Wednesday, November 25, 2009

experiencing san francisco...

It was our first visit to San Francisco...and a most interesting one it was! Cable cars, trolleys, bridges and hills...

...and tours on open-top buses were all part of the package.

We stayed at an historic hotel...right downtown...and were told it was best to leave the car at home since parking was at a premium. Since leaving the car behind wasn't really an option...we paid to have our car stored for the duration of our stay...and travelled like they do in San Francisco! We put many miles on our shoes...and used every form of transit available...and truly experienced the city.

We know from past experience that the best way to learn a little about a city is to take a narrated tour...the 'hop on-hop off' variety. And that is exactly how we began our visit to San Francisco. We learned so much...and hopped off at our favorite spots.

We found out that the chances of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge when it is not obscured in fog...are about one in seven. Despite the odds...

...we had sunshine and clear blue skies! We hopped off when we arrived at the famous landmark. It seemed the perfect day to walk the bridge...and so we did.

The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1935...and so it became the global symbol for both San Francisco and California. It is 1.7 miles long...90 feet wide and 220 feet above the waters below. An average of 40 million vehicles cross the bridge annually. And one other bit of info that I had a hard time wrapping my mind around...the cables used to suspend the bridge are over 36 inches in diameter.

We passed bikers, tourists, maintenance guys and painters...the job of painting the bridge is never-ending. When they reach the end...they start over!

We saw many of the famous landmarks...

...including the historic city hall. It was the venue for the marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Joe De Maggio in 1954 (I don't actually remember that)...and has been featured in many movies.

We drove through neighbourhoods with Victorian homes...some which have become quite well-known over the years.

These 'Painted Ladies' they are a row of seven homes along Alamo Square park...often seen on postcards of San Francisco.

The yellow house in this row of seven was made famous in the filming of the television series Full House.

Many Victorian homes were destroyed by fire following the great earthquake of 1906...but those that remain are jewels along the streets.

The Presidio...which served as an army post for three nations for over two-hundred years (Spain, Mexico and the USA)...was transferred to the Park Service in 1994. It is now a national park, within the boundaries of the city.

Within the park are large subdivisions of former military housing that are available for lease...if one happens to have unlimited resources.

This particular home is renting for $5000 per month...and that does not include the car parked at the curb. San Francisco has the second most expensive real estate in the to London, England.

We passed through Chinatown...and Little Italy...

...rode uphill and down...and gazed up through a maze of trolley cables as we toured. We spent a good deal of time at Fisherman's Wharf...

...observing and sampling!

We ate at the Boudin Restaurant...home of the famous San Francisco sourdough. There are no secrets at this bakery...we watched the bread being baked from an observation deck...while on the sidewalk the crowds gathered at the windows.

Pier 39...which lies a few blocks from Fisherman's a 45 acre complex on the waterfront...

...where one can spend a lot of time shopping, eating, people watching or watching the sea lions. The best fun is always free!

A large colony of sea lions spends the winter months right at this pier...a most amazing site.
I was planning to include a short video clip...but I'll leave with you this still image...since blogger wouldn't upload my movie. They looked pretty cozy!

We tried each and every mode of public transit...

...and rode the cable cars just for the fun of it.

We took the F-line train to the waterfront...along with all the locals...

...who were all too preoccupied with their blackberries to enjoy any of the sites we passed!

I'll leave you with one final image of Powell Street...and it's famous cable cars...a museum in motion.

That's all for today...but one of these days I'll be back to take you by ferry to that island you see behind us in the photo. Just for a visit!


  1. What a grand tour Judy, you truly experienced the city..thanks for being the tour guide, I had a wonderful time!

  2. Hi Judy, I have never been to San Francisco in real life. This mornings visit via picture and your journal was delightful. Thanks. Martha

  3. My memories of San Franciso are on a farm tour many years back. Maybe you were not in dairying at that time. Laurie and Vic came along...

    I recognize that little Island behind you and will wait for your next report.

  4. Wow, that was some tour around the city. I've never been there but now feel almost as if I had.

  5. I've been there in San Francisco but never saw all that ... probably just the outskirts . . . we stayed at a Motel 6 with a bed in it that shook when you put a quarter in ... we slept, and got back in our car to see how quick we could get to LA.
    Love the Victorian homes! And those sealions! Can they fit any more on there?

  6. Thanks for the reminders of the "City on the Bay" One mode of transportation I didn't see was the "Go Car". They were little 3 wheeled gas cars that gave us a guided tour via GPS. You may have to try that next time.
    We've been to San Fran.several times but you covered areas we haven't seen - including that Island - I'm waiting to see that.

  7. Good memories Judy! I've been there many times and never feel like I've had is just such an interesting place and so easy to get around.

    A fun factoid I learned just a few years ago: My mother-in-law was five years old and living in SF when the bridge opened. She rollerskated across it with the opening day crowd! We got to see the places she lived and marveled at her memories of those days.

  8. the last time I was in San Fran was over 30 years ago on our honey moon. I enjoyed the tour you took us on today. You guys always see such interesting things and take in the city just like the it. Kathy

  9. Judy, thanks for the tour...I had almost as much fun as you did! Hope your Thanksgiving is full and filled with family...

  10. Judy that was almost like being there. Good job. I haven't been there either. It is like a storybook land. Happy thanksgiving

  11. What a great gift it is to receive these pictures of San Francisco, from you. I can't believe you had the opportunity to walk the Golden Gate bridge. That must have been a thrill. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. Since I have never visited California, I learned so much.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you dear friend.

  12. Thanks for the tour of SF! Did you go to the park, too?...I really like your new "grands" pictures. It looks like Maelyn is learning to knit already!

  13. We were there years ago with our boys on our way to Disneyland. We had such a good time. ..but I learned more in your post than I did in that visit.
    Next time. . .maybe I'll go with you. .too.

  14. Thanks for the beautiful shots of San Francisco. I would love to visit someday. Happy Thanksgiving.

  15. You got some fabulous photos! How great to get such clear shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. I think I took a photo of that same store when I went past on a bus in China Town LOL! I really felt like I could be in China.

  16. I see you "left your heart in San Francisco"'m humming the tune as I type is a beautiful city by the Bay. I enjoyed many of the same sights and sounds..and walked up many of those hills, wondering how the locals do that all the time? Did you see the crooked Lombard Street? My husband had to drive down it in our rental car before we left San was fun!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson