Monday, July 01, 2013

San Francisco

I'm finally posting a few San Francisco pics before we go on our next trip.  I'm going to make this quick since it's a beautiful day and I want to sit outside and work towards my goal of making Spencer proud of me.  Apparently his admiration can be won by reading the entire Harry Potter series this summer.  I'm starting book two today.

So ... San Francisco.  We were there only four nights, but we did a lot.  We went to Alcatraz, which I loved. It's eerie but cool, and so interesting to hear all about its history.  We watched Escape from Alcatraz before we went, which definitely enhanced the experience.

First glimpse of Alcatraz

Burned out shell of the warden's house

Lots of gorgeous plants and flowers all over the island

The cell of one of the escapees, with the fake head and all

View from Alcatraz

Our hotel (Best Western Plus) was two blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, so we walked around there a lot.  We ate seafood for dinner every day; our favourite place was Fog Harbour at Pier 39.

We rode the cable car downtown.  They pack us in like sardines - I had about two inches of personal space while clinging dearly to a pole.


Dale and I stumbled across this amazing structure when we went for a run the first morning we were there.  It's the Palace of the Fine Arts and it’s huge and stunning and magical, made even moreso by the fact we didn’t know it existed.  We wandered through the columns and looked at plants and watched swans with their ugly ducklings on the lake.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so we went there again the next day on our bicycles.  There were several wedding photo sessions going on, which was fun to watch.


Biking:  This was both a highlight and a lowlight.  We got up early and rented bikes one day.  It was a pleasant day; around 20 degrees.  But when we got to the Golden Gate Bridge, it was so foggy that you could only see about ten feet in front of you and the winds were strong coming off the bay.  That was okay; we were dressed reasonably and had energy for the ups and downs (more downs than ups) to Sausalito, a cute little tourist town.  We sat outside and had breakfast at a little café overlooking the water.  That was probably my highlight of the whole trip.  Then we made the poor decision to continue biking for another hour to go see a Redwood forest.  The route was open and windy and not well-marked, so after lots of second-guessing and asking for directions, we eventually came to a little park that looked pretty much like the riverbank in Rosenort.  The trees were taller, but not much wider.  Then we biked back to Sausalito and had ice cream.  From there, we could have taken a ferry back to SF, but we wanted to bike around some more in the area just back over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was also hoping the fog had cleared away enough to take some pictures of the bridge.  By this time, the wind was even stronger and chillier and the bridge never seemed to end.  At the parts where the bike path veered around the bridge supports, the wind almost stopped you dead mid-pedal.  Our “reasonable” clothes felt like we were naked.  The only thing that cheered me up was passing other tourist cyclers who still had a long way to go, while we were already on our way back to warmth.    

This was our view from the patio in Sausalito where we ate breakfast.      

Redwood forest

Another view of the bridge on our way back to San Francisco.

Dale on his bicycle

Lots of beautiful, unique houses

Alamo Square

One day we took the rapid transit system train to the end of the line.  Dale was intrigued by the temperature difference between San Francisco, which is usually on the coolish side (around 20 C), and a town called Pittsburg at the end of the line, where it's consistently 10 degrees warmer.  So we rode the train for about 40 minutes, where we were going to have lunch at a park Dale saw on a map.  We got some take-out burritos at a very authentic Mexican cafe near the station and then set out to find the park.  This is what we found.  It looked greener on the map.

We wandered around this weird suburban wasteland with no sidewalks or people for a while.  The houses way up on the hill reminded me exactly of the Bluth family show home from Arrested Development.  

We eventually decided to just go back to the train station and then we saw a sign that said "Save our Pool."  We followed the arrow to a park that time forgot - there was an empty swimming pool with rundown little picnic shelters around it.  We were happy to get back to the action and people in San Francisco, but it was a fun little experience.

We walked many miles and saw other things like the Crookedest Street, Union Square and the shopping district, Ghiradelli Square, Coit Tower, and everything in between.  The last night we had dinner at Bubba Gump's shrimp restaurant and walked around Pier 39.  

Last glimpse of Alcatraz

It was a great time ... so nice to get away from reality and responsibilities.  We were delayed in Vancouver and Calgary on the way back so by the time we finally got home, we were pretty happy about it.  The kids had a great time at my parents on the weekend.  Kristin, Dale's mom, my sister and nieces also helped us out - thanks guys!!

PS:  After I posted this, I realized I had already written most of this blog entry in Word, but totally forgot about it.  So I edited my original post to add some of what I had previously written.  I have an awesome memory.


Anonymous said...

Those fog pictures are really cool. :) I love when experiences are both awesome and not so awesome--they make great stories and memories.

Thanks for sharing.

Daniel said...

Gorgeous fog pictures - the fog makes everything look so mysterious.

joan said...

Gorgeous pictures! So happy you guys had such a fabulous time!