The perfect 5 days
San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
August 2nd, 2007 – by: annexaviera
My friend and I arrived at about 2:30am Tuesday at the Golden Gate hotel. I can not say enough about this hotel - it was absolutely charming with all the comforts at hand, and quite moderately priced. It is also located very conveniently on Bush street close to Powell. Some of my favorite things about this hotel (really a B&B): the orange cat, the golden retriever, the large bowl of Jelly Belly beans, the hot cinnamon croissants, the historic photographs lining the hallway, and finally our gracioius hosts.
We were out the door by 10am with the idea to spend the day walking the city. As soon as we stepped outside we thought it was about to rain because it was grey and I could feel a very light sprinkling. However I soon found out about San Francisco's unique climate - in the summer it is foggy nearly every morning, but it usually clears by afternoon. I don't think I quite got used to the coolness or the wind - I definitely needed warm clothes. Tourist shops here make a killing selling fleeces and wind breakers to tourists who arrive unprepared.
Starting at the Ferry Building, we took the historic Cable Car on California St. Not alot of people take this line, but it gives you a good view of the city and Bay Bridge as you go up the hill. We got off at the end of the line - not very long for $5! and walked up Polk street which was pretty interesting.
We stopped at Ghiradelli square where they have a famous chocolate factory (you can get delicious sundaes there) and nearby in the square is an excellent cup cake shop.
From here we walked to telegraph hill and walked the gazillion steps up to the top (warning - do not attempt if you are not in pretty decent shape or at least allow for breaks.
Although I didn't see much of Berkley, I was really interested by what I did see on the way to the restaurant Chez Panisse. I would like to go back and see more of it since it really isn't very far out of San Francisco if you take the rapid transit system. I had a wonderful meal at Chez Panisse with goes with out saying considering its global acclaim and that fact that it has been talked about ad nauseum.
On the second day we went on a Napa Valley wine tour. This was sheer bliss. We visited four wineries - Domaine Chandon (sparkling wine), V. Sattui, Rutherford Ranch and Andretti Winery. Each was very different and amazing. I am especially jealous of the tour guide at Chandon whose job has her drinking Champagne before noon. If you do this, you should buy some bottles while you're there. After the second winery visit, my palate lost focus and I just drank and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was beautiful, sunny and the air had a dry warmth - just perfect. It was only after our time in Napa that I realized everything I had been drinking since just wasn't good, so I was glad I had brought some home to enjoy.
For our third day we decided we would "bike the bridge!" as the Blazing Saddles employees holler at you as you walk along Fisherman's wharf. This was a comfortable ride, mostly on a bike path along the water and it built up your anticipation to see the bridge getting closer and closer. The best view I had of it was on the far side (the Sausalito side), there's a nice rest point here. From the rest point it is all downhill. I am not joking, it was like riding down to a magical paradise. All of a sudden it was no longer cold or foggy. The sun was beaming, the sky and water were bright blue and the only fog was just a mist dancing along the roof tops of houses that were built into the hills on the waterfront.
Day four we caught the bus to Haight and Ashbury. Even though I had no particular interest in hippie culture, I can at least appreciate that alot of great music came from here and the hippie lifestyle ("If you're going to San Francisco" and all that.
Our last full day, day five, started off at the Grace Cathedral which was not far from our hotel. My friend was not so interested but came along anyway. I was really glad I went to, it has an interesting history and I especially wanted to see the bronze doors which were from Ghiberti's molds in Florence. Since it was Saturday, we walked over to the Farmer's Market at the Ferry building. This was really an awesome experience. Where I am from, our farmer's market is pretty standard in its selection. Here not only were there varieties I'd never heard of, but you could TRY anything. We litteraly feasted on samples alone - peaches, tomatos and lavender salt, goat cheese, boysenbery yogurt, pecan shortbread, fresh squeezed juice, and even "necta-plums" (cross between nectarine and a plum).
After that all I can say, is that don't count on taking the BART to the airport Sunday morning at 7:30 if you have an early flight - you might just miss it (we didn't miss ours but almost did!)
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