California Adventure: The Streets of San Francisco - Day Four

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

On Day Four of our glorious San Francisco stay, we took to the road in our hire car to explore the city in greater detail. Looking back at these photos is so emotional for me... San Fran would have to be one of my most sacred places on the planet. Yes, all the stories about this city's beauty are so true.

Our first stop was that magnificent Golden Gate Bridge - a feat of manmade construction. Built in 1937, it was once the world's longest suspension bridge and has become an internationally recognised symbol of San Francisco.

The kids loved the views across the bay to the city, and Riley took particular interest in a maritime bronze statue overlooking the Bay.

Next stop was Golden Gate Park where we wandered the magnificent Japanese gardens, sipping green tea and nibbling crackers at the Tea Garden.

This park is just a joy to wander in - kids will love it. There are several small lakes, a model yacht club, anglers lodge, a boat house and boat rentals, and fly casting pools. There are barbecue pits, picnic areas, playgrounds, sporting fields (including soccer, handball and baseball) - even a dog run, beach chalet and Dutch windmill.

We loved it. If only the kids were interested in seeing the Asian Art Museum and the MH de Young Memorial Museum, but you know - this was their holiday, not mine. Oh sigh. The things we do.

Even though San Fran is really easy to get around, it is so much more fun with a car. The traffic is by no means horrendous thanks to well-planned streets, and you can just do and see more so easily. We drove around the western coastal road to see the Cliff House (sea lions lounge around here)...

...and then on to the famed Alamo Square...

OMG. Just so stunning. I was so mesmerised, you could have clocked me on the head with a miniature trolley car and I wouldn't have batted an eyelid. Oh yes, I've clocked up owning one of these houses on the To Do List.

The kids loved playing in the park with Dad while their mother stood in a mesmerised stupor, ogling the houses and the view (not to mention the lime green grass; they do not have lime green grass in Beijing).

Next stop was absolutely and utterly THAT street. You know the one. That crookedest one in the world - Lombard Street. Amazingly, it is the street we actually stayed in. Well, down the road a bit from this zigzaggy bit. All we had to do was walk up a 90 degree slope and down the other side was this incredibly novel zigzag of a rue - all studded at its corner points with more luscious houses and stunning views.

You could see from the top the view across the suburbs, whitewashed and looking suspiciously like a spot in the Greek Islands. The Greek-style Coit Tower (well, more Babylonian) added an interesting eye-break on top of Telegraph Hill.

We headed on over to the tower, climbed up Coit Tower and got this amazing view back to Lombard Street...

And then there was this view to Alcatraz. Yes, it was a moment.

And we also spied a little something called the Golden Gate Bridge, which was special. It was so tempting to get the kids on the water and to visit Alcatraz. There are a dozen tours that leave for the island and tour the bay but it was cold and most take at least a half day. Seeing as though we had little time to explore the rest of town, we decided not to do it (much to Husband's disappointment).

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