Today was a jam-packed day of sightseeing in Downtown San Francisco and the surrounding areas. I took a tour around the city, first stop was Lombard Street, famous for being ‘the crookedest’ street in the world – it definitely lived up to its reputation! Next stop was Chinatown where I took a walk down poets’ alley, Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill and the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square, a set of historic multi-coloured Victorian houses. Afterwards was Golden Gate Park. I went up in the observatory to catch a 360 degree panoramic view of San Francisco – beautiful! Soon after I made my way to the Presidio, an extensive public garden which was really beautiful. The government rents out the buildings in the Presidio, for example, George Lucas has a digital centre and there is a Walt Disney Museum within the gardens. The final stop before the iconic Golden Gate Bridge was the Palace of Fine Arts, a colossal Roman influenced structure made for the World Fair – it was absolutely incredible! Next stop was the other reason why I wanted to come to San Francisco – the Golden Gate Bridge. I’d seen it on television, in movies and the newspaper and online, but it was nothing compared to seeing it in person – it was mesmerising! 11 people died building the bridge and its colour is officially known as ‘international orange’ but locally called ‘lead red’.
I travelled across the bridge and into the Mediterranean-styled city of Sausalito. I ate lunch on the waterfront marvelling at the stunning view across the bay of Alcatraz and Downtown San Francisco.
After Sausalito I walked through the tranquil and peaceful Muir Woods, named after the naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaign helped to establish the American national park system. The woods consist of redwood trees, which require the water from the dense fog surrounding the San Francisco area most times of the year to survive.
I took a short bus to Muir Beach Overlook. I could see the Pacific Ocean, my first ocean all year – it was a glorious view! In the area can be found eucalyptus trees from Australia, which were introduced to soak up water to reduce erosion but have the negative effect of fuelling fire in a bushfire.
Instead of bussing back to San Francisco I caught the ferry. It was a sweet ride back to the mainland just as the sun was setting. For dinner I went to Fisherman’s Wharf and saw the sea lions on display at the waterfront. I packed a lot into my exciting day!
What I like about the city:
• Clean – there were many street cleaners
• Smooth, steep streets – makes the city more fun and easier to explore
• Cable cars – added a historic touch
• Natural beauty – Golden Gate Park, Muir Woods.
• National wonders – Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge
• Friendly people, but many homeless
• Waterfront – I loved the waterfront in San Francisco and Sausalito was gorgeous.
What I didn’t like so much:
• Weather – the weather was the big killer. In the middle of spring, it was only 16C but it felt like 10C with the winds and fog. Apart from that I could LIVE in this city – it was so vibrant, exciting, active and beautiful.