Friday 10 April 2015

San Francisco in a Day

We had a flying visit to San Fran as we realised that we had way too much to pack into our last week out west. A visit to Death Valley (post to arrive soon) came highly recommended so we decided to make time.

San Francisco is a nice city of steep hills with cool houses and the need for mad parking skills but we didn't really know what to do with our one day as tourists. A bit of research showed up Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard St and the Golden Gate, so we formulated a plan.

Alcatraz was actually pretty cool. I was a little skeptical but the stories were interesting and I think I got some cool industrial detail photos that I wouldn't normally go looking for. Jackie obviously loves the whole morbid history of the place.

After Alcatraz we arrived back at Fisherman's Wharf so we explored a bit. Pier 39 is the famous part that was turned into a shopping mall sort of thing, we found it a little tacky but I did get to try my first clam chowder though and watch the seals play king of the castle.

On we ploughed to Lombard Steer through the burbs admiring houses along the way and climbing some steep hills. I have to say I really like the 'medium density' option they went for. Almost no high rise but most building seemed to be 3 stories high with small frontages, attached to the buildings either side containing 1-3 separate dwellings. They usually fronted onto the street and I'm assuming some (or many) had back gardens. Just seems like a good option to fit a lot if people in without towering apartment blocks everywhere. The best part was they are pretty much all different in design and unique but I didn't take any photos, oops.

Eventually we made it to Lombard street with the rest of the tourists and set about tying to find a good photo. Didn't really achieve it but here it is all the same...

Back to the water front, a coffee shop, the Ghirardelli chocolate factory/shop (their salted caramel was divine - J), cable cars and more walking, we ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre with a little lake and lots of birds. We stayed a little too long before having to make a dash for the beach before the sun set on the bridge.

And that was San Fran in a day!

An ex-inmate welcomes us to the island.
Ok, so the row boat wasn't trying to escape but it put the distance to shore into perspective!
Old toiletry supplies at Alcatraz
The shower block, very welcoming and private
Prison rules
Solitary cell
Board games to pass the time
Crocheting was a form of rehabilitation
There were some inmate bands too!
There was even a vintage car on the island!
The seals of Pier 39
and a few cormorants too
San Francisco comes complete with retro trams
Cable cars running on the really steep streets
Black-crowned Night Heron
Snowy Egret
Mute Swan
Great Blue Heron

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