The drive from Yosemite was beautiful until I got into the city and my heart rate shot up by 20-30 beats per minute (yes I checked my watch to see it actually did!). But I took deep breaths, chanted ‘fuck fuck fuck’ a lot and manoeuvred my way to the car rental with no wrong turns (just) and no mishaps. Phew. The car did me well – final mileage was 985 – but I’m pleased to be back to my favourite mode of transport – my legs.
Checked into my hostel in Fisherman’s Wharf, my priority was showering as I was filthy! Then I went in search of seafood – and was not disappointed. I had a delicious snapper and a much deserved
glass carafe of wine whilst watching the sunset over the wharf.
A restful morning in the hostel and I set off to The Crookedest Street – a pretty cool street with wonderful views.
Then I went to hire a bike to explore the city. First stop, The Palace of Fine Arts, a stunning building with beautiful surroundings.
And then along Crissy Field, a beautiful waterfront with views upto the Golden Gate Bridge.
I didn’t get very far cycling on the sand mind…
And then it was up and over. It was hard work cycling up (I’m not going to blame the bike and its rubbish gears…) But it was worth it for these views.
Then was the fun part: cycling down to Sausalito, a lovely little harbor town. I parked up and explored the harbor full of houseboats and found a lovely restaurant for a bite to eat. The shops were lovely to browse in before the tough cycle uphill to the bridge.
And on to the Golden Gate Park, an absolutely massive park full of about a dozen lakes, a bison paddock, a race track and so much more. I enjoyed watching some high school kids finishing a race (I’m guessing it was 5km based on their times) whilst I got my breath back from all them hills. And then I cycled back to the hostel to get showered before dinner.
That evening, I met up in Mission with Liv, a friend of a friend. Before meeting, I explored the area which was so vibrant and cultured. I was amazed by the murals painted on the walls in Balmy Ally which are apparently constantly changing.
Then I met Liv, who took me to a super cool Mexican rooftop bar and restaurant – as the locals do. A lovely evening and great to get to a less touristy area. We were too busy chatting that I forgot to get any photos…
Friday morning, I headed down to the infamous Pier 39 to see the sea lions (and the pelicans!). It’s incredible how an animal can be so elegant on the water yet so ungainly on land. But like many of my other favourite animals, that’s why I loved them so much. They were so amusing to watch that I lost track of time.
Then I headed round to Coit Tower, a hefty climb, to see panoramic views of the city. Stunning.
And a great shot of Alcatraz, where I’d be heading later that evening.
I had lunch in a lovely Italian cafe and raised a glass of Californian bubbles to Lee and Ben who were enjoying wine tasting on their honeymoon.
Then I explored China Town and Union Square, got my hair cut and headed back to the hostel to freshen up before the evening.
That evening, I headed on the night tour of Alcatraz. The boat trip to the island was great fun and fascinating as they told the stories about the island’s history.
Alcatraz was a Super-Max security prison – most of the inmates came from other prisons having tried to escape or attacking guards etc.
Break the rules and you go to prison, break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz.
The audio tour was the best I’ve ever listened to – narrated by former prisoners and prison guards. It took us via the cells, dining room, library and much more, all the way telling us stories and historic facts. Particularly interesting were the escape attempts – including the men that left dummy heads in their bunks to fool the guards – they were never found, and whether they died or successfully reached the shore remains a mystery.I then joined a guided tour about one famous escape from Alcatraz. A man chiseled away at the bars for seven years and one night broke through and successfully swam to shore – where he was caught with hyperthermia and returned to prison! Poor guy!A great evening where I learned a lot and enjoyed stunning nighttime views of the city.Saturday morning – time for parkrun. I met up with Liv and a colleague of hers for the beautiful run along Crissy Fields. And I was delighted to finish second woman (first in my age group)!Then we had a lovely brunch before I headed back to the hostel to check out. I had a last little wander round the beautiful city and a cheeky pretzel whilst sat on the beach.A lovely end to a fantastic trip! I’ve loved San Fransisco and am sad to be leaving my heart there…