Monday, November 19, 2012

San Francisco Part 1 - The Ultimate Tourism Experience

Its now a week since Christina and I returned to Edmonton after our week long trip to San Francisco.  Looking back on it, it seems like it happened so long ago.

I have been having a hard time devising how to present the experience on my blog. I considered a daily journal format or a thematic approach but nothing seems to do the trip justice. Instead I am going to present the trip in a couple post... Part 1 Ultimate Tourism Experience, Part 2 Alcatraz, Part 3 Muir Woods and Marin County, Part 4 Sports, Part 5 Odds and Ends. This first post will spotlight some of the well known tourism staples that Chrissy and I encountered while traveling.

I love walking cities that I have never been to before. I like checking into my hotel and then just getting lost. Thankfully, Chrissy was game to do some walking with me as we averaged approximately 13 or 14kms a day. If I'm on the coast I immediately walk the shoreline - after that first walk it becomes my point of reference for the rest of the trip, my "North on the Compass" if you will. Thankfully, SanFran's shoreline is outstanding.
View from the Marina walk.

Alcatraz


My first ever blimp sighting.


Seals on the docks at Fishermans Wharf.


Chrissy the Riveter

The Jeremiah O'Brien anchored near Fishermans Wharf. The ship was present at D-Day in Norm

Taking a break from walking we hitched a ride on the F Line Trolley from Fisherman's Wharf to the Ferry Terminal downtown.


Chrissy on the Cable Car at Powell and Market

At the end of the cable car line they have to actually flip the trolley around to reset it on the cable under the street. 


On one of our rides the brakeman actually let me hold onto the brake lever. The resistance and rattle on it was amazing. It takes a lot of 'oomph' to stop the trolley.

From the end of the trolley line at Castro we walked up to Alamo Square and came across the Painted Ladies which are famous for representing the classic Victorian housing style and for appearing in the credits of Full House.
These buildings are actually all over the middle part of the city and I think are pretty cool. The detailed millwork on the roofs and along the doors really provide a lot of character. I would love to see the interior layouts of some of the places.

From Alamo Square we walked SouthWest down to Haight Street and checked out some of the hippy shops.  

Chrissy found a little boutique shop that sold only socks. What a waste of real estate.

A favorite place of ours during the trip was the Palace of Fine Arts located in the Presidio. The scale and design of the structure really is awe inspiring. We first came across it while in the rain, and it seemed to me that it was the perfect West Coast way to see it.



Way on the other side of town we walked up the side steps to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Although rather plain the white cement creates a nice sheen in the sun.

Just down the hill from Coit Tower we walked through Chinatown and grabbed some dim sum for lunch.

As a fan of Francis Ford Coppola (at least the Godfather and Apocalypse Now) we stopped in at his restaurant Cafe Zeotrope in the Sentinel Building (just steps away from City Lights bookstore) for some of Coppola's signature wines. The building and the old geezer busting his butt behind the bar made for a memorable time.

No San Fran trip is complete without hitting up the crookedest street in the world: Lombard Street. Pretty surreal seeing vehicles maneuver the switchbacks on the hill.

Finally, nearing dusk on a long day Chrissy and I came up on the Golden Gate Bridge. 

We ventured onto the bridge but due to the time of day and my general unease with heights we only went in to the first pillar as opposed to the full 1 mile walk. Here we are enjoying ourselves on the bridge.

Christmas trees, Palm Trees and my fiance. The big heart says it all.

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