NOV 18, 2015 – After a relaxed night on the Amtrak train, I arrived in San Francisco on a Saturday morning. I met my friends Andres and Müge there, and stayed in their flat on Stanford campus for four nights. Having been in San Francisco before, I was happy to discover some areas less crowded with tourists, such as Mission district. I hadn’t visited Alcatraz before, though, so I went there with Müge on a weekday. The prison island is managed by the National Park Service, which does a good job at preserving it and making its history accessible to visitors. From my visit to San Francisco in 2011, I remembered the impressive Chinatown, which is home to the largest Chinese community outside Asia. There are entire streets full of Chinese grocery stores, butchers, bakeries and the like. Some of the employees there hardly speak English, which can make shopping in this Chinatown feel like a trip to another continent. On the other hand, there are also streets with souvenir shops and Chinese arts & crafts stores, which clearly target the tourists. Of course I also visited the campus of Stanford University, whose architecture and abundant palm trees give it a Mediterranean feel.