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.
10 responses to “San Francisco – Overview.”
Sounds like a good vacation (minus all the waiting and the butts). Very nice of you to help the old lady. I can’t wait to see your pictures!
Isn’t it funny how well you can get to know people, just by listening to them talk on their cell phones in public?
We had a really good time together. But I found the buses to be incredibly stressful. Sure they came regularly, but if you missed one that’s five to ten minutes lost forever. And sometimes they were so crowded. I guess I value my time and personal space far too much.
That guy on his cell phone was just an incredibly enthusiastic person. It was engaging. 🙂
Ooooh, I got to be first!
Aww, I’m sad that you didn’t drive up. PCH/Hwy-1 would be so much fun in the Miata!!
Time was too much of a consideration. Sadly. PCH would have been fun.
Ugh, the bus? You’ll never catch me on one of those, cause I hate waiting and I hate people. I can’t wait for the day they invent teleportation. 🙂
Can’t wait to see the pictures! Been enjoying your pics on Twitpic or whatever you call it.
I’m with you on the waiting and PSI (personal space invaders). Teleportation — Star Trek is on the right track with that. Why haven’t they figured that out yet?
Pictures are up, now i must link to them…
Tony does not like the buses, he would rather pay extra next time to drive around when he wants and where he wants, but I had to experience it and did make the trip interesting, but that is all I will give it. And it is cheap but you have to add longer time to time traveled to places you want to go to. But next time we go I think all we are doing is JUST THE CABLE CAR all weekend long!!!!! XOXOXOXO
love you sweetie, I can’t wait to see the pictures too….hehehe
Your comment cracked me up! I can’t wait to ride the cable car all weekend! Hehehe
Oh, i was 5th to respond….YES!!!!!
and what the hell happened to mr green. he use to be greener and not so fat he was round like 🙂
Mr. Green needs to go on a diet when my mommy leaves!
It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend! I didn’t realize they have “tours” of Alcatraz…or that there was a restoration project….Interesting. (Have you ever seen the film “GREENFINGERS”, with Clive Owen and Helen Mirren—based on a true story of prisoners creating a gardenin the UK…it is a wonderful film…..)
What a fun thing to share with your Mom, too!
Alcatraz is, in my opinion, an interesting part of SFO’s history. I particularly love their gardens. They’re doing a wonderful job of restoring it, I wish I lived closer because I would definitely volunteer to help out! 🙂
Greenfingers, eh? Will have to look that up.
That’s the thing about trying something new: you never know what you’re gonna get. Like Tony said, at least you had a different sort of adventure. I’m so glad you had some Mom time as well as a nice distraction from “other things.” Welcome back.
At one point, the “new” became a challenge of “we can figure this out and do this!”… I think that’s why we stuck with it, even though we didn’t like it much. My mom kept saying how wonderful the public transportation was (compared to other places she’s been), and I kept being struck with the realization of how spoiled I guess I am.
Mommy time is good time. 🙂
sounds like you had a wonderful time. i hope to hear more about it in person 😀
It was so wonderful to see you (and everyone) tonight. Thanks so much for coming out. 🙂
What a great sounding weekend, public transportation issues aside.
It was pretty special. 🙂