San Francisco

Sunday day 1 of 2 (this post)

We had a lie in today. This was the first day that I’ve not been up and about between 6.00am and 6.30am (work is so hard to shake off). We were going to pick up breakfast on the hoof anyway, so there was no real rush. We walked onto Fisherman’s Wharf, about five minutes away, and found a restaurant we fancied on Pier 39. Sharon had French toast with maple syrup and I had two poached eggs, bacon and home fries!! Which was very nice, but also very filling. Then we explored the various ‘Bay’ trips available to us. If we wished to extend our stay until 4th August (over a week away and therefore, which we can’t and won’t) we could take a trip to Alcatraz but as they are all booked up until then – we can’t. Even the ‘around Alcatraz and Angel Island’ trips were all booked up. Let that be a lesson to those coming here for the first time – book online and book early! We didn’t know to do that.

On our way back to the hotel, to access the free Internet in the lobby (which b.t.w. is EXCELLENT) we were passed by a tram that looked exactly like one of those that trip up and down Blackpool’s Golden Mile. MMmmm? Anyway, our Internet research came up with a ferry to Angel Island. Once there we hope to hire a bike for a couple of hours, buy a sandwich at the terminal and set off on our own. Or, take a tram ride on the Island. Whatever: we’re doing that on Monday.

We then walked around the wharfs to the financial district, had a beer on the edge of Union Square and then caught a cable car back to Fisherman’s Wharf. As luck had it, it was one of the famous cable cars that trip up and down the various San Francisco hills.

Monday day 2 of 2 (this post)

Today we solved the problem of the Blackpool tram, sort of; came to terms with the transport system and took a picnic on Angel Island.

Apparently, the trams that transverse The Embarcadero (what I’d yesterday called the wharfs) are vintage trams from around the world. It may be more complicated than that but I read something like that in a guide pamphlet. This pamphlet from www.baycityguide.com has been the best guide we’ve had. It has useful and (just) readable maps and brief suggestions on what to do and where to go to do it. It made the bigger guide ‘book’ much easier to navigate and understand (see notes tomorrow).

The guide pamphlet also told us where to buy ‘Muni’ Passports (Muni being the Municipal Transport Authority). A 3-day passport cost us just $18 each and can be used any amount of times. A tram ride costs $5 each way. So maybe tomorrow we’ll trip out somewhere.

We had a light breakfast at Boudin’s this morning before boarding the 9.45am ferry to Angel Island. The island is one of California’s threatened state parks (cuts are planned due to a huge budget deficit here in the world’s 10th largest economy) and was once the Ellis Island of the west. All early immigrants had to pass through here. The ferry costs $15 return. Once there, we hired two bikes, bought a sandwich and some crisps and set off on our trip around the perimeter road. This is only five miles and even with lots of stops (for views, for rests and for hills) can easily be done in the two hours we allowed ourselves. Bike hire = $10 per hour.

When we’d done cycling, we had our picnic on a table by the dock, sitting in the lovely sunshine and making friends with a seagull. The ferry returns at 2.00pm or 3.45pm. We caught the earlier one and caught a cable car into the city.

Food

We pottered around here for a while before having a beer and then walking up into China town for our evening meal. This was an experience. We missed Lilian’s advice and guidence so much. We’d decided to just walk into any restaurant and ‘go for it’. But we’d taken our English experience of Chinese food with us. Sharon ordered Roast Duck and steamed rice whilst I, being the more adventurous, ordered Rice Chicken Porridge and BBQ pork and duck over rice. MMmm, yummy. The porridge was quite tasty but the chicken was mostly bits of skin. Never mind. The main meats were as described but had been chopped on the bone. Sharon could hardly face hers, (but she did) and I ended up with sticky, greasy fingers and used about 20 napkins in the process. And all for $21! bargain. Last night we had take-away pizza.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lilian on July 28, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Just sent you a text to go visit the food court at Westfield Mall where Bloomingdale’s is. There is a Singapore-style food court, where there are lots of stalls selling all kinds of food from around the world and you can both order what you want, collect it and sit together at one table. Loved the Thai food in there! And strangely, I now have a craving for pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast…

    Reply

    • Ah – as you thought, too late. We were outside Westfield earlier, as we waited for a bus to Golden Gate Park. Tonight we ate at Boudins on the Wharf. French Onion soup and chicken salad. Cheers

      Reply

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