This time when we went to San Francisco, we did a couple things differently than we usually do when we travel.
The first and biggest thing we did differently was, we met my mom in San Francisco and she joined us on our adventures. Meeting her there was a special blessing and really made it feel like a real summer vacation for me. I think that feeling had to do with relating her presence to childhood summer vacations of which she was usually a part.
Anyway, the second thing we did differently was, we chose to use public transportation instead of renting a car. Let me just say this about that… after the first bus ride, my nickname for the bus routes became “the 28 butt” or “the 30 butt” instead of “bus”, because it was often standing room only, and all we could see were a bunch of butts, instead of the Golden Gate Bridge or the park. The other thing about that was, public transportation adds a lot of waiting time to the commute. 5 minutes here, 7 minutes there and “bus arriving” but it’s still another minute or two before the bus gets there and pretty soon a 10 minute drive is a 30-40 minute adventure. On the upside, if you have the time to waste, public transportation is fairly cheap.
That being said, here’s what we managed to do while up there. On Friday we met my mom and then bused over to and walked the Golden Gate Bridge (3.4 mile walk, roundtrip), walked through Fort Mason, visited Ghiradelli Square, and had dinner at a restaurant named Scoma’s — a pretty special restaurant and we enjoy it on the rare occasions we go there.
Saturday we went to Coit Tower, walked up the crooked part of Lombard Street, visited the outside of the Spreckel’s mansion, which is owned by author Danielle Steel, had an hour and half of free time (which I used to check us in online for our flights the following day and reserve a hostel for my mom when she goes back next week) and then went to Pier 39, followed by a walk to Pier 33 to depart to Alcatraz for their night tour — we’ve been wanting to do that for a couple years now.
Sunday found us heading back to Alcatraz for their early morning garden tour, which is only offered Friday and Sunday mornings. I’ve long loved the restoration that they’ve been doing in the gardens of Alcatraz and was excited to be able to walk in areas that normally are corded off from the public. In addition to that, the volunteer docents offered a lot of information about the island that isn’t offered elsewhere. It was fascinating and absolutely beautiful.
And then we took public transportation back to the airport. Which meant we still haven’t ridden on the cable car!
Here’s a couple funny experiences we had:
Friday — An elderly lady boarded the bus, paid and turned to look for a seat. The bus lurched forward and she toppled, thankfully landing on the homeless guy’s lap a seat over from me (instead of landing on the floor). I reached for her arm, somehow wrapped my arm around her shoulders and guided her to the seat next to mine. As her bottom settled into the seat, the pre-recorded message broadcasted over the speakers of the bus, an impersonal lady’s voice said, “Please hold on!” The elderly lady muttered, “Yeah, I got that… now.”
Friday — just after we’d finished walking the Golden Gate Bridge, we were waiting with a group of people for the bus to arrive. A guy dressed in jogging paraphernalia pulled out his cell phone and called someone while jogging in place. According to his conversation, he had recently moved to San Francisco. He told his friend how much he loved it in San Francisco, that he was so glad he’d moved here, he can jog the bridge whenever he wants and then finished with, “I love this bridge so much, I think I love it more than I love you!” A bicyclist pedaled by just in time to hear that last line and said, in perfect sync, “That’s cold, dude.” Everyone waiting for the bus totally cracked up, even the guy on the phone.
I have pictures… of course I do. Some very lovely. But they’re on the hard drive upstairs and I’m on the computer downstairs.