San Francisco, sunny and sensational, USA: Sept 2011

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The Wonderful city San Francisco welcomed us after a 13 year absence and it certainly turned on the weather on for us

Arriving in the afternoon we decided to have a short nap to try and keep the jet lag at bay . The wait at LA airport was annoying as our original flight was direct to San Fran but Qantas doesn’t do this flight any more so we had a few hours wait, it was an easy one hour flight though.

Ready to discover some of the areas that we had not seen on our last visit nearly 14 years ago,we set off after an hours nap and had a lovely dinner at the amazing Palace Hotel where we had a very flash Sunday lunch last time

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After a good nights sleep our body clocks were well adjusted so after breakfast we visited the Martin Luther King Jnr memorial gardens before heading down Market st to the Historic Ferry Building. Here we boarded the Ferry to Sausalito going past Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge on the way.

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The Ferry ride was very popular with many Tourists just like us getting out into the 27 deg sun filled day to make the most of it. It was nice to arrive at Sausalito by ferry , last time we came over by car so it was great to approach it by water on such a gorgeous day. We wandered around the charming streets and like everyone else began looking for a waterfront eatery, however they were packed so it was sidewalk cafe style today. Many of the galleries were familiar from over 13 years ago, I suppose the tourist areas often stock similar things no matter what is in fashion or season!

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Back at the Ferry there was a Dude playing guitar and cradling his little miniature Daschund keeping the crowds amused, he was totally living ” The Big Lebowski”

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Our time clocks were still out of whack so we decided on an afternoon nap then ventured out through Chinatown and climbed the slope up to Nob Hill , the cable car did not seem to be operating unfortunately, so the climb was done and Ann’s love of hill walking was endured to visit a couple of Iconic San Fran Edifices “The Fairmont Hotel” and “The Mark Hopkins Hotel” both renowned for their style. It was worth the effort, the grand opulence of The Fairmont and the sensational views of The Top of the Mark Bar were fantastic, so of course we had to sample the cocktails and tastings in both.

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>The next morning we had a nice breakfast in another old San Fran establishment “The Villa Florence hotel” with sensational Art Deco interiors and Italian personality, and then after purchasing our transport tickets we passed the massive que waiting for the cable car and decided instead to head up to the civic centre.

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We passed through a rough area, lots homeless and drug addicts wandering around but not bothering anyone and then it opened up to this magnificent square leading through museums to the very Grand City Hall.

This has been the scene of many momentous times in History and you can see why, it is spectacular, with a grandeur like The Pantheon in Paris and a staircase to rival any in the Palaces of Europe. We spent quite some time here and the cameras were clicking constantly. We even got to see 2 civil ceremony marriages take place on the stairs which added the the experience.

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We caught the bus up to the up market Alamo Square district where the Painted ladies houses are but on our walks around the surrounding streets we saw far more beautiful examples of the Victorian Era weatherboard housing that dominated San Fran for almost 50 years before the Earthquake and fire of 1906. Luckily this area survived the massive destruction that levelled most of the city.

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Next stop on the bus was the Haight Ashbuy district, the flower power centre of the universe in the late 60’s but there is only a scerick left, they must have all died off, moved to Nimbin or been locked away. The buildings were a delight, slighty smaller than closer to town but ornate in the Italianate style.

We came across one sad exhippy who in his state of pathetic desperation accosted us and demanded $20 from us to fill his empty syringe, he was not a threat, a big guy about 60 but he could hardly stand so we just walked away and he just stumbled on, a very sad situation.

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p>The bus back to town and then it was time to visit the SFMOMA, modern Art Gallery which had as usual some very odd stuff and some brilliant pieces as well.

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We enjoyed a nice lunch inside the massive new Westfield centre at a lovely Indonesian Restaurant and then went to Bloomingdales for a squiz before taking a siesta.

A visit back to Chinatown again to buy a beauty cream that Ann likes, it was half the price that I pay at home, then onto North Beach to try our luck at the Infamous “Stinking Rose” restaurant. They claim that their food flavours the garlic and that is probably true, it was garlic city and we were full of it, especially noticeable during an almost sleepless night.

We dropped into Macy’s on the way back and scored a bargain each, so much cheaper than home, probably half the price.

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We had to leave for the Airport at 4am for our flight to Vancouver so an early morning goodbye to a still sleeping San Francisco was given as we flew out over the very white city

2 comments

  1. Wow John & ann,

    Some amazing photos, i love the guy with the dog and his sunnies!!

    Looks like you are having a blast!

    Cheers,

    Andrew

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