but it was also a tour de stop sign.

First sight of Golden Gate bridge impressive. Next sight: shit it's high. Tough little climb to the top.

Thousands of tourists on hire bikes. Tens of thousands on foot crossing the bridge. Very slow going. Met Swiss couple who'd also cycled from Anchorage.

Dodged the tourists and stop signs and rode into Fisherman's wharf. I was expecting a tourist trap, but holey moley! Cheap crap for sale everywhere! I tried to find a sign denoting where I was, but the best I could find was "fisherman's wharf parking" which had for a backdrop a massive billboard promoting the resterant "hooters".

Had a resterant lunch, including some "clam chowder", because I have no idea what that is. I've eaten bowl and still have no idea.

Got my photos of Alcatraz, the Cable cars (that don't move because there are too many tourists on them).

Tough going on the hills out of SFO. Even tougher when a wrong turn (actually a non turn) got me to the spectacular holocaust memorial right at the top of a serious hill, only to have to descend and climb the hill again on the correct road. Descent a waste of brake pads - insanely steep, punctuated by stop signs.

"No Bikes" on Hwy 1 to Pacifica. Alternate rd started as bike route with bike lane, then shoulder, then bike lane off the road, then footpath, then "no pedestrians, no bicycles". Cyclists advised to "walk bike down other side" (a sidewalk which went 30m then disappeared). Crazy descent down Sharp Park Rd to Pacifica. A very steep twisting turning no shoulder freeway.

Narrow, steep, no shoulder up and over from Pacifica to Montara. Absolute shit of a road - worst of the trip so far. 3miles took me more than half an hour. Sprint for 200m, stop and get off the road till the next red light at the bottom of the hill.

Ordinary campsite at Half Moon Bay (dry spikey grass, exposed to brutal coastal wind), but beautiful beach setting and a magnificent sunset.

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