We arrived to clear blue skies and it stayed that way for the 3 days we were there. After landing and dropping off our bags we discovered we were staying right across the road from a gorgeous French cafe so we stopped for a quick bite. We then caught the bus down to the water and decided we definitely had to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge that day. Not really knowing anything about the city we ended up walking a fair way to Fisherman's Wharf where we picked up our bikes. It's actually quite a journey to get to the bridge itself - up many classic SF hills and around the bay. I had a bit of a cold that day and not being the fittest I've been it was a bit of a struggle. But when we finally got up there and coasted along the (flat!) bridge with the wind in our hair it was absolutely breathtaking. One of the best things I've done. You could even hear me shouting a few 'woohoo's' on the way. Over the other side of the Golden Gate is a village called Sausalito which is very quaint. We parked our bikes and found a restaurant by the water where we enjoyed a well-deserved glass of wine followed by a huge and delicious ice cream before hopping onto the ferry with our bikes and heading back to Fisherman's Wharf as the sun set. To top the day off we had an amazing meal at Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf, followed by a few drinks at a bar featuring an awesome cover singer who obliged and played a few of our requests. What a perfect day.
On our second day we caught another ferry to Alcatraz Island and did the tour there. It was fascinating and quite haunting! I can't imagine how scary it would be at night time. The self-guided audio tour is really well done. We then caught the ferry back and had lunch at Pier 39 while watching the Sea Lions bask and play in the sun. That afternoon we did some shopping in the famous Haight-Ashbury district. Lots of interesting characters to be seen there!
Our third morning was spent doing a bit of shopping in the city. We found a Madewell store and both bought some of their jeans - they have such gorgeous clothes. We then jumped on one of the old cable cars and made our way to Lombard Street. I think we were the only people walking UP the street. Oh well, at least we got our exercise for the day. In a guide book we read about a cafe nearby at the San Francisco Art Institute which apparently had wonderful views - so we found it and pretended to be students and enjoyed a sandwich looking over the bay. We visited the famous Ghiradelli Square and chocolate factory and I stocked up on some sea salt caramel chocolates (amazing!) for our short train ride north to Berkeley to visit my old housemate Whitney (we were roomies in New York). Jess and I were both pretty excited to see Berkeley being big fans of the OC (that's where Sandy Cohen went to College!). Berkeley was a really beautiful little town. We spent the afternoon driving around with Whitney and having a tour of the campus there. It seems like a lovely place to live and is so close to San Fran.
On our last morning we walked from our apartment to the famous Alamo Square (featured in the last pic). You may recognise those houses from the old sitcom Full House. I used to love that show so was really excited. Unfortunately that was the end of our short stay in San Fran and we headed to the airport to pick up our hire car for our roadtrip down the coast. More on that next time!