Short Stay in San Francisco.

San Francisco Travel Blog

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Only the tourists use this cable car!

Our next stop was San Francisco which we got to via the Bay bridge and where we stayed in the interesting Mayflower hotel.

As you can see from the photo San Francisco has some pretty steep hills. We decided to each buy a pass so that we could travel unlimited on the buses and cable-cars. (Definitely well worth it). The queue for the cable-car from the tourist information centre reviled the queue at Glastonbury for wellies. However it was a lovely sunny day and the ride was worth the wait. They pack the people on the cable-cars we were very lucky to get a seat so fortunately we did not have to hang on to the side for dear life.

We arrived safely at our intended destination Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoyed a stroll along the waterfront looking at all the historic ships (Incidentally, the largest collection in the world.

40 years since the Summer of Love and they still haven't found their way home yet.
We had a suitably seafood lunch at one of the very many seafood places along the wharf……and then we came across the wonderful sea-lions at Pier 39 (see separate review). Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, it did! Mad Simon was taking a look at The USS Pampanito a WWII submarine, when I stumbled upon the most amazing discovery. In what I thought was the maritime museum was in fact an arcade filled with all these old fashioned games that you could play for only a quarter. They were excellent and we were able to play on them for the rest of the afternoon to our hearts content. We polished off this great day eating pizza in a restaurant near our hotel, and very nice it was too.

I had given up on getting any chance to visit Alcatraz which I was desperate to visit.

Alcatraz as seen from Fisherman's Wharf.

So I persuaded Simon to join me on a visit to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf. What can I say…well I guess it’s the kind of place you’ll either love or hate. If like me, you enjoy all things freaky and uniquey then you’ll love it. I got some pretty cool photos, (not sure that it’s o.k. to post them on here), so if you’re interested ask me to show them to you when I get back.

Anyhow on the way to Ripley’s a guy was shouting out that he had Alcatraz tours, I couldn’t believe it as they were supposed to be sold out for days. It seemed to good to be true, but it meant we could go to Alcatraz that afternoon. Ok so we paid well over the odds, but I didn’t care. We were going to Alcatraz and that was all that mattered.

The only time we got to see the Golden Gate Bridge was from Alcatraz.
We were meet on the island by a ranger (Alcatraz is part of the National Parks),who gave a talk on the islands military history, Indian occupation and natural history.

Unfortunately our time on the Island was limited as we needed to get the last ferry back.

So after watching a brief film on Alcatraz, we made a whistle-stop tour of the buildings on the Island. We spent 45 minutes walking around the cell house listening to the audio-tour which is a mixture of former inmates and correctional officers talking about their time in Alcatraz. We saw some great views of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

Indeed it must have been very hard for the inmates to be so near to San Francisco, yet so far. I would have liked to have walked around the historic garden and seen more of the birds that call Alcatraz home.

Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge.
(However during the breeding season the National Park Service closes parts of the island, to protect the birds).

I really enjoyed our visit to Alcatraz, and would like to return some day. Again Alcatraz is not going to be for everyone, but if you do decide to go, my advice would be to book early and wrap up warm!

The next day decided to go to the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and enjoyed a nice walk along the beach, then decided to go for a stroll through the Golden Gate Park.

It turned out to be quite surreal…the very first thing we came across was a Dutch windmill, quickly followed by a bison enclosure. Minutes later we found ourselves enjoying the very end if the Summer Of Love (40th anniversary festival). We followed the flow and ended up heading down the Haight. (sort of a cross between Camden Market and Glastonbury high-street), and eventually made our way back to the Hotel on the bus.

We ended our short stay in San Francisco by leaving via the Golden Gate bridge which was enveloped in fog as it had been for most of our stay.

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Only the tourists use this cable c…
Only the tourists use this cable …
40 years since the Summer of Love …
40 years since the Summer of Love…
Alcatraz as seen from Fishermans …
Alcatraz as seen from Fisherman's…
The only time we got to see the Go…
The only time we got to see the G…
Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge.
Close-up of Golden Gate Bridge.
Billy Bad Drop.
Billy Bad Drop.
They wouldnt keep him, not even f…
They wouldn't keep him, not even …
Known by the locals as CD street.
Known by the locals as CD street.
Fully furnished with lifes little…
Fully furnished with life's littl…
Theyll steal anything round here.
They'll steal anything round here.
including kitchen knives, hence th…
including kitchen knives, hence t…
Watch Tower at Alcatraz.
Watch Tower at Alcatraz.
Water Tower.
Water Tower.
Recreation yard.
Recreation yard.
San Francisco as seen from Alcatra…
San Francisco as seen from Alcatr…
Every married woman needs a man in…
Every married woman needs a man i…
Fixed shadows at Ripleys, but are…
Fixed shadows at Ripley's, but ar…
Its amazing what you come across …
It's amazing what you come across…
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