Wednesday, June 1, 2011

California Day 2, San Francisco

Ferry Building
I love the palm trees everywhere!
A meat store inside the ferry building. "Tasty Salty Pig Parts"....not exactly how I'd advertise my restaurant!
Delicious Ghiradelli Square.
I couldn't resist being the 3rd monkey :)

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company makes 20,000 fortune cookies by hand every DAY!
Three little old ladies hard at work making cookies
There it is! The Golden Gate Bridge!!
Bakers Beach - on the lookout for nudies! Supposedly this is a well-known "birthday suit" beach but people must have thought it was too cold to shed their clothes. Ha!

We found a hidden hiking trail with gorgeous views of the ocean, beach, and bridge

The Japanese tea garden in Golden Gate Park
Yes, this is a real bridge in the garden and I climbed it!
I wanted to "borrow" for the day this pink Vespa :)
The "Painted Ladies" victorian houses of San Francisco made famous by the TV show "Full House"

Day 2 in San Francisco started out rainy and cold but by noon, the weather turned nice. Blue skies and sun the rest of the day and a perfect high 50 - low 60 degree day. So nice. It was a busy day full of sight seeing. Thank goodness for having a rental car because I don't know how people get around the city without one. All the guidebooks and people I talked to before the trip said San Fran has great public transportation and it's a pain to have a car but that couldn't be further from our experience. First off, parking is not restricted on the streets (no permits required) and most streets are not even metered, so we could park free for a couple hours and explore the area. Awesome! The cable car line is being worked on, so no trolley rides, and we really didn't see public buses much around the areas we went, so like I said, not sure how people get around without cars.

Anyways, we started the day at the Ferry Building, which is basically an indoor marketplace but I guess ferries do leave from several ports. Not sure where they go but we saw a couple ships. By the time we finished looking around inside, the rain stopped and we were able to walk around the Embarcadero area with lots of pretty palm trees. Think I could grow one in Ohio?? With the weather as cool as it gets in San Fran, surely a palm tree would grow at least during the summer months and I could take it inside for the winter....hmmm....something to think about. We then went to Chinatown where we found in a little alley the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company. I was a little disheartened to see it looked more like a sweatshop in Guatemala than a company that produces more fortune cookies than any other store in the world. I felt sorry for the ladies making all the cookies. There was a sign posted when you walked in that said it cost 50 cents to take pictures inside the store! Ha! Sam and I decided it was worth it :) We walked around Chinatown in awe of the massively-overcrowded stores ~ kimonos, bamboo fans and umbrellas, cat statues, shoes, swords, etc. You name it and I'm sure the store had it. Too much to look at!

From Chinatown we went to Ghiradelli Square and sampled the delicious chocolates. Actually, we sampled the chocolate twice because of Sam's brilliant idea. There was a man handing out chocolate samples as you walked in the building and as we were looking around inside, Sam heard him walkie-talkie to another co-worker to come take over for a couple minutes while he ran to the restroom. So, Sam decided we would walk out of the store, wait a few minutes, and then walk back in when the new person arrived and get another sample. It worked :)

After that we went to the Golden Gate bridge. It was beautiful and just like the postcards. We found a hiking trail off one of the roads, so we took that and was rewarded with breathtaking views of the ocean and bridge. Definitely a highlight of the trip so far. We drove to Baker Beach but it was too chilly to spend much time there, so we continued on to Golden Gate Park where we meandered through the Japanese Tea Garden. We originally wanted to drink tea in the garden overlooking the ponds and statues, but on the way in I spotted a hot pretzel vendor and that won out over the tea :) Ha! I love hot pretzels in any city!

Our final sight-seeing stop of the day was Alamo Square to see the victorian houses shown in the opening song on "Full House." Very pretty :) My feet are worn out from walking up and down all these darn hills but tomorrow it's off to wine country where I hope to relax among the vineyards.

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