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October 2, 2007

Where did September go (Part 1)?

Ok, we're back! San Francisco was AWESOME! Eight days may be a little long to stay for a visit, but we made the best of it...
Our flights out we uneventful and after grabbing a cab from the airport, checking in to the Parker Guest House , and unpacking, we started the exploration of the city by the bay. As we walked up towards Castro Street, this is what greeted us:
This is the corner of Castro and Market, the people on the left are coming up from the Muni, which became our best friend. The Castro is not conveniently located to any of the popular spots in the city except for.... well.... The Castro itself. We realized almost immediately that we were either going to have to walk or rely on the SF Municipal Transportation System. For those of you that have been to San Francisco, you know... Only half of the walking is fun. For every downhill stroll, there is an equally steep uphill climb, and it gets old really fast. Someone at the B&B recommended getting a 7 day Muni Pass, which allowed us unlimited access to the subway, buses, streetcars, and even the cable cars. It was a steal at $24 each, since the cost of each trip, each way (down to the Wharf area) was $1.50 and the cable cars alone were $5 each way.

Saturday afternoon, we took the "F" streetcar down Market Street to the Embarcadaro, and then down from the Ferry Building (Pier 1) to the heart of Fisherman's Wharf (Piers 39 and higher). Where we grabbed a cable car and of course, had to stand on the runners like the true tourists we were. We had dinner on the Wharf and then headed back to the Castro for a nightcap and bed.

Sunday was a whirlwind of tours. We took a motorized cable car tour first, to get our bearings, and then took off walking... and walking...

These are the public toilets (free) which go through self cleaning cycles after each use. The doors open and close automatically, which is one of the reasons I never used one....

Jim didn't want to bring a jacket (he thanked me numerous times during the week for talking him into bringing it)... There are a zillion little micro-climates in SF, you can be in 80 degree sun one moment and turn a corner and be in the 60's... These were taken down near Fisherman's Wharf.


Me at the end of one of the piers (Alcatraz in the background). It looks cloudy in the picture, but it was actually pretty early in the morning...


Of course we had to visit Coit Tower, on the top of Telegraph Hill... The views were spectacular, although the climb (on the streets) to the base took the breath out of both of us.



For those of you that have read the Tales of the City books, take a look at the next picture and tell me if this doesn't fit the description of Barbary Lane...

This was taken from the top of Coit Tower looking down the hill... I think I see Ms Madrigal!!


After a day of walking, we heading back to the Castro, and the wine social at the guest house. We met a great guy there, and afterwards headed out to explore the bars, shops and restaurants on and off Castro. We had dinner at the Sausage Factory and popped in and out of a few of the local watering holes... By 9:00pm on a Sunday the clubs and streets were packed with people...

Monday morning was spent recovering from Sunday night's wine social, drinks before dinner, wine with dinner, and drinks at each bar we visited... Jim lay in bed, while I went down to the garden and pretended to read "Changing Tides" (the newest from Michael Thomas Ford) which is actually very good and is set in Monterey.

Monday afternoon we set out for the Wharf and the Park Service's official cruise TO Alcatraz... There is only one cruise that actually takes you to and drops you off on the island. We chose to go on one of the evening tours which has more narration and offers access to parts of the prison that are not open to the public on the day tours.



Before boarding the cruise on Pier 33, we headed over to Pier 39 (which is a huge shopping and restaurant complex right on the bay). After the earthquake a few years ago, the sea lions migrated into the bay and took over the marina at Pier 39... These guys are the noisiest, stinkiest... and most adorable creatures...


We had a great time on Alcatraz and the views of the city at night were spectacular. The views from inside were not as great!

Tuesday was my birthday, and we did more walking and exploring, cable car riding, and chocolate eating and shopping...

The cable car museum and powerhouse.. If you look at the I-beam you can see the words "California", "Mason", and "Powell", the 3 main lines. The white machines in the foreground are actually keeping the cables running all the time.

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to Ghirardelli Square. While the actual chocolate factory has moved to Oakland (I think) the shops and Ice Cream Parlor were wonderful... Another free sample??? Sure.

We had a late lunch at E & O Trading Company and then headed down to the theater district to see "Mama Mia" which was awesome and very entertaining. Jim had us sitting 4th row center, I had a grand 52nd birthday! Thank you Baby!

Ok, this is taking longer than I thought... Wednesday through Saturday events will be detailed in my next post!

Over and "Out" from back home in Toano, VA

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks like such fun. My mother visited SF many years ago and loved it. I've never been.

TWISI said...

FUN trip! SF is an interesting city, you are right about all those hills and yes, the Castro is definitely a world unto it's own, in more ways than one.

daveincleveland said...

sounds like you guys had a blast....hopfully get let out on parole soon and am gonna go somewhere just not sure where...just somehwere to get away

Glenn said...

Sounds like a great trip. Glad you had a nice time. I love SF. And the Parker House is a wonderful place to stay.p

karen said...

Looks like you guys had a great time. How delightful!

One Half said...

Hey, thanks for the comment on my blog. I was checking yours out this morning and stopped at Wynonna. I love artists that leave everything out there when they perform and she does it on that song.

Looks like SF was fun, I'm going to go through the rest of you blog when I get bored at work later today. And, I'm going to add you to my favorites on my blog too.

Great to meet you.

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