Published: February 27th 2007February 23rd 2007
Let me start by saying, after spending several months in perminant summer time, arriving in San Francisco was a HUGE shock to the system. We arrived on the evening of 22nd and had to put on every piece of clothing we had! It was 8 degrees but the wind chill made it feel like minus 10! We are now all cosy in hats, gloves and thermals!
Today we started with a good hearty breakfast in the trendy North Beach area of the city, near to the place where Joe Di Maggio married Marilyn Monroe called Washington Square. We filled up on a great American Breakfast of bagels, coffee and eggs etc and then headed for a classic Tram ride down towards the Piers. Riding up and down the cities famous steep hills, we came eventually to Fishermans Wharf - the touristy part of town.
Fishermans Wharf is like Disney in San Francisco - very colourful, loud, full of tourists, no locals to be found- but for my Magpie eyes it was great! We spent some time walking around the piers; people watching, watching some guys break dancing and watching the sea lions sun bathe in the sunshine.
great animals are wild but choose to make their home on the floating platforms between the piers, they are a lazy bunch! but every now and again the smaller ones will start on one of the large adults and they make so much noise, a bit like a roar-come-moan, its really amusing to watch. There must have been over 150 of them, and many were really big!
One of the best places we found that wasn't very well advertised was Musee Mechanique - a small museum in a bayside wharf devoted to old arcade machines and fun fair machines.
Afterwards we had a great lunch, its a must do thing when in San Fran- Clam Chouder served in a Sour Dough bread roll- mmmmmm I can still taste it, its lovely. The great thing about it, you can eat the bowl!
From there, we headed to Pier 33 to catch our ferry to Alcatraz for the night tour. This was pre-booked a little while ago, and thank goodness we did, it was sold out. It was a fascinating combination of guided tour and headphone tour, recorded with old inmates and guards from when the prison was open.
The tour took us around the cells where famous inmates like Al Capone and the Bird Man of Alcatraz had residence, and also outside to view the amazing skyline of the city as the sun set over the harbour. Neither of us had been in a prison before, it was so facinating.
With some energy left in our legs, we walked to Chinatown for dinner. The Chinatown in San Fran has the greatest number of Chinese residents then any other in the USA so the choice was great!
We finally returned to our hostel at 10.00pm after about 12 hours of walking- but what a great day, we covered so much ground and the weather (although cold) was beautiful, lovely blue skies and no clouds, it almost felt autumnal.
There are more photos below