Saturday, 2 August 2014

San Francisco Day Two - lots of hills and walking








ne of the benefits of being based on Columbus in Little Italy is that it is a central major thoroughfare. However when they need to do maintenance they try and do it out of hours. So, at 0630 this morning we were woken by a work crew attacking the trees with a chainsaw.



By 0800 we were showered and dressed ready to go out, so we headed down Columbus until we got to Grant and then walked through Chinatown into the centre. We had breakfast at the Villa Florence Hotel, unfortunately it was not that good , the croissants were rather heavy and Victorias cappuchino was tepid.



We went straight into Starbucks so Victoria could have a 'decent coffee'. After this we went back to the Levis store and I picked up another pair of bargain jeans. From here we went to the bottom of Powell street to catch the cable car, unfortunately the system was broken and they suggested getting the shuttle bus to Powell and California, there was a huge queue so we decided to walk. This is quite a long way and up a very steep hill. When we got to the top there was again a big queue, so we carried on along Powell to Washington Square where we made the descision to climb up to the Coit Tower. Stopping off at the Liguria Bakery on the corner of Filbert Street we purchased some very tasty Raisin Foccacia and a bottle of water to help us with the ascent. We climbed the vertiginous Filbert Street and then up to Coit Tower where we took the lift to the top and took in the sights, which to be honest was mainly fog when looking over the bay.





From Coit Tower we descended Filbert Steps and crossed Levi Plaza to the Battery and then on to the Embarcado where followed the piers until we came to the Ferry Building, it was certainly time for some refreshments. After a walk around the Ferry Plaza we first stopped at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant where Victoria had a large glass of Californian Pinot Noir and I had a couple of bottles of Steam Beer. Enjoying our drinks we took the opportunity to write a few postcards home. We could have easily stayed drinking in the sun, but would have missed a lot so we went to Cowgirl Creameries to share a delicious Mac and Cheese. 




From Coit Tower we descended Filbert Steps and crossed Levi Plaza to the Battery and then on to the Embarcado where followed the piers until we came to the Ferry Building, it was certainly time for some refreshments. After a walk around the Ferry Plaza we first stopped at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant where Victoria had a large glass of Californian Pinot Noir and I had a couple of bottles of Steam Beer. Enjoying our drinks we took the opportunity to write a few postcards home. We could have easily stayed drinking in the sun, but would have missed a lot so we went to Cowgirl Creameries to share a delicious Mac and Cheese. 






After Pier 39 we visited Musee Mechanique where they have loads of antique amusements from the old "What the butler saws" and fortune telling machines through to 1980's glass-top Pacman! We dropped a few quarters and found out that Victoria is flitatious! We also got our first view of the Golden Gate bridge, shrouded with a little mist.

Ready for more refreshments we went to Girardelli Square where we shared an Ocean Beach - which is a sea-salted caramel sundae, very nice it is too. We made our way along North Point, picked up Columbus, avoided the road works and were back at Hotel Boheme. I have just done a quick calculation on the map and I think we have done about ten miles today up quite a few very steep streets. Maybe all that Foccacia, Macaroni Cheese and Steam Beer has been burnt off



This evening we had booked the Sunset Bay Cruise with the Red and White line, so we walked back up to Pier 43 1/2 and boarded the Royal Prince. Setting out into the bay we soon reached the Bay Bridge and then headed back to Alcatraz. We got our complimentary beers from the bar, I had another Steam Beers while Victoria had a glass of Cabernet, after Alcatraz the buffet opened and we had a plate of food. 

Finishing this we went up on the open top deck as the ship rounded Angel Island then headed off to the harbour at Tiburon. It was great to watch the mist rolling over the hills annd then hitting the warmer air and billowing upwards. The sun was going down as we came past Bridgeway and that was a spectacular sight but the ship was going quite fast and there was quite a wind making it hard to stand on the upper deck. 




Finally we reached the mist shrouded Golden Gate Bridge which looked fantastically spectral in the fading light. The ship then turned back to the dock so we went back below to get another drink, I had a Steam Beer again, Victoria was going to have a hot chocolate but when they saw they did cocktails had a Margarita instead. The boat docked at Pier 43 1/2 and we crossed to Boudin where we shared a sourdough bowl of rustic tomato soup before heading back to Hotel Boheme, stopping at Starbucks on the way so that Victoria could have a Cinnamon Dolce Latte to warm her hands on.