We arrived into San Francisco on a balmy sunny afternoon after an excellent flight where we saw Mt Baker, Mt Rainer and Mt St Helens and of course got our first look at the Golden Gate Bridge.
We jumped the airtrain at the airport which took us to the BART (Bay Area Regional Transportation) station which we then took into the city – on a fare free day to try and encourage people to use public transport. After jumping off at station indicated on a hostel confirmation slip and not being able to find the street we needed we enlisted the help of the boys in blue. Jump back on and get off at next station they tell us. So we do. Well we are not sure that it saved us a walk up hill but it certainly took us through the bronx !!! Thanks boys much appreciated.
So it appears that the hostel is not exactly well located both street (people) and transport wise but the place itself is good and clean (though cant compete with Seattle, think we are on downers from here on in 🙂 ).
After checking in we headed into town to the water where hopefully the streetscape would be better. We located our pier for the Alcatraz tour the next day and saw our first glimpse of “The Rock” and also the resident sea lions. It was pretty hazy and also a bit smokey from the fires so we sort of saw the bridge.
Saturday (22nd) we headed down to the wharf nice and early for our tour to the “rock”, took a nice leisurly stroll on the rock and then back over to the mainland for an afternoon of walking – about 15km of it!. We walked the waterfront, Washington Sq, went up Coit Tower for views of the city and water, Chinatown, Union Sq – you name it we walked it. So with sore feet and feeling the heat, a whooping 93 deg far – very hot for san fran we decided on chinatown take out (not take away) and headed back to the hostel.
Sunday (23rd) we headed back to the waterfront and hired our “Blazing Saddles” bikes to bike the bridge – Golden Gate Bridge that is. This company must have a few hundred bikes, everywhere you go there are blazing saddles bikes. They have these little bags on the handle bags with their name on it – very smart advertising. Anyway we jumped on the bikes headed round the waterfront to Fort Point where we had a look through an old military fort that has been preserved amazingly considering its right on the harbour.
We then headed up the hill to the bridge and over we went, its alot longer than we expected though not as windy – bit strange really. There must been a few hundred people riding the bridge with us – no exaggeration – and San Fran must be like bike mecca there are thousands of them everywhere (and lots of freaks that like to run in the heat). After making it across the bridge we took the downhill slope into Sausilito for lunch and then caught the ferry back. We then went back into the city walked around abit and headed to the hostel for dinner and laundry.
Overall San Fran hasnt quite been what we both expected, its very dirty, smelly and the streetscape (people and places) is sydney at its almost worse nearly everywhere, there are so many beggars and street people it was past being sad. So thats been a little disappointing but we figure we have had it pretty good so far.