We Went To San Francisco Without Flowers In Our Hair

San Francisco … Frisco, San Fran, SF, The City, The City By The Bay, The Golden City, Fog City and our home for the next 3 days.

It’s an outrageously hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.  It’s known for its year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses and Alcatraz Island in the bay which is of course the site of the notorious former prison.

We explored this city from our humble hotel room in the Castro, taking the F Line trolley car all the way down to Fishermans Warf and back again.   We ate at Boudin for the famous bread bowl with an option of clam chowder or beef chilli (an option we may have regretted later due to excessive gas!)

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Busy, Busy, Busy

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One Of The Best Places To Eat – Boudin

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Chilli In A Bread Bowl … Love It

We travelled the trolley cars but the drivers aren’t as friendly as our Melbourne tram drivers (I may be biased). They rattle and roll and are packed with tourists but it’s a worthwhile trip at only US $2.50 for a two hour hop on hop off ticket.

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Trolley Cars

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Riding The Rails with Raels

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Cable Car

We return to waterfront the next day to explore some more and enjoy a local beer in a bar on Pier 39.  We also take another stroll past the marina and some of the local bird life which I can only describe as huge.  The seagulls here are about the size of my small dog with wings … don’t mess with them if they have an eye on a snack!

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Sampling The Local Brews

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The Marina at Pier 39

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Mutant Gull

It’s windy and cool with an average temperature of about 15 degree but the views of the bay and the tall ships at Hyde Pier take your mind of the brisk breeze and then we decide to drive accross the Golden Gate Bridge – bucket list …. tick!

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Maritime Museum – Hyde Street Pier

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Hyde Street Pier

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It Cold Today

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We Drove Across The Golden Gate Bridge … Tick

Our last night in San Francisco we say good by to the Castro and our temporary home.

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View From The Balcony Of The Hotel

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Got To Love A Rainbow Flag

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Castro Street

Tomorrow we leave for new adventures in Nevada.

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Carmel-by-the-Sea to the City-by-the-Bay

After a restless night sleep in Monterey, we have a complimentary waffle or two for breakfast before taking a little side trip to see the rest of the scenic north coast route and in particular the Bixby Creek Bridge with its stunning views.

Along the way we discover this amazing town called Carmel-by-the-Sea which is located on the Monterey Peninsula. It’s known for it beautiful scenery and apparently in the 1910’s 60 percent of the houses were built by actors, poets, and artists and it still has a rich artistic presence now.

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Carmel City Beach Park

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Carmel City Beach Park

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Carmel City Beach Park

On the road again and we head towards the Big Sur coast however like the day before the road is closed ahead and we decide to go as far as the Bixby Creek Bridge (aka Bixby Bridge) for a photo opportunity with all the other tourists on the coast that day.

Apparently it is one of the most photographed bridges in California due to its aesthetic design.   It’s a 110 m reinforced concrete open-spanded arch bridge and was opened in 1932 and is one of the tallest single-span bridges in the world.

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Bixby Creek Bridge

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Bixby Creek Bridge

Now we put peddle to the metal and drive straight through to San Francisco to get to our hotel Becks Motor Inn by sunset.

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Our Home For The Next Three Days

Hippies, Hipsters and Hyde Street Pier

San Fransisco, the last leg of our amazing American adventure and it’s easy to see why people fall in love with San Francisco almost immediately.

With its hippies, hipsters, tourists and gorgeous gay folk we found this city magical, quirky and apparently the home of the best clam chowder in sourdough bread bowl in the world.  This city by the bay is a must on any American adventure.

Hyde St Pier - San Fransisco

Hyde St Pier – San Fransisco

Our home away from home for the next few days is a quaint bed and breakfast, Chateau Tivoli. With its location only a few blocks from Alamo Square Park and the iconic “Painted Ladies”.

Chateau Tivoli

Chateau Tivoli

The Painted Ladies

The Painted Ladies

First stop, Alcatraz Island. It was home to some of the worst criminals in US history, such as Robert Stroud (“The Birdman of Alcatraz”) and Al Capone. An eerie and desolate place with a very sordid and colourful past. The only way to get there is via the ferry, through the shark-infested waters, so we took the first ferry and spent most of the day there.

Alcatraz - San Fransisco

Alcatraz – San Fransisco

Alcatraz - San Fransisco

Alcatraz – San Fransisco

Alcatraz - San Fransisco

Alcatraz – San Fransisco

Alcatraz - San Fransisco

Alcatraz – San Fransisco

No trip would be complete without a ride on the San Fransisco cable cars. Coming from Melbourne, Australia we are not unfamiliar to using trams as transport but there is something magical and exciting about riding a cable car in San Fransisco.

Cable Car - San Fransisco

Cable Car – San Fransisco

Ding Ding - Cable Car - San Fransisco

Ding Ding – Cable Car – San Fransisco

The hub of activity was Pier 39 (Fisherman’s Warf), touristy but fun. And here we find San Fransisco’s famous sea lions who are soaking up the midday sun. Loud, smelly and certainly cheeky they push and shove for the best position on their favourite flotilla.

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay!

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay!

Fisherman's Wharf - San Fransisco

Fisherman’s Wharf – San Fransisco

Fisherman's Wharf - San Fransisco

Fisherman’s Wharf – San Fransisco

I wasn’t game to try the clam chowder (I don’t like seafood) however, I indulged in a chill con carne version in the sourdough bread bowl, and excellent choice and one of my favourite meals in America so far.

Just a stone’s throw from Pier 39 we find the Aquarium of the Bay and see an entire exhibit dedicated to jellyfish and we find ourselves mesmerized by the floating forms.

Jelly Fish At The Aquarium On The Bay - San Fransisco

Jelly Fish At The Aquarium On The Bay – San Fransisco

Jelly Fish At The Aquarium On The Bay - San Fransisco

Jelly Fish At The Aquarium On The Bay – San Fransisco

Finally we took another ferry to get up close and personal to one of San Fransisco’s most famous landmarks with its towering red suspension cables, The Golden Gate Bridge.   Truly awe inspiring as we travel under this engineering art piece and we finally say good bye to this icon on sunset.

Golden Gate Bridge - San Fransisco

Golden Gate Bridge – San Fransisco

Noeleen at Sunset - San Fransisco

Noeleen at Sunset – San Fransisco

Golden Sunset over The Golden Gate

Golden Sunset over The Golden Gate