Thursday, June 4, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 19 - San Francisco Day 2

Following our day of walking yesterday, we decided a trip on a ferry sounded like a good idea. Not only would it give our feet a rest but it would also provide a chance to see the city from the bay. Recommendations suggested Sausalito, which is a thirty minute ride from San Francisco, would be the best option for an interesting half day trip so we made that our destination.

The ferry ride alone was worth it for the views. 

The ferry building dates back to 1898 when it was the primary point of entry into San Francisco. It was used to advertise the Panama-Pacific International Exposition which was held in 1915 and was the biggest event in the city since the 1906 earthquake. Huge numerals were added to show the year and the tower was lit up with white lights at night. As this year marks the 100th anniversary since the fair it was decided to commemorate the event with a new sign and similar lights which will remain in place until December 4th, 2015, one hundred years after the fair closed. 

Then there are the other iconic landmarks of San Francisco:

Coit Tower from the bay
TransAmerica Pyramid Building


And what's this - the Golden Gate Bridge without the mist!
How lucky were we?

Sausalito is often compared to the French Riviera due to its Mediterranean style. Bridgeway Avenue, the main street in town, is lined with quaint shops and restaurants. It is a tiny community so it only took just over an hour to look around. 

Back in the city we headed for Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. San Francisco's transport system is first class with subway, bus, trolley-cars and tram options, all of which seem to run at frequent intervals. We took a subway and trolley-car from the ferry to the west-side of San Francisco, the trolley-car dropping us off one block from the beach. 

Don't you hate it when the beach is crowded?

True, it was a Tuesday. I'm sure it looks a lot different at weekends. 

From the beach we walked north and into Golden Gate Park. The lower end of the park was wooded and mostly deserted, at times we felt as if we were the only ones there (or at least the only ones walking). Every so often there would be an unusual shaped tree:

In the northern half of the park, however there is a lake and Japanese Tea Garden, two museums and manicured gardens, making it hard to believe we were still in the same park. My one regret was that we weren't staying in San Francisco long enough to be able to attend a concert in the park.  From the look of the outdoor performance area it would be a fun experience.

Stow Lake

Outdoor stage

Verdict: San Francisco continues to delight. There is so much to see and do that the city easily justifies more than a two night stay. Fortunately for us we still have one more day left in the city.

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