Back to San Francisco last October…
So, on Thursday morning, we got up and went to the hotel breakfast buffet. Hotel breakfast buffets are pretty great. They have good waffles.
Back to the point, we left the hotel and got back onto the highway toward the Oakland bridge. The objective of that day was to check out downtown San Francisco. And that’s pretty much what we did; it did take us a while to get there though. Traffic was super backed up from around Oakland across the Oakland bridge. I guess it’s just like that all the time? I don’t know. Things sped up around the bay bridge and we ended up getting to the city at a decent time in the morning.
We parked nearthe ocean on the northeast side of the peninsula($50/day!), and we went to the Ferry Building, which was like a small mall inside this long building, with all these quirky little cafes and shops. The main objective of going in there was to acquire public transit passes for the day, so we could ride the trolleys and busses that they have around the city.
After we got our transit passes, we walked about a block to a spot on the trolley route. It was actually not that crowded, which was unusual, because usually the trolleys are really crowded and it’s hard to actually be able to get on. This time we got on near the end of the line, so I guess it made sense. We rode the trolley west up California Street to a park at the top of the hill across the street from Grace Cathedral. We chilled around there for a few minutes and checked out the Cathedral.
We walked down the street to a trolley stop and waited for a while, but it was annoying because all of the trolleys that passed during the approximate thirty minutes we waited were 1) extremely crowded and 2) not even going the right direction. So we ended up walking a few blocks to a bus stop in a ghetto-ish area of Chinatown and waited there for a bus. An overcrowded bus finally showed up and took us to the Fisherman’s Wharf. So that whole thing was kind of obnoxious, but it all worked out so I guess it was good.
We walked down a crowded street full of souvenir shops to the chain of fish restaurants near the wharf. We went and ate in this one restaurant; I’m not sure that it even had a name, it was just… one of the fish restaurants. But it was good.
After lunch we walked down through a building full of the old carnival games from the Wharf, and then outside, where they had an old submarine and a battleship, from World War II I think. I guess the men on the battleship didn’t realize their ship would be on display, because they painted topless women on the outside of it for….. some reason, I guess. What happens on the battleship stays on the battleship.
We walked away from the wharf around to the Ghirardelli plaza. Ghirardelli is chocolate company, but they also had restaurants, live entertainment and pricey apartments in their buildings for some reason. We ate their chocolate and ice cream, which is very overpriced but still good.
There is a small section of sandy beach just north of Ghirardelli Square (which we came to affectionately refer to as “the ‘delli”). It’s just to the west of Hyde Street and the Fisherman’s Wharf. Two small piers are on either side of the arc-shaped beach, one slanting northwest and the other curving around the other way, forming a sort of artificial bay. You can see swimmers circling around
I enjoyed walking out on the Aquatic Park Pier, which is basically this sidewalk that goes out into the ocean and curves around (on the left in the image). You can walk to the end and get a good view of urban San Francisco, the Bay and Alcatraz; as well as the Golden Gate Bridge and the forested mountains beyond it. Every now and then, a seal will swim to the surface of the ocean near the pier.
After exploring this part of town, we walked into town up to Lombard Street, “the crookedest street in the world”.
Some of the streets in San Francisco are really steep and skinny, and the old houses are generally these different colored houses tightly lined up next to each other.
After walking up Lombard Street, we waited once more for a trolley, yet to no avail. We ended up riding on a bus to Chinatown. We went into a few souvenir shops there. I got this baseball cap with Chinese dragons on it that says San Francisco, which I have worn probably most days since then, because who doesn’t love dragons and San Francisco; but also, you could say, to subtly protest the wearing of snapback hats.
We walked out of the gate to Chinatown and rode the bus back to our car. We ended up eating dinner at an In-n-Out Burger on the way back to our hotel in Benicia. So, Thursday was great.
Sorry, I know it’s just a rundown again. Don’t get me wrong, downtown San Francisco is a great place and you should go there. Maybe this particular day didn’t stand out as much in a certain way as the first day, but it was just as memorable. In a different way, it stood out a lot, because I got that dragon hat…
Which I wore to Disneyland while I made that dumb face.