San Francisco

Sunday 12th October

Exploring San Francisco – it was a bright sunny and (apparently) unusually warm day so we hit the sidewalk and checked out this sprawling city that has a population of under 1 million people,but the urban sprawl is home to 8.5 million.

Yesterday they all seemed to be either driving or out and about walking whilst we were trying to navigate our way safely to our hotel.  After a check in, we dropped off the car and were both in need of a very stiff drink.

However Sunday was a new day and after a great breakfast at one of the hippest coffee/breakfast cafes in town (Cafe a la Presse) we walked through Chinatown (largest in the USA) and climbed up the steep hill to the Coit Tower.  We took the elevator to the top for some magnificent views of the city. From there we continued down (and down does really mean down in this city) Lombard Street before climbing all the way up again to the top of the windiest street.  Because tourists are still allowed to drive down the street it causes traffic jams at the top and bottom of this short street therefore the city employs 3 police officers at both ends to direct traffic and pedestrians.   This is made all that more interesting by a local tram ambling past, dragged along by a steel cable that whirs beneath the road surface. In the absence of a cable brake the tram manages to stop with the technical ability afforded by fresh timber sheaves smoking off the hot rails. Amongst this noisy melee the police officers        don’t mind giving people some lip if they are unhappy.

We jumped on the cable car to the bottom of the street and found ourselves at Fisherman’s Wharf.  The crowd was starting to gather for the air show.  It was Fleet Week and a very special display by the Blue Angels aerobatic team (US Navy) was about to unfold.  We decided to walk along the waterfront towards the Golden Gate Bridge.  This took us a couple of hours with many stops along the way to be thoroughly wowed by the air show that went on for 2 hours.  Some of the aircraft flew so low over the water just pulling up in time to fly over the bridge.

By 4pm it was over so we climbed up to the bridge and walked from end to end and return, some 6kms.  The views were fabulous and we even spotted a seal feeding in the harbour.

On our return headed over to Pier 39.  A very touristy area however we did find a superb seafood restaurant (Neptune’s) and enjoyed some great salmon and shrimps.  By the time we got back to the hotel we estimated that we had probably clocked up about 25kms by foot.  Needless to say we slept very well.

Blue Angels