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About San Francisco
San Francisco is the city one falls in love with. The San Francisco bay area is surrounded from three sides by the pacific ocean which brings in the coldest summers i had ever witnessed . After an hour drive from the San Jose city i was able to see the skyscrapers line of the city . Crossing amidst the clouds the skyscrapers were standing strong and rigid without any top ( because of the dense cluster of clouds) . I could only think of the transcendent view people working on top must be having . yeaah!!! i didnt went on top of those skyscrapers ( not in my hands)
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Golden Gate Bridge
I had always seen the Golden Gate Bridge as a shot in movies or tv series and had always fantasized of going there and there it was in front of my eye around 5 miles away from me , it was more like a piece of art were this 1.6 km bridge is held suspended on 2 pillars connected via only 2 cables . But before reaching , there was yet another stop I had to make and that was the Lombard Street , the world’s most crooked roads .For those who don’t know its a steep, one-block section with eighth airpin turns . Because of these sharp 8 turns it has earned the title of the most crooked street . I shot a video of it while we drove down the lombard street . It was a very well maintained street paved by red bricks and surrounded by beautiful plants and some trees. One of the many things i loved about this city was the roadways, since san francisco is a city built over more than 50 hills , the roads are steep and surrounded by skyscrappers .The other thing I loved about the city was the Golden Gate Bridge , as we approached the bridge the weather seemed to change drastically . 10 minutes before we had air conditioning switched on and now it was like we need some heaters on , the clouds became more dense , the wind speed was high and everything turned foggy and misty (remember , i visited the place in summers) . Till the time I reached the golden gate bridge it was half covered in fog and as soon as I got out of the car i could feel the cool breeze whisking through me giving me goosebumps that i had never felt before . I have been to places with snow but this city (even without the snow) was way more cold then them . It was a perfect place for bicyclist as one can rent bicycles and ride it over the Golden Gate bridge in the bicycle lane on both sides of the bridge . On the other side of the Golden Gate bridge was the Alcatraz Island , former prison turned into a visitor centre . Featured in many of the Hollywood media like x-men , catch me if u can and many more , one can reach the Alcatraz Island by boarding their ride from the fisherman's warf .Next on my list was Pier 39 which was a shopping center made on a pier in the bay area and consists of shops , restaurants , street performances and is also the home to sea lions hauled on docks . Personally these sea lions smell a bit stingy to me but it was a good sight to see so many sea lions as I have not seen them before. Me being a party freak had an amazing time with the nightlife this city offered me . The clubs were super cool and I went club hopping from one to another , dancing like hell which i am quite fond off.To get the aerial view of the San Francisco city we went onto the Twin Peaks , the highest elevation point in the bay area . It was already dark and foggy on our way to top but once we reached there , the high velocity fog and cold breeze froze me completely . It was not the wind but the misty fog that was blistering through the couple of jackets I was wearing , and this is what it looks like from top .At the end of the day , this city made me fall in love with her of which 75% is credited to the mystical foggy winds that blow here year-round.Travelogue first published by notuntilwedie.wordpress.com
Such a simple incident could have so much impact on us... It had so much impact on me... their simple conversation had made me think about so much.. And made the long walk so easy.And when I saw the time I was still far and I had 10 minutes left for my booking at the Alcatraz, I rushed my tired feet as hard as I could and reached just in time. As I serpented my way through to the big boat which was going to take me to the notorious Alcatraz, the island stood right in-front of me in complete isolation in the never ending sea with a promise of so many stories to be told. I recommend good walking shoes for Alcatraz, if you want to see all the parts and are curious to know of all the stories of the worst criminals and the escape attempts. What took me by surprise was that San Francisco looked glorious from the prison and I couldn't help but think... that for the criminals it must have been such a sore sight.. I mean.. the good life was right infront of them at all times.. almost within their reach except for no way to escape and a freezing sea between them and the straight lanes and lives of the good people. They even had a section for dogs who were trained to attack when told. Inside the prison walls and the individual prisons.. the likes of me.. 'tourists' were getting their pictures clicked behind bars with smiles... but when I asked someone to take a picture of me.. I couldn't help myself and feel ... ummmm .. BAD and BUCK... so I made the 'Criminal faces' and soon enough like a fad.. everyone was clicking pics behind bars with the appropriate expressions... hahahah... On my arrival back to land; my friend was already waiting to pick me up with his wonderful wife and son. Tushar is an IT professional and had lived here for over a decade. And even though we hadn't met in over 15 years.... Was kind enough to take me around and later even insist I stay over in his posh home with the cream carpets and a pool in the backyard. I did have a rough plan for that day but was meeting him after so long that I didn't feel comfortable making demands so I let him plan my day. It's good to let go and throw away the oars sometimes, I say. He drove me all around SF and showed me the much famed and beautiful crooked road... which was such a pretty sight with the flowers all along it and then took me for a long drive, over the Golden Gate Bridge to the 17 mile road. Again, I was meeting him after about 15 years, and he was a friend of my brother in law and we had met at my sister's wedding and yet he and his wife; also an IT professional went out of their way with their son who wasn't too well to show me the city. Now the 17 mile drive, I don't know if this place features in any lists of To-Sees but I sure loved it... Twas long and winding and had mountains on one side and sea on the other.. We drove through trees and multiple picturesque spots and then came across a spot where the trees had the weirdest shapes... One was called the Ghost Tree and I swear it did look like a ghost.When they had asked me what I wanted to eat I had requested Sambar rice, I was craving home cooked simple meals. But, we got home very late that night. The next morning; she had made it for me. I sat in the sunny backyard to soak up the sun and ate over two servings of rice before they dropped me to the airport and we exchanged promises to be in touch.San Francisco had been absolutely wonderful with amazing weather and so many gorgeous places to see... But I was going to the airport with thoughts of Mary and smiling about the kindness of Tushar and his family. And reminding myself of the lessons I had learnt and praying I would remember them when I became a mother.This trip was originally published on Travelling Boots.
San Francisco has some of the steepest streets in the country. Whether you are walking or driving, the varying gradient of the road is sure to catch your attention and give your heart rate a healthy boost. Lombard Street is one of the most unique of the vertically tilted roads and is a great stop to add to any itinerary.Lombard Street in San Francisco is one of America's crookedest streets. The steep, hilly street has some beautiful Victorian mansions.Some of San Francisco’s most expensive real estate sits on Lombard Streets. In the spring and through the entire summer, Lombard Street is alive with color, as the many beautiful flowers.The curvy nature of the one-way drive along with the steep slope of these blocks makes it a visual treat.
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco. At Pier 39, there were shops, restaurants, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39's marina. Fisherman's Wharf is the best place for families and kids.From the pier one can see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge.
Golden Gate Park
Rent a bike from Golden Gate Park with ParkWide and you get the option to drop it off at a different location, which is awe-some. I don’t remember the rate but I think it was a 3h ride. They have a map with best routes to go and get back depending on the uphill or downhill.
My afternoon was spent wandering around Union Square, and headed to Chinatown. I ended up in the Fortune Cookie Factory - so hard to find, in a little alley - where you can see the ladies shape the cookies and you get to try them, always down for free food !From all of the US, San Francisco’s Chinatown is the best, I think. It made me want to discover Asia so bad ! I saw men read Chinese newspaper, the bus speaker announce stops in Chinese before Spanish ! Incredible how big the Asian community is.--> Watch the video down below to see more :)Telegraph Hill is a nice climb to do, where Coit Tower is. To get in the Tower costs $7, no thanks I’d rather enjoy the pretty decent view of the bridge from the parking lot.
The biggest and best day of the trip !I went for a 10am visit to Alcatraz Island ! So excited about this.I went with AlcatrazCruises which has the best rate, I paid $31 (at the time, I looked it up doing this article and it’s $35 now).FYI - I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, like 2 weeks in advance because it gets full pretty fast !You have the choice between a day tour or night tour, which can be quite interesting ;)It’s a self-guided tour, audio included which is great, it explains you so much stuff and you have some prison background noises - loved it.
2. Indulge in chocolates and desserts at Ghiradelli SquareA landmark public square home to the famous Ghiradelli chocolate company boasts of some lovely restaurants and nice stores. Be prepared to be transported transported into a world of aromas, chocolate and lots of chocolate!
After scurrying trough the art alleys, now is the time to gaze at all those city attractions enlisted on every travel Bible there is. Continue the trip with the city’s iconic sights like Transamerica Pyramid. If we have enough time to make it down to Baker’s Beach by sunset, there would be nothing like it.
Tip : Rent a bike to explore faster and cover more distanceFun fact, I was with my little backpack waiting for bus 7 to take me up the city to meet a friend of mine. And a guy asked me the time and wandered if I was on the way to work. I loved this interaction. I don't why I just feel good when I blend in and people think I’m a local.Anywho, so I meet up with my friend in her neighborhood near Golden State Park and Haight Ashbury.Weather is out of our control. And it can be frustrating when you’re in such beautiful places without the sun. Everything would have been more enjoyable under the natural light and not rain drops. But eh, that’s how it is.
If you’re visiting San Francisco, a great way to truly experience the charm of the city is by getting lost in one of the neighbourhoods. One neighbourhood worth checking out and exploring to get a good feel of local culture is the soul of San Francisco, the Mission District (but, fit in with the locals by just calling it “The Mission”).The Mission overflows with things to see, places to eat, and eccentric shopping. Named after Mission Dolores founded in 1776, San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood has some of its hipster cool new restaurants and galleries. For much of the 1990s, the Mission maintained a balance between its colorful Latino roots and a gritty bohemian subculture. Then came the overfed dot-com years. Though the district is slowly gentrifying, many urban artisans and immigrants still make their home here, and the restaurant and nightlife scene in the neighborhood is among the best in the city and perhaps the most locally-oriented one.With so much to do, how do you decide? I’ve narrowed it down to 13 spots that can be done in a day, in no particular order.
Oakland Bay Bridge
The lights of the Bay Bridge, designed by a world renowned artist Leo Villareal, shine from dusk until dawn in a myriad of different patterns that are a visual spectacle.The lights glistening above the water, changing their patterns every few seconds and casting their reflection in the waters below with the moonlight gleaming behind, is a treat to the eyes.
Legion of Honor
One of the most beautiful museums of the United States, the Leign of Honor is an historical building housing some of the greatest art masterpieces in the country. Its perfect placement overlooking the glamorous Pacific Ocean and the mossy Golden Gate Bridge makes visiting this museum a must thing to do in San Francisco. It was mainly architectured to commemorate soldiers of California who lost their lives in the first World War.
6. Shopping at Union SquareThis refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district of San Francisco. The area got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War,earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark. Come here to visit the largest collections of department stores, upscale boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and beauty salons in the United States.Union Square is a major tourist destination, a vital, cosmopolitan gathering place in downtown San Francisco, and one of the world's premier shopping districts.
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum
To learn more about Ms. Tan’s culture and Chinese heritage, head to the Chinese Historical Society of America located in San Francisco’s original YWCA building. If you are interested in the Chinese American experience, this museum not only offers a historical perspective, but also some interesting modern art.
Take the Mason line of the cable car north to Columbus Ave. then travel south along Columbus Ave, past the slew of alfresco cafes and turn left on Kearny to the newly erected The Beat Museum. This tiny space packs a punch with carefully selected collection including Ferlinghetti paintings, Allen Ginsberg’s typewriter and first edition prints of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The museum also sells books, memorabilia and hosts special events like book signings, readings and lectures. Need to replace your college copy of Kerouac or Kesey? Turn right onto Columbus Ave until you reach City Lights Bookstore. Founded in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, it is the quintessential Beat headquarters complete with publishing house for fringe writers and dharma bums (Alan Ginsberg’s Howl was published here). From existentialists to modernists, you can almost smell the clove cigarettes in a cloud of black turtlenecks like ghosts amongst the towers of books on the second floor of this Beat Poet’s paradise. They also sell journals so you too can create your own literary masterpiece.
Visit Mission Dolores (Dolores and 16th St.; 415-621-8203), the city’s oldest building and first mission. Founded by Spanish settlers in 1776, the mission and neighboring church feature historic adobe architecture. Scenes from Hitchcock’s Veritigo were filmed in the church cemetery.
It may sound gimmicky, but the dinner-and-a-movie at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission Street; 415-648-7600; www.foreigncinema.com) is an elegant, white tablecloth affair. If the weather’s nice, snag an outdoor table in the austere, vaguely Soviet cement courtyard. Start with oysters ($2 to $2.50 apiece), before carving into the likes of delicate tombo tartare with ginger-lime vinaigrette and the bavette steak. When the sun sets, a foreign film is projected silently on the far wall with subtitles. Heat lamps keep you toasty and, if you want to follow the dialogue, the waiter will even bring vintage drive-in speakers.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
Sink your teeth into a flaky croissant or orange-scented morning bun at Tartine (600 Guerrero St.; 415-487-2600) a decadent bakery specializing in breakfast pastries and indulgent desserts. Although, there is always (and I mean always) a long line out the door since seating is laughably scarce; don’t let this scare you. It’s worth the wait — your tastebuds and tummy will be thanking you.
Mission Bowling Club
Even if you suck at bowling, a few games at Mission Bowling Club (3176 17th St.) is a lot of fun. Great space with almost a lounge-like atmosphere. This truly a special treat in SF. The only other bowling alley that I’m aware of in the city is all the way in the Presidio and Lucky Strike in SOMA.
Walked to Japantown, around 45min. Oh yes you didn’t know ? SF not only have the best Chinatown but it has ALSO a Japantown !! So cute, give me a plane ticket for Japan RIGHT NOW.Okay enough of walking for today, I admit, I took Uber Pool to get home. For my defense I had to get ready quickly for an important event….
Soon enough; there it was, the Marina; with couples and men and women of all ages walking their dogs, some jogging, some on cycles, some hand in hand and many stalls put up at the Marina Greens. I sure was a bit overwhelmed with so much activity at this hour only to realise in a moment that that day it was the 'Escape from Alcatraz- Triathlon' and there was a sea of fitness enthusiasts and families cheering all over... It was perfect for me to steal some energy from.. So I cheered ... No one in particular and everyone in general and just that got my blood pumping.