It was time to say goodbye to Las Vegas and head to our 6:45am flight to San Francisco! So excited! Our plane looked more like a night club than an aircraft with pink and blue lights and huge comfy seats.
We were seated by Josh, an off duty pilot, who proceeded to shower us with tips for visiting his city and even invited us to a BBQ on the beach. We meet the best people! Our hotel was a bit of a trek (whoever told me this place was hilly did not exaggerate!) but so worth it, and as we flew so early we were out by 10am and able to enjoy the city. We began by walking to the centre to purchase tram and bus tickets but guess what, they’re closed on Sunday! So it was up to Chinatown where we were greeted by a Spring Feast ceremony, hosted by the Ye family to ward off bad spirits. What a show!!
From there it was pizza in Little Italy and a little wander
before we caught our first glimpse of the famous Alcatraz and to my delight the Golden Gate Bridge! It really didn’t dawn on me that I was there until seconds before I saw it, but there it was! While meandering down Fishermans Wharf we were accosted by the ‘Fun Police’ a federally approved association responsible for smile enforcement in San Francisco (while collecting for a soup kitchen)…so that was fun! Minutes later we had somehow purchased tickets for an Alcatraz tour leaving in 30 minutes. Quick sticks to pier 33!
The crossing took about 15 minutes and was REALLY choppy! Omelia and I braved the waves to get a photo but it was to our peril when a huge one hit the boat, soaking us both! Oops!
The Rock, what a place. Parts of it really resonated with me, like stepping inside ‘the hole’ where men were kept in solitary confinement in total darkness and often only allowed out once a week to shower. The audio tour was narrated by ex convicts and prison officers, offering real detail about life on the island. Did you know the families of the officers often lived there with them? They would catch a boat to school on the mainland every day. I bet not many people think of the laughter of children when they think of that jail.
It was getting pretty late by the time the last boat back docked, but there’s always time for another adventure. In this case it was Lombard Street, the crookedest street in San Francisco! In a city, in a country famous for its grid like road system, this came as quite a surprise!
Honestly after that and multiple days in bunk beds and on sofas, to find ourselves with a double bed each in our own room was a luxury not to be scoffed at. Early nights all round…bliss!
Today Omelia and I walked a LOT! We eventually left the hotel at about 11 after sorting out a lot of adminy things we need for the next few days and headed in the general direction of the Golden Gate Bridge. We ended up walking through Japantown, finding a really cute origami shop where Meals bought some in-flight entertainment and visiting the post office before eventually finding ourselves in Presido Park. It was so peaceful to walk down Lovers Lane (named for the military men who used it to visit their sweethearts in town) and exit by Cissy Field, after asking Hank the hunky fireman (adjectives added by Omelia) for directions of course! We even got invited for dinner at the fire station, pork with a marmalade marinade! Tempting Hank, but we have a prior engagement with a pilot!
Hank pointed us in right direction to get some amazing pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and suggested we eat at the Warming Hut, which was opposite a pier built in 1908 (that’s reeeeeally old, if you’re American!). It was a good ol’ trek to the base of the bridge, but walking along the beach in the California sun isn’t that hard really. Especially when there were seals stealing from the fisherman to watch at the end while sipping a chai latte! Mm mm!
It seemed a bit rude to not walk across the Golden Gate when we were so close, so up another hill we we went to step across the famous bridge. It was noisy! And windy! But pretty awesome 🙂
There was a TERRIFYING moment where I went to swing my camera off my shoulder into my hand only to realise my point and shoot was somehow wrapped around cable to cable…my heart stopped as it swung between the struts of the bridge but amazingly, beyond luckily it swung back into my hand upon whence it was firmly zipped in my pocket. Phew!
To be honest by this point we’d had enough walking, so hopped on a $2 bus to Fort Mason where we are currently, in a seafood restaurant called Cioppinos enjoying steaming bowls of clam chowder served in a sour dough bowl! Yummy!!
Sadly our pilot friend is stuck in Texas so no BBQ today, maybe tomorrow! Who knows what else the day will bring 🙂
Me dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time