First stop on our coastal California trip is San Francisco, known as the City by the Bay.
It was mid-morning and sun was out but it was nowhere near as warm as Denver – the strong, chilly wind took care of that. By late evening the fog, which had been light all day, was a thick, damp mist which had descended down obscuring views of anything more than 100 yards in front. Perhaps ‘Fog City’ is a more accurate name!
My sister and I headed straight to Powell station, where just outside is the cable car turntable for the Powell-Mason and more scenic Powell-Hyde line. The traditional cable cars are world famous and one of San Fran’s most recognisable icons – no visit is complete without a ride on one! (Even if you do wait an hour then realise you could have picked one up without the massive queue at one of the en route stops further along – there’s a tip for you..!) The San Fran cable cars are the world’s last manually operated cable car system so it’s pretty cool to see them in action. Apparently over 80% of people who apply to work on this line fail the physical tests!
We got off at Fisherman’s Wharf and walked round to Pier 39, glimpsing Alcatraz Island as we walked. After lunch in a cafe we watched and listened to the barking Sea lions who have taken over prime Waterfront real estate at K-Dock – see them on this live cam. Pier 39 is super touristy but good for a wander round – they even had a fresh fruit market with the biggest, reddest, juiciest strawberries!
We walked right down the Embarcadero sidewalk next to San Fran Bay to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, passing the Exploratorium, clock tower at the Ferry Building and many other landmarks.
Back inland, we found Chinatown and had a look round, saw the pyramid shaped TransAmerica building (which along with the clock tower seems to appear on a whole host of souvenir items) before heading back to Union Square. We picked up some bits and pieces at the poshest Walgreens ever seen – it was more akin to Whole Foods Market but I suppose they have to up their game in this city! Finally we ended our walkathon at Sam’s Cable Car Lounge on Powell Street for a well-deserved drink!