San Francisco at last

Published: September 4th 2008
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Tuesday 19th August
Wow, would you believe it, having looked for somewhere to eat the previous night, we had come across a 24 hour gym not 5 minutes drive from our motel. So, first stop of the day was a free 2 hour session, working off the meal from the night before!

We then excitedly drove to downtown San Francisco, and were thrilled by the views of the city as we got ever nearer. It really was an impressive sight as we made our way to a parking spot in Chinatown. Amy did a great job negotiating the traffic, and we parked up early afternoon.

The guide book suggested a scenic walk not far from where we had parked, and this seemed an ideal way to get our first views of the city. Chinatown was huge, and we spent lots of time stopping and admiring the thriving mini-city within the big city. We finally got to see a number of trademark sights that made us gasp for breath - the first sightings of Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge, the steep up and downs of the streets, and the cable cars.

After the walk, we hopped on the tram for our first ride up and down the streets. The trams are free and follow a set route, and they were certainly a novel and entertaining experience. The end of the tram ride took us to Fisherman's Wharf, and this was convenient because it allowed us to find our meeting point for the tour we have booked for Thursday - a double headed tour: in the morning we visit Angel Island (National State Park with many scenic walks), while in the afternoon we board the ferry and head off to Alcatraz! This is a trip we are both really looking forward to. From our view of the Rock from the Wharf, Amy seems to think it IS swimmable - a theory I may let her test out come Thursday!!

The temperature does tend to drop quite sharply late on in the afternoon, so Amy did some practical shopping for warmer clothes, and then we headed back to Chinatown to enjoy a beer in a very traditional San Francisco pub, followed by a meal at Brandy Ho's (as recommended by the air steward on our flight out to Vegas). Suitably fed, we headed back to our motel.

Tomorrow would bring a guided bus tour of the city - something we had booked onto during the afternoon, as we thought it would be a good way of seeing San Francisco in all its glory.

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