We had an absolutely lovely day hanging out in San Francisco. Although we were only in the city for a couple of days, we really got the feel that it’s a fantastic place to live. The brilliant sunshine probably helped! I understand that’s not typical.
Dom and Jes very kindly offered to show us around for the day and we started out with a drive up to the Twin Peaks to take in the views across the city.
San Francisco from Twin Peaks
I don’t know whether Twin Peaks are the highest points in the city, but the views are fab. We tried to figure out the names of the various hills sticking up and got ourselves orientated.
After Twin Peaks we went on a whirlwind driving tour of some of the most famous areas of the city: Castro, Haight Ashbury, and Golden Gate Park. It was cool to see the murals in Haight and the bison in the Park. We ended up at South Beach and dropped into the Beach Chalet for refreshments and to watch the surfers! The sea was pretty lively so we didn’t go for a walk on the beach.
Mini beer sampler at the Beach Chalet
On the way back to drop off the car, we tried to track down the famous picture postcard street of painted Victorian houses, but we must have taken a wrong turn. We saw plenty of gorgeous old houses though and we were all looking out for where we’d like to live if money were no object. We also stopped for a quick view of the Golden Gate Bridge:
View of the Golden Gate Bridge
Dom and Jes looking cool
We dropped the car off, jumped on the tram and headed into the city centre to take a a wander through Union Square, Chinatown, Market Street, the financial district and down to the Embarcadero.
One of the famous tourist attractions in San Francisco is, of course, the cable cars which are actually powered by clamping on to a cable running in a loop underground – this pulls the cars up and down the hills.One end of the cable car routes is near Union Square at the Powell Street turntable. The cars can only go forward and so at the turntable the operators have to push them by hand on the revolving platform. The queue of cars and the even bigger queue of potential patrons convinced us that the engines pulling the cables can’t pull too many cars at a time.
We didn’t attempt to take a ride, but we managed to grab a quick photo:
Cable cars in the city centre
Aside from the cable cars, San Francisco has an extensive tram network. Some of the downtown tram routes run vintage trams (or ‘streetcars’) which come from all over the world and still have their original livery. It’s the Municipal Railway’s “Museum in Motion”. Here’s one example, but there were many more:
In the brilliant sunshine, we might have forgotten that Christmas was coming up:
These skaters looked like they were having fun!
We carried on through Chinatown and the financial district to the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building. There was an ‘Occupy’ tented village outside, but politics could not distract us from our goal: lunch.
The Ferry Building
Inside The Ferry Building
The Ferry Building used to be a transport hub, but now it’s full of cafes and food shops. We had to wait for a bit, but we managed to grab a table in the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant for some bread and cheese, charcuterie and, of course, a bit of wine tasting. With all this choice, it would have been rude not to (plus we needed to get into practice for Napa):
Inside The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
Tom was very brave to be wandering around SF in a Packers shirt!
Some time later…
Later again, Dom and Jes headed home and we went for a wander down towards Fisherman’s Wharf. We wanted to scope out the Alcatraz tour and to see what else was going on.
Blurry picture of palm trees on the waterfront
I love a carousel, but this one was for kids:
Carousel at Fisherman's Wharf
What a busy day! In the evening we had a rather lovely dinner cooked by our rather lovely hosts and a little more wine!
And to round things off, here’s a cute kitty!
I confess I don't know if this is Killer or Jules Verne!
The date was 12 November 2011. Next day – Day 13: Match Day.