The roar of the lions????
Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
99Trip End Mar 01, 2012
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After an early morning Skype with all 3 of the girls (first time we have had them altogether on Skype) which was lovely, we went on our City Tour which picked us up at 9.20am. We headed off down to Fisherman's Wharf and then headed out to the Golden Gate Bridge – first stop. It has been really surreal actually seeing all of these landmarks that we have seen so many times over the years back at home on films. Apparently the bridge is built to sway 22 feet – 11 feet each way. Walking just onto the start of it, it doesn’t half bounce with the traffic! There are 6 lanes of traffic on the bridge and the amount of lanes each way depends on what time of the day it is. Currently the portioning is just done by cones and there have been some horrendous accidents, however they are currently devising a new way of dividing the carriageways up and this should be in by the end of this year or early 2013. We could see Alcatraz from here and both of us were surprised at how close to land it actually is. Apparently the inmates were told that there were sharks in the surrounding waters and that it was freezing cold – both a little exaggerated
From here we went out to the coast and then on to Golden Gate Park, which is huge! The whole park is built on sand dunes and obviously the plant life enjoy this as it is very green , with lots of trees and open grassland everywhere. The tour guide told us that there are no signs to keep off the grass anywhere in the park – it is all for public use! There are 14 lakes in the park and retired gentlemen come out most days between midday and 2.30pm to race their model boats – what an existence! Wal, this is the place for you to visit (sorry Eleanor!) The park is very safe and regularly patrolled by the SFPD on horseback. Apparently parts of the film "The Wedding Planner" were filmed in the park! There is also a man made waterfall in there, with a large crucifix at the top which was donated by the Church of England.
We then went up to the Twin Peaks, which gave us a fantastic view all over the city. The road up and down was again a 'wacky races road’ as you can tell from the pics! Well worth it for the views. We tried a true American style hot dog up here (as we hadn’t had time for breakfast!) I wasn’t so keen, but Steve was happy enough to eat his own and half of mine, so I guess he likes them
From there we went off on a tour around the city. Firstly to the Victorian houses, which I absolutely love. Back in the ‘80’s apparently these houses were going for a pittance as people didn’t want them, now you cannot get any type of Victorian house for under 2,000,000! The green corner bay one in the pictures recently sold for 4.5 million! Guess it will just have to be a dream of mine to own one.........The blue house is the one used in the film Kinder Garden Cop. A lot of the houses in the city are built one inch apart – this is to enable just enough room for firemen to hose down between the houses in the event of a fire. This was put in place after the huge earthquake of 1902 where it was actually the fires from ruptured gas pipes that caused more damage than the earthquake itself. The guide made quite a few references to the big earthquake of 1902 and 1989 and the fact that the city had made all new buildings foundations contain ball bearings so that the buildings can move in an earthquake. He also mentioned that another big one is due any day within the next 20 years – Not what I wanted to hear!
We passed by a few other film locations, the street where they do the car chases in “Bullit” and “The Rock” where Nicolas Cage crashes into the cable car. We saw the meeting place with all the columns where Sean Connery gives himself up also in “The Rock” and the tower block from “Towering Inferno”
The whole city is built on 47 hills – and don’t I know it after yesterday! Some of the photos try to show just how steep they are, it looks like the road just falls over the edge. Their biggest industry is tourism followed by banking, insurance and shopping! In relation to shopping, he was saying that this is during the summer period, when in fact it is quite cold in San Francisco because of the fog. People come with their summer clothes and have to buy warm clothes here! There are lots of shops all selling San Francisco fleeces and waterproof jackets – all reasonably priced also.
Well here endeth my lesson on San Fran! Like to pass on what I’ve learnt........
After the tour finished we headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf to have a wander around and have lunch. What a great place this is. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. It was like that winter sun at home though – bit chilly when in the shade. Lots of fish restaurants and a great vibe. We knew that there were sea lions at Pier 39, so that was a must. Well you could hear them before you saw them. Boy, are they noisy!!! Have a watch of the video to see what I mean. They were also a tad smelly, but so cute also.
For lunch we went to Bubba Gumps. The restaurant is based on the film Forest Gump and Jayne had forewarned us that they would ask us questions about the film. We have not seen the film for ages......
To try and walk the dinner off we walked down to Pier 33 to book our tickets to go out to Alcatraz tomorrow afternoon. So looking forward to this trip, and I get to go on a boat again. Hope they let us out!
After a stroll around the rest of the shops, we were both worn out. We took a cable car (tram) up the hills ........ couldn’t cope with those again. The tour guide had said that these cars have wooden brake pads which are replaced every other week. He said if you can smell wood burning, it is a sign of good brakes. Well I could smell wood burning on our journey.........My face must have been a picture as the conductor said to me that I was alright, they would look after me. He laughed as I got off – they stop in the middle of the road and tell you to be careful crossing! We spoke to a nice man on the tram and he was asking where we were from etc. Had to laugh when Steve told him that we had been to LA – his response was classic “LA is an armpit!!”
We took a slow walk up Sutter Street from the tram stop, which is a few blocks away. In the room we collapsed on the bed and haven’t moved since. Tomorrow is another day..........