San Francisco- These days when we talk about a metropolis (especially in India), very few of us would use words such as peaceful, beautiful or clean- in fact the more commonly used words are polluted, crowded and noisy.
“I don’t mean to be a hypocrite and I’m sure many of you’ll might ask me to
leave this country after reading the above lines!”
Thing is- I was just looking for a catchy opening paragraph; after all we bloggers are all about that right? We don’t want to bore you to death.
” If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear
Some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet
Some gentle people there
For those who come
To San Francisco
Will be a love-in there “
If you are wondering, those are lines from Scott McKenzie’s song “San Francisco“- a very popular tune in the 60’s now mixed, remixed and what not in popular EDM tracks. But there was something about this song- What is it about this city? I, for one experienced that during my month long trip to the state of California (West Coast, baby!). San Francisco is the cultural and financial hub of Northern California in addition to being the second most densely populated city in the United States, after New York. From a tourist perspective, San Francisco is known to be relatively cool during the summer and the city is also well known for its wide-ranging architecture. Surely, if not seen, you may have heard about the Golden Gate Bridge, the famous SFO Cable Car system or the famous penitentiary- Alcatraz island. So, here’s what we’ll do? I will cover my San Francisco travel experience in 2 legs.
Leg 1 : Ferry ride to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, SFO, CA.
Leg 2 : San Francisco Cable Car
So here goes Leg 1: Ferry ride to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, SFO, CA.
Like I had mentioned earlier, I had been to the United State for a month long trip to visit my wife Herwin, who had gone on-site to work for her client Apple Inc. (Yes! the famous smartphone company). She shared an apartment with her besties Kanika and Poorva in Sunnyvale- a calm and peaceful city about an hours drive from the lively and energetic metropolis of San Francisco. We had been to San Francisco a week earlier for a food-truck festival- “Presidio’s Off The Grid“- unfortunately, by the time we reached, the food trucks were serving the last set of customers. I must admit I was sort of disappointed (It would have been my first food-truck festival) but Kanika and Poorva decided to take me to The Cheesecake Factory– located at Union Square, on the top floor of Macy’s. After a thorough food-belting session we decided to visit the Golden Gate Bridge and then-
I couldn’t believe my eyes- I was finally looking the famous Golden Gate Bridge; until a few years ago the longest suspension bridge in the world. One-mile wide, 3-mile-long in all its glory, possibly the most photographed bridge in the world. To think, many Hollywood doomsday movies could destroy this beautiful megastucture (not the real thing.. duh).. What a shame (now this is me being hysterical). But jokes apart, it was visually stunning- the dim lights on the side of the road, lighting the bridge just enough to reveal its beautiful red colour. I had to see this structure in broad daylight and it was only a matter of days, when I did.
We boarded the morning Caltrain to San Francisco from Sunnyvale- the journey to SFO is about 90 mins and the return fare was approx $15. If I remember correctly, we reached SFO at about 9 am and just outside the Caltrain station was the Muni metro light rail stop. Over the past few days I spent my time at home planning a half-day to trip to SFO, although I knew where exactly I wanted to go, I did not figure how to go about from one point to another (silly me). We checked around and boarded the Streetcar to ‘somewhere‘ and realised we had it all wrong, by then we we were going away from our destination, which was Pier 39; we got down ‘somewhere‘ and hired an Uber to Pier 39.
Pier 39 is a very interesting tourist attraction- built on a pier it has restaurants, shopping centres, street performances and the famous Aquarium of the Bay. Here you will also find ferry operators to take tourists for the picturesque ferry ride to the Golden Gate Bridge and back before making a close pass by Alcatraz Island. To start with, look out for counters where you can book the tickets for the bay cruise (SF Bay Cruise adventure)- we opted for the operator Blue and Gold Fleet (you can also book tickets online).
Fares are like $30 for adult, $20 for children.- Also, Gulp ‘n’ Munch recommends that you wear sweaters or pull overs as it can get intensely cold. Once you have booked the tickets, hang out at the pier until its time for you to board the ferry.
“ The best part is that these ferry rides are also audio tours- so plugin the headphones,
sit back and enjoy the visually captivating beauty of the bay area“
Once the ferry arrived at the pier, the only thing we could think about was lunch and believe me there are amazing options in terms of sea food on Pier 39. We visited this restaurant by the name Fog Harbor– which is located on Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf. Guess what? Your lucky, this happens to be a travel and food blog- so click here for my review about Fog Harbor.
Other tourist attractions in the area-
SS Jeremiah O’Brien (World War II battle ship)
USS Pampanito (World War II submarine)
That concludes Leg 1 of my San Francisco travel experience, be sure to check out Leg 2, the famous San Francisco Cable Car.