Monday, September 5, 2011

San Francisco Extravaganza - Day Two - Part One

Saturday morning bright and early at 6:00 am, I woke to the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the room. At first I thought Troubadour might have risen early and was brewing the in-room coffee, but then I realized he was still sleeping. Apparently smells carry through an old building. The kitchen on the main floor (3 floors down) was gearing up for breakfast and was brewing multiple pots of coffee and it was gently permeating the many floors above and waking the inhabitants. Well, not all inhabitants. Troubadour swore he could never smell it. It did manage to wake me every morning by 6 am though, and made me hungry so I couldn't go back to sleep. On the heels of the coffee smell was smell of fresh baked goods and even fried onions.

We got up and got ready for the day and headed down to breakfast. We never did take the camera to breakfast. Always so many people and too much to carry - plates and coffee mugs. They usually had sausages and quiche with sausage as their main fare. Luckily they had fresh fruit and a crock pot full of oatmeal as well as homemade pastries and scones. Oh, and they had toast and cold cereal too.

We made sure to take the handy map with us when we left the hotel at about 9:30 Saturday morning. We'd researched bus schedules and were going to walk to the corner of Sutter and Stockton just a few blocks away and catch a bus to the wharf. Our plan was to wander and see a few things on our list such as the Exploratorium, Presidio, Maritime Museum and Golden Gate Park.

It seems that we weren't the only ones having trouble with the bus schedules and which bus stop was for which route. Everyone we saw with a map in their hand at a bus stop had to ask a local if they were at the correct stop. After a little waiting and not much patience Troubadour made an executive decision: We both had two feet and a heartbeat so we could walk. And walk we did.....

We started walking along Stockton through the tunnel and found ourselves on the edge of Chinatown by the Financial District. There were a lot of people walking around and the sidewalks were full of fresh produce and other goodies. It was a good thing we'd already had breakfast because the bakeries looked particularly tasty. We didn't get to stop for pictures of the markets as the most crowds were gathered there but I did get a few pictures as we stopped on the corners to wait for the walk symbol.

(Chinese United Methodist Church)

Then I decided to take a few pictures just to show how many people were milling about on a Saturday morning.

And we kept seeing massage signs.....

Soon the fresh markets gave way to cafes and it appeared we might be in Little Italy. On one sign post there were even green, white, and red stripes painted from the Italian Flag. I don't know if it was an official Little Italy, but there were a lot of little cafes and Italian restaurants. Again, good thing we'd already eaten breakfast.

We walked a little further and I took a picture of this interesting church. If you know me, you know I am no fan of any church or religion, but I do think they have some of the best architecture.

At this point we could see Coit Tower off to our right up Filbert Street and the Filbert Street Steps.

We decided we might as well make the climb while it was still early and we were full of energy. From the top of the hill on the sidewalk we looked at where we'd just been.

A quick step into the street for a better view.

There was an empty lot towards the top that afforded a different view of the city.

Once at the top of the hill we realized there were stairs to get to the tower.

We noticed a parking lot on the other side of the tower. It seems not everyone was as energetic as we were first thing in the morning. Cheaters! In the parking lot was a statue of Christopher Columbus.

This plaque was hiding in the shrubbery just outside of the parking area.

Me sitting in front of the plaque.

We decided against paying the fee to get to the top of the tower. It was a foggy morning and we knew the view wouldn't be great.

We decided to head down towards the Embarcadero and take the brick stairs as seen in "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill". We saw no parrots. Sad panda, but we did see hummingbirds.

We weren't sure how many stairs we walked down until we saw this sign.

We took a few pictures at the bottom.

(One of my favorite pictures out of the over 1000 we took)

From there we went down some more wooden steps leading towards the Embarcadero. It was interesting to see so many apartments and condos along the stairs.

We popped out at Sansome Street and Levi's Plaza where I saw something I never thought I'd ever see......

....a Starbucks closed on a Saturday. Sadly it wasn't the only closed we saw that day. I could have really used an iced latte by this point too. We then cut through the plaza and passed a fountain. Deserted on a weekend.

We made it to the Embarcadero and took a look back at Coit Tower.

Thus concludes Part One. Up next Part Two - the Embarcadero, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, and maybe some food porn.

- Au Revoir

"A vacation trip is one-third pleasure, fondly remembered, and two-thirds aggravation, entirely forgotten." ~ Robert Brault


  1. Your hike sounds very familiar to me. We did the same a while ago on a sunny (almost warm) November day, and when the fog went away we had the most awesome view from Coit Tower, well worth the long way up.
    Love the Vespa pic, and looking forward to your next entry. It brings back so many good memories... thanks for this.

  2. Trobairitz:

    thank you for your photos. We were just there in June so your scenes bring back memories. We had a rental car and we were one of those who drove to the top of the Coil Tower parking lot at the foot of those stairs and wondered who would be foolish enough to walk up all those steps ! You both must have logged a few miles going up and down all those steep streets. I notice your next post is Fisherman's Wharf. Did you notice the parking lot fees down there ? We managed to snag a FREE parking spot just down from Ghirardelli Square. The block is reserved for Tour Buses but freeforall after 5pm

    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. I'm enjoying your virtual walking tour of "The City". One of it's best features it that it is compact enough to be able to walk to just about any area and you can always supplement it with other public transportation. With the parking problems, I don't see why anyone would voluntarily drive especially into the financial distract.

    Looking forward to the next segment....


  4. Trobairitz:
    Got to agree with you about religious architecture being by and large wonderful. The cynic in me says it's because the poor parishioners get fleeced into paying for unnecessary opulence!

    Particularly love your steep street shots - reminiscent of "Bullitt".

  5. I left my heart in San Francisco!! I can hear Frank Sinatra crooning that when I look at your lovely pictures. The best thing about blogging is you get to go along as an unofficial passenger on trips. there are so many places I want to go, but never seem to get there. It looks like such a lovely place & the pictures are fabulous!

  6. @Sonja - I am glad that you had a great view when you went to Coit Tower. I hear SF has great fall weather too.

    @Bobskoot - I can understand those that are not able to walk to the top talking the car. You're excused. We managed to log 11 miles Saturday that is why my posts have to be broken into sections. We crammed a lot in. I didn't notice the parking fees but I've read online they are pricey.

    @Richard - I agree, most things are fairly close to walk and there are a lot of buses and trolleys running to aid in getting places.

    @Geoff - I am inclined to agree with the cynic in you. And I wish they all had to pay property taxes on their expensive real estate in this country. Non profit... my arse.

    @Dar - I've been singing Train's new song 'Save Me San Francisco'. Check it out on Youtube and see what you think. I too like to travel along on those blogs viewing places I can't go. That is why I liked your Tofino posts. Lived in BC for 25 years and I've never been to Victoria or Tofino, lol.

  7. What a fantastic trip! I love the pictures from the top of the hill/street showing those famous streets in SF. I'm also surprised Starbucks was closed on a Saturday. I haven't experienced that in Georgia. Any idea on why?

    Such a cute couple...and taken on the downside of all those steps. :)

  8. Great photos Trobairitz. The sidewalk from the top of the hill really shows the height - quite a hike!

    I love city walks. There's so much to see, and such a variety of buildings, etc. Just how far did you walk?
    Doh, nevermind...saw the answer in the comments - Dang that's a fair distance!

  9. @BeemerGirl - I think the Starbucks was closed because it was more of an office building area. It probably is super busy with office workers M-F but not so busy on the weekends. That is the only reason I can think of anyway.

    @Bluekat - It was a long walk but we had a lot of fun. It sure seemed like further with all those hills. There were so many building I would have liked to take pictures of but we'd never have reached our destinations, lol.