Pier 3 and Bay Bridge
If someone asked me this before we began this trip the answer would have been "yes" though I must confess I haven't worn flowers in my hair. I haven't been to San Francisco before and have been keen to visit for a long time. It's one of those places - like New York- that I’ve grown up seeing in countless TV episodes and films (Bullett and the Dirty Harry movies spring to mind) so it all somehow seems quite familiar even though I've never been here. What I hadn't realised is that there say a dozen distinct city areas that are each quite different. The iconic film-scapes with cable cars and steep hills is really just a small area of North Shore.
Like any large city it’s not RV friendly but J finds a state campground in the Castro valley that is close to a BART (train) station. Though the BART carparks don’t have spaces for RVs and tend to fill up early we can park in a street 2 blocks away. The train lives up to it's name (rapid transport) and takes us direct to the city centre - under the Bay not over - in about 30 minutes.
We have 2 days here, and though we could easily spend much longer that’s time enough to see the sights I want to see and also pick up a feel for the place. We actually skip doing the main tourist sights (Alcatraz tours are meant to book out several days in advance but it seems that there are plenty of spaces available as we walk past the pier), but we do try to see the Piers, Fisherman's Wharf, North Shore and the China town areas. We walk Russian and Nob Hills via the crooked Lombard street and see, but don't ride, the iconic cable cars. There's a lot you can do but we keep it simple and just explore - the seals on Pier 23 are a great attraction but we also take a look in the Diego Rivera gallery which has a great view of the bay from the roof.
To see the bay we take one of the regular ferries over to Sausalito and walk back to the city over the Golden Gate bridge. It’s a fairly long walk but we have a fine day and are up to it. A much more popular option is
to hire a bike, ride to Sausalito and catch the boat back, but we have the whole day, fine weather and can take our time. From the bridge you have a birds eye view of the windsurfers (and a few kite surfers) cruising across the bay. No fog today just a nice clear day.
We’ll definitely come back here sometime when we have more time and then it would be good to stay in the city so we can see more of the western city districts and experience the nightlife. It seems a pity perhaps that we didn’t visit the Museum of Modern Art, which I'm sure is fantastic, but this would have taken the best part of a day and it would have been a pity not to enjoy the good weather . But we can save that and the rest of the city for our next visit.
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