Day 9: San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, Embarcadero, Lombard Street, and more

The view from Pier 7

How much of San Francisco can you see in one day? That’s what we set to find out.

We woke up around 3:30am and arrived at the Walnut Creek BART Station around 4:20am and took the BART to Embarcadero Station. We transferred to the Muni L Line and rode that to Forest Hill Station. From here we hiked to the top of Twin Peaks for a view of the sunrise. In good weather the view is amazing. But in bad weather, which is what we got, we couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of us.

Downtown as seen from Tank Hill

We walked down to a slightly lower hill which didn’t have as much fog. At the same time there was some work to be finished up for the newspaper, so I took care of that from my laptop for a little while.

Me working on the newspaper from atop Tank Hill

Next we walked through Golden Gate Park all the way to the ocean. Two buses got us to the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked across to the first tower then turned back. Afterwards we hiked down to Fort Point, but found out this was closed.

Various views of the Golden Gate Bridge

A friend recommended Dim Sum Club near Van Ness and Filbert as a good and affordable place to get food. We walked 3.5 miles from Fort Point to the restaurant and stopped on the way at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Left: The Palace of Fine Arts. Right: Xiao Long Bao at the Dim Sum Club

After eating we walked down Lombard Street, over to Russian Hill and through Ghirardelli Square. More walking took us to Pier 39 then over to the cable cars. We rode the Powell-Mason line from Bay & Taylor to Union Square.

Lombard Street, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop, and a Cable Car

Next we walked through the Dragon’s Gate and into Chinatown. I stopped at a fruit stand and bought myself some lychee berries.

The Dragon’s Gate and the Transamerica Pyramid

A walk down the Embarcadero finished out the day in the city and we took the BART back to the car. Rewarding ourselves for walking 18 miles through the city, we bought multiple 50¢ Frosty’s from Wendy’s.

Another observation about California: they really like signs here. We counted signs while driving on the highway and saw 30+ signs in just one mile. There were frequently groups of three speed limit signs: one for general traffic, one for semis, and one for cars towing trailers. In most places one speed zone stops when a sign says a new speed limit. In California they sometimes have signs that say, for example, that the 50 mph zone has ended. You have to wait another couple hundred feet before they tell you what the new speed limit is. It’s also not uncommon for there to be a sign warning you that the speed limit is going to change 5 mph slower in another 400 feet. Maybe I need to get into the lucrative California sign making business…

Tomorrow we drive around Silicon Valley and then on to Yosemite.

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