We arrived at San Francisco International Airport on a Sunday and it turned out to involve some unexpected adventures. After four days in Montréal and two in Boston, it was now time to explore the west coast. Well, parts of Northern California at least. One week in Livermore would prove to offer much more than we first expected.
Arriving at SFO and Finding the Way with BART
Our Delta Airlines flight from Boston arrived on time in San Francisco and it didn’t take long before we were out of the terminal. SFO has several parts with a monorail connecting the different sections. One of these sections is the BART station and that was where we were heading. The train to San Francisco costs around 10 USD from the airport, but we were heading a bit further than that. Our destination was Dublin/Pleasanton and it didn’t cost much more, only 12 USD.
We had, however, completely forgotten that it was Sunday. This means that there’s a different route map than during the rest of the week. We learned this first after getting off the train at Balboa Park. That’s also where we also figured out that there were no other trains. Luckily the station guard told us that we had to take the same train that we exited all the way to 12th Street in Oakland and then change there for the train to Dublin/Pleasanton. So, if you ever arrive in San Francisco on a Sunday; remember that there is a different route map for BART.
Once in Pleasanton, it was easy to order an Uber to take us the last distance to our accommodation in Livermore.
Livermore on a Sunday Afternoon
We never passed by the center of Livermore on our way to our accommodation. But this Sunday afternoon turned out to be special. After freshening up, we took the 10-minute walk to the main street where we were greeted by a crowd and the sound of car engines. There was a big veteran car gathering in the town and it was being wrapped up. Old American cars, that were either close to original or very re-modeled. Well, at least some looked like something we had never seen before, so our apologies if that was actually the original state as well.
Finding Food in Livermore
At this point, we were hungry as our needs were still on Boston time. We had expected a quiet small town with limited options, but Livermore did instead give us a challenge. There were a lot of places to choose between and we were still quite lost on how restaurants work in the United States. It still felt like a lottery game, order as much as you want, take the complimentary offerings and guess how much you will have to pay afterward when taxes and tips are included. My inner control freak did, of course, not like that.
Well, as you might have guessed, we found a restaurant. A lovely small Greek restaurant to be more exact. It was an interesting choice, as it was at this time less than two weeks before we would actually be on the Greek island of Rhodes.
Shopping, shopping, and shopping…
My preferred activity is rarely shopping. Well, except for flight tickets. When we were planning our trip, Susann had found out that there was quite a big Outlet located outside of Livermore, the San Francisco Premium Outlets. Her main objective was a handbag. The result of this was that our first full day in California started off with some shopping.
I will not talk more about this, except that Susann left the Outlet with two handbags. Well, she would probably argue that I found some interesting things as well and, yes, I did. I was now prepared for the NHL game in San Jose a few days later.
Meeting a Long Lost Cousin
Have you ever thought about how it would be to meet an old friend again? Imagine that you had actually never met that friend and found out that you are somehow related. Add to that the fact that you are located on different continents and you have our story. I have for the last two years been building a family tree that has now exceeded 8.000 individuals. It happens to be that my great-great-grandmother’s cousin emigrated to Kansas in the United States.
Several of her descendants have later ended up in California and I have been lucky to get in contact with so many of them (not to exclude the joy of all my distant relatives in Sweden). The problem had never been to find relatives, but to confirm the relationship. I have written more about my three-level-confirmation of the relationship with the people in California – it is a long story.
Want to read more? Getting in Contact with Distant Relatives Abroad?
Before heading over to North America we had decided to meet with two distant relatives who live in or around Livermore. So, already on our first full day, we were heading to a restaurant to have dinner with Heather, her husband, and her father. Heather’s father was actually one of the first persons in the United States that I got in contact with in regards to the heritage research.
We had a lovely dinner in Livermore and discussions about the family connection was soon replaced with travel talk. Maybe the wanderlust is genetic and has survived for generations? As we have been checking off countries in Europe, others have been checking off the American states. Far away from each other, but similar either way.
Meeting one long lost cousin was great, but we would meet one more already the next day and it was time for some crazy adventures. However, those adventures took us to another place in California so more about that later.
We will continue our trip, read more about our adventure in North America here >>