Published: February 25th 2007February 25th 2007
As the title suggests San Francisco is full of hills and they are all too bloody steep. The first day we thought that an old fashioned walk around San Fran would be in order. We started by walking from our hostel in Union Square (downtown) out to the famous Golden Gate Bridge. We walked up and down, up and down and then up and down again and we finally got to the bridge. Being on foot our only option to get across the bridge was to walk. So we walked the approximately 1.2kms across to get some great views of San Fran from the other side and then walked back again. We oohhed and aahhed at the bridge for a while as it is a very impressive bridge. After this we wanted some lunch so we thought that a short stroll to Fisherman’s Wharf would pay dividends with an abundance of fish and chip shops. The short walk turned into about an hours worth, but at least it was flat along the waterfront. Fisherman’s Wharf is a lot like Fremantle with café’s and eateries along the wharf and some boats moored alongside. It was, however, missing one important element, Little Creatures.
This is what makes Fremantle’s wharf the best in the world. Following lunch we walked up and down those damn hills again to get back to our hostel. The walk ended up being about 14 miles.
We gave our leg guns a rest this morning before heading out to the crookedest street in the USA. It is, as you would have guessed by now, on a hill and is a very windy street, but that’s about it. After this we started to walk towards Coit Tower which is on Telegraph Hill (the highest part of San Fran) until we were rudely stopped in our tracks by the Tour of California bike race. Who do these cyclists think they are getting in the way of tourists. We watched the race (didn’t recognise any of the riders) for a while before walking along the Embarcadero, which is the main section of piers in San Fran, to the baseball stadium. The interesting thing about this stadium is that it’s on the harbour at South Beach and the players, especially Barry Bonds, can hit a home run over the centre field stand and into the water. The record breaking home run ball hit
by Bonds was caught by a guy sitting in the water in South Beach and sold for a million dollars on E-bay. Now that I’ve filled my journalist quota for the blog, back to the good stuff. We started walking back to the hostel when we found a brewery called 21st Amendment Pub Brew. We decided to have some late lunch there and sat down and looked at the menu. To our amazement all of the beers were at least 9.3%, we were like two kids on Christmas Day. We sampled all of the beers before heading back to the hostel where we met a local San Fran bloke who was staying there because he is between apartments. We decided that he should take us to some local pubs, as he knows the area. We were also joined by a Welsh bloke, who’s name we never found out, but he will always be Welshy to us. The four of us hit the town, which after some beers is far easier to walk around. We went to a fair few pubs and were all pretty well inebriated except Welshy who was completely, well, fire trucked. We had to carry him back
to the hostel, and, let me tell you that a 100kg bloke is not easy to carry long distances. We were all surprised that a Welsh person was so easily drunk under the table. Those Welsh are now light weights to us.
Today we went to the famous Alcatraz Prison, and, no, we weren’t there from the night before. The tour of Alcatraz is one of the best we’ve done yet. It’s cool to be in the same place as crims such as Robert “Birdman” Stroud, “Machine Gun” Kelly and Al Capone. The audio tour is hosted by four ex-wardens and four ex-prisoners which adds a real authenticity to it. The tour takes you through the cell block and shows you the famous places such as where the “Battle of Alcatraz” started. If you don’t know about it, there was a massive riot in the cell block when some prisoners tried to escape and shot the prison guards. We also saw the sight where Frank Morrison masterminded an escape with three other convicts using a spoon to dig out of the cell and manufacturing dummies to lay in the beds to fool the guards. This was made into a
film called “Escape from Alcatraz” and starred Clint “Dirty Harry” Eastwood as the main character. As a matter of fact they didn’t just use spoons as Hollywood reported, they also stole tools from the industry part of Alcatraz. We took the “Escapes of Alcatraz” tour as well and this turned out to be an eye opener. We found out that Hollywood lied some more. Firstly, Hollywood reported that the water is too cold to swim in and that it is too far from San Fran to make it back to the main land. This is rubbish as the city of San Fran hold a race from Alcatraz back to the mainland every year. Secondly, Hollywood said the huge man eating sharks in the bay will eat you if you jump in the water. This is false as the only sharks in the bay swim along the surface and don’t harm anyone. So after Alcatraz we saw some cool stuff and found out that Hollywood lies. My main source of information is rubbish!! After Alcatraz we caught the famous San Fran cable car back to the hostel to rest up. This was much easier than walking up and down those hills.
Our next adventure was at Yosemite National Park a couple of days after San Fran. We headed into the park and drove around for a while, past Tunnel View and Badger Pass (the main ski area) before parking the tortoise and going for a hike. We hiked 5.5km up to the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls and the views were spectacular. It had been snowing a little before we got there so the tops of the mountains were snow capped and with the trees and rivers and falls through the parks this made for some amazing viewing. Having said that, we couldn’t move by the time we got back to the hostel that night but it was worth it.
We have a couple of days of full on driving next before we get to our next destination, Mt Rushmore.
There are more photos below