Thursday, June 4, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 20 - Last Day in San Francisco

Call me crazy, but I love walking across bridges so when I discovered that it was possible to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, I couldn't resist. The bridge runs from the tip of the Presidio, a former military base turned park, to Marin County across the bay. The park is quite a distance from the downtown area so initially we set off to the bus station at Fisherman's Wharf.

Fisherman's Wharf has been one of the major tourist attractions in San Francisco for many years, but sadly has become far too over-commercialized and bears little resemblance to the Wharf area that I remember from a previous visit in the 1990's. It looked more like Disneyland than a city pier complex and was almost as crowded.

At first I thought I was going to be disappointed in my hopes to see the sea lions - thought maybe they had been chased away in the course of redevelopment - but, luckily for them, I guess they are too much of a draw to be done away with completely and we found them tucked away between two piers, one of which had been turned into a huge viewing platform. 

Not quite the same as seeing them in more natural circumstances.

I had checked out the bus route from Fisherman's Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge on Googlemaps and was pleased to see that the journey required only one bus, the number 4. However, when we enquired at the bus station as to where we could catch the number 4, we were told there was no such bus! We managed to get to our destination by following another couple who were heading in the same direction and had vague instructions as to which two buses were required. I couldn't believe that Googlemaps could have got it so wrong. Later, as we walked the bridge, we actually saw a number 4 bus - turns out it was a different company from the one whose driver we had asked!  

Anyway, when we eventually got to the bridge, we were delighted to find that it was not encased in mist at all, but that the sun was shining, the sky was cloudless and the views amazing.

the bridge from the city side

the view across the bay

looking across at the downtown area


We had been warned that the walk can be cold even in summer so we had piled on the layers and, maybe because the sun was out, it wasn't too bad. The walk back was colder because then we were walking into the wind. 

The bridge span is 1.2 miles long so the round trip only took about an hour. I was surprised at how many people were walking the bridge as I hadn't realised it was that popular a tourist attraction.  Having done it now, I can see why it is though, because if the weather is kind it's a marvellous way to get a bird's eye view of San Francisco. 

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