Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
35Trip End Aug 07, 2009
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Where I stayed
Well today began with a ride on the Bart. No, we didn't ride on a spiky haired kid from Springfield with yellow skin, it’s the Bay Area Rapid Transit. We were so lucky that the place we’re staying in is right next to a Bart station which goes directly into San Francisco. So, after catching the first train at 8:20am, we were off to the Golden Gate City.
Now we had a pretty ambitious day planned. The people we’re staying with know a lot about the city, so they gave us a general route to take and about a million and one places to go and visit. We, of course, wanted to see them all so we planned for a big day of walking.
After exiting the train at Powell Street we needed to take the cable car to the far end of the peninsula which San Francisco sits on
Once on the cable car a peculiar things happens….it goes up the steepest hills EVER. Sure, you’ve seen pictures of San Francisco..the hilly streets, etc. But, to be in a cable car on one (or walking on one later as we learned) is a truly awe inspiring moment. The cable car was packed but enjoyed the ride.
We got off at a place called Ghirardelli Square which is named for the famous chocolate company there. They even have a coffee shop where you can get premium Ghirardelli drinks like 'Savory Drinking Chocolate.’ So, naturally, that’s what I got! Imagine a melted bar of the finest chocolate with a little bit of milk….that was what I was drinking. It still burns my stomach to think about…but it was so delicious.
We then meandered over to the wharf/pier area where the National Park Service has many old ships on display as museums
We perused some nearby shops and then headed back south and took some pictures of the local, and very famous attractions. These included the fog shrouded Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Sure, we didn’t go to any of them today (time was a factor) but they sure look awesome from afar.
We moved on to some local touristy shops in the area and then headed south back towards our starting point. It’s not far…perhaps 2.5 miles. But factor in the MOUNTAINS you had to climb to get up just one city block and that 2.5 miles becomes a marathon. The pictures just don’t do justice, the only way to experience San Francisco is to go there in person…walk up the streets for yourself, and feel the immense pain from lactic acid build up in your calves. It’s awful. Of course, when you get to the top…you have a great view and an easy walk down the other side!
We made our way (albeit slowly) through Little Italy and into Chinatown
We even ate lunch at a little Chinatown diner. The food was diner quality, but we were still proud of ourselves to break away from what we were comfortable with to try new places and cuisines.
Following Chinatown went to the cable car museum (also free!). It’s at the intersection of 3 different cable car lines, and museum shows you up close the intricate workings of the pulley system that powers the famous streetcars. Long story short: massive electric motors turn pulleys…which in turn pull cables which run under the streets of San Francisco. The cable cars ‘grip’ onto these cables which makes them move. It’s that simple!
We made sure to get in our obligatory coffee break (an hourly occurrence) and then continued south to Union Sq and Market Street
By this time it was about 5pm and we decided to head back out to the suburbs for some much needed rest.
As of this writing we’re planning another day in San Fran tomorrow, however Jen’s eye seems to be getting worse so the day might be spent instead out here in Walnut Creek seeking out a doctor. We have our fingers crossed for now though!