We had a nice first day visiting San Francisco.
We enjoyed a nice “lazy” morning waking up whenever. I was up around 7:30 and everyone else was up past 9, but we got going, changed, had breakfast and were out by 10:30. It is nice though to wake up and open the windows and catch views of the ocean, and hear the waves crashing all day long. It was a sunny day, clear skies, so we were looking forward to being out.
As we left, google maps showed 20 minutes to get to the Golden Gate Bridge visitor center. The drive there was easy, still lots of cars on the road, but no real traffic jams or anything, just busy. It was much easier than I expected for being San Francisco. On the way, we again had awesome view of the city, with good weather, you can see a lot and it is very pretty. When we got to the visitor center, the main parking area was closed, so we went to the second one which is just down the street. Parking lot was mainly empty, so we picked a spot and paid the $7 parking. It is also nice that the parking meters here take credit cards, very convenient. Carol saw a sign that said “Frequent Break Ins”, so she was a bit worried about the truck getting broken in, so we put everything away. We didn’t leave anything that looked like a purse, or electronics, just clothes and the kids mess. There’s a big trail right there, that takes you through the bay front and lots of people were on it, most biking, looks like a trail that would be very cool to do with the bikes, so we’ll revisit that later. We wanted to walk at least part of the bridge, so we went towards the bridge then go on it and walked towards the other side. The bridge is very cool. What we didn’t realize before was how high it is from the water, but once you’re walking on it you definitely see it. It is VERY high. Bella was telling me she was a little scared, especially with all the cars just zooming by non stop.
The day was beautiful so we took quite a few pictures from up there. You can see the city of San Francisco, Oakland and the Oakland Bridge, The Island of Alcatraz, etc. Very pretty to see it all from that view point. I have a new appreciation for the beauty of San Francisco now. I had been here before a couple of times, but it was always so cloudy that I could not see it this way.
We walked to almost the middle of the bridge, which was 1 mile from the parking lot, Bella said she read that to walk the entire bridge and back it takes one hour (makes sense at 3mph, as the the bridge is 1.7 miles long).
That was a nice walk, and if you’re here and have such a nice day, I think it’s something not to miss because the views from there are just amazing. On our walk back to the truck, we decided to go for Sushi, and chose a place on our next stop. We were happy to see nothing had happened to the truck :). Oh, and the parking lot was now packed, with a line to get in! So, note to self, get to places before 11am. 🙂
As we drove towards the wharf, I could see Lombard Street in the GPS at some point, so I just headed there. We hit some super steep streets to get there, and I was lucky to find a parking spot right at the top. We got out to check it out, and walked down Lombard Street, then came back up.
It’s a beautiful spot, great views of the city, awesome gardens all around that crazy steep zig zag one block.
As we were walking, the girls saw some pickup trucks go down, and now they wanted me to drive down with the truck. Yikes! hahahaha… well, after I fit the truck through the Tour Through Tree, I guess I can do this. So, we got back to the truck and headed down the twisty turns of Lombard street. It is quite a different view and feeling to drive down, I had done it before many years ago with a car… now again with the truck. I had to go slow and be careful, but it is totally doable without any problems. Maybe a truck with an extended bed would be a bit more challenging but still should make it. That was fun!
We continued to Flying Ninja, which is at Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, pretty easy ride there, no traffic, but now a bit harder to find parking, especially for this huge truck. We drove around looking for a parking lot, and found one that had room within a couple of minutes. Parking is expensive as expected, so this time we paid $38. Ouch! But, we knew it’d be expensive… moving on. We were right at the Main Street on the wharf, and just about 2 blocks from the Sushi place, so we went right there, kids were hungry. We can see most restaurants are closed downtown as well, a few are take out only, and some that can do outside seating are open with some spaced out seating.
The Flying Ninja was outside spaced seating. It’s a nice spot, right in the Cannery area (Old Del Monte Cannery), sushi was good, they had the janapese soda the kids like. Good choice. We had fun while there, kids were in a good mood, they love sushi. They each ordered Miso Soup and a roll, then Bia asked for another hand roll, she ate it all.
From there, we went to Ghirardelli square. That area was pretty full, so we just walked around a bit. There is a beach right there, and there were some people in the water, some people swimming between buoys, etc. It was not that warm for that, but ok.
The Ghirardelli factory store was so packed they had big lines, so we decided to not even get close. hahahah… but we did want chocolate so after walking around the area and seeing what we wanted, while avoiding the crowds, we start walking “back” towards the wharf and to Pier 39.
On the way to Pier 39 there was the Boudin bread factory/store, and Carol and I remembered seeing their bread in the shape of an alligator, so we stopped in. They were also packed, so we just looked through the windows, and sure enough they still have the alligator shaped bread, and also other shapes like turtles. Carol said she wanted to get bread from there at some point…. We kept walking and saw a big chocolate store, so we stopped in. Bella got a box of truffles, I got a chocolate covered bacon which was delicious. Bia got ice cream and so did Carol. We kept walking towards Pier 39, and the closer we got, the more people we saw… it was crazy, felt like a busy summer day.
Bia could not have her Ice Cream on the go, so we found a spot on the outside of the Pier 39 area so we could sit and not have people around, and Bia could then have her Ice Cream (can’t take your mask off while walking in the crowd). We sat there for a good 10-15 minutes while everyone enjoyed their desserts.
The crowds were just crazy there, and we didn’t want to stay near it, so we decided to not go any further and actually return. On the way out, there was a little store from the Boudin bakery, so Carol was able to stop in and get a turtle shaped bread. We planned on having turkey sandwiches for dinner 🙂
Getting out of downtown was also no problem, no traffic. I wanted to check out Anchor Brewing, which claims to be the oldest cat brewery in America. Google showed it was not far, and they were open until 6, so we drove there. We had to get through some sketchy areas, saw many homeless people, many tents on the sidewalks with people living in them, we saw a guy shaving next to his tent, lots of poverty, mess and dirt. That’s actually a bit of the real San Francisco, they have the highest rate of homelessness per capita in the country. It is very sad. It was good to see it with the girls, and explain these things to them.
When we got to the brewery, they were closed! What a bummer. No signs or anything, just closed, so I can’t tell if it’s due to the holidays or covid, or both. Around that same time, I saw on my watch the news that San Francisco is moving to the highest level of covid lockdown starting on Monday, and that the covid situation here is one of the worst in the country, so it is very likely the tap room here won’t be open as it is an indoors facility. Oh well, I was looking forward to this one. We continued our way back from there. As always, quite a few stretches of road with amazing views of the city, and as we get closer to our campground in Pacifica, we have awesome views of the sunset.
Once we were back, the girls wanted to use their electronics, and I wanted to go for a walk, so the kids stayed in and Carol I went for a walk towards the town, to see if we found the beach entrance. We had a nice walk, almost 3 miles round trip. We could see this is a smaller town, smaller businesses, etc. The beach access we got to was not quite for swimming, the waves break over the wall, so it’s pretty rough. The proper beach is a bit further down, after the pier I guess. We had a nice walk nonetheless.
When we got back, the girls were playing cards games, which is awesome, yet unexpected since they were left with their electronics. I guess the Internet connection was not working, so they had to move to regular games. I loved it…. For sure this Internet connection will stop working more often. Hahahahah.
Then we all got ready, we ate some sandwiches on that delicious turtle sourdough bread, and watched some TV before going to bed.
Really nice day in San Francisco today.