While we had no plans to go to an American Football match when we planned the honeymoon, when we found out that the 49ers were playing at home on the Sunday we were in San Francisco it seemed to good an opportunity to miss. Dom was able to purchase some last minute tickets for the New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers from a ticket exchange website.
While the weather was lovely when we set out for Candlestick Park, Dom also went to great pains to advise us that since the stadium was next to the Bay, the weather was bound to change for the worse and we could expect freezing fog to roll in. Accordingly we all wrapped up warm and set off for the match.
Needless to say, the weather remained bright and sunny all day and we found ourselves stripping off the layers as we sweltered in the sunshine. It was so hot Dom had to go and buy (yet another) 49ers cap to stop his head burning!
We arrived at the stadium we encountered the usual car park carnival that is found at most matches. The car park was full of happy Americans throwing a trailer party. Essentially this involves attaching a BBQ to your pickup truck and consuming half a cow while drinking your own body weight in beer.
Inside the ground we found an amazing atmosphere with the most eclectic mix of fans that I have ever seen. Directly in front of us was a huge, but very friendly, Latino man who just could not sit still: he just kept bouncing out of his seat every time the 49ers did anything. Across the aisle from us was Mr Redneck (wispy ginger beard, stained vest and a John Deere baseball cap) while ruling the roost was a little white haired lady, covered in 49ers merchandise, whose job it was to boss the other fans around.
The Americans, or at least those who live in San Francisco, have a very different approach to watching sport than I’m used to. We get to our seats early and stay to the end. Here, many fans were still arriving at their seats late in the second quarter, then they would wander around and chat with their friends, go for drinks, before leaving early in the fourth quarter to beat the rush home. It seems a bit strange to pay quite a lot of money for tickets to a match that you don’t watch.
The game itself was quite exciting with both teams moving the ball and scoring. I found myself in an odd position as I was cheering for the 49ers to win, but also cheering for one of the Giant’s receivers (Victor Cruz) who I had on my fantasy football team. Luckily, both the 49ers and Victor did well so I had the best of both worlds! The final score was Giants 20 – 49ers 27 and we joined many happy 49er fans leaving the stadium for the slow journey home.
After the match we left Dom and Jes (thank you both for your very kind hospitality) to a quiet night in, headed into the centre of San Francisco and checked into the Handlery Hotel on Union Square for a final night on the town.
After wandering around taking in the night life and more of the sights, we both had a hankering for pizza and followed the concierge’s recommendation to eat at Uncle Vito’s pizzeria. It was (and still is hopefully) a lovely, down to earth, family-run restaurant which does fantastic pizzas. We slightly underestimated the size of the pie that we ordered (it was massive, about 16 inches across) and while we did our best, we left the restaurant defeated (but happy and very full) for a relatively early night – we were planning an early morning trip to Alcatraz the next day. Bring on the Rock.
The date was 13 November 2011. Next day – Day 14: Alcatraz.