I have wanted to go to San Francisco for years and just never made it out there. How could anyone not want to visit the Tanner family’s hometown? 😉
Anyway… So finally, Memorial Day weekend, I was still dating the guy from the Catalina trip, Dave, (still am), and we decided to go together. We booked a hotel, and we were off. We decided to drive because we had plans to go to Napa and the Muir Woods, so we figured it made the most sense to just bring one of our cars.
Our drive up was very uneventful–no trauma like I had experienced with Meghan. When we arrived we checked in at our hotel, The Sir Francis Drake. The hotel was beautiful, the location was fantastic, the staff were amazing. However, two complaints: this is a historic hotel, so the walls are PAPER THIN. Expect to hear every word your neighbors say. We did. Also, valet parking is like $60/day (?!). So don’t bring your car… or park it somewhere else. We ended up just parking there because we got a great rate on the hotel ($150/night), and didn’t know what else to do. But I still feel a little bitter about it. REALLY, Sir Francis? REALLY?! On the bright side, an awesome doorman in the kind of doorman suits I’ve only seen on movies and in NYC helped us with our bags from the car. Almost made it worth it. Almost.
The first afternoon/night was pretty relaxing. We just walked around Union Square for some shopping, and then found a little pub to sit down and have an appetizer while we tried to figure out what to do for dinner. We found several recommendations on Yelp, but when we walked to the restaurants they were empty. I’m just not a big fan of being the only couple in a restaurant. I always feel awkward like we’re not supposed to be there. So Dave kept looking, and eventually found a recommendation for a tapas place. It turned out it was on this cute little alley/street that was very reminiscent of Europe. There were several restaurants on the street, but we went to B44 for tapas. The restaurant looked cool inside, it was packed, and the food was delicious. Perfecto.
The next morning we had reservations for a ferry ride to Alcatraz. We originally planned to take the trolley down to Fisherman’s Wharf, but we started walking, originally to find a Starbucks without such a ridiculously long line, and we didn’t see another Starbucks until we ultimately reached the Wharf. Of course, we had decided to just walk the whole way anyway long before we ultimately made it down there. Choosing to walk to the Wharf is something you really have to commit to because GOOD LORD those hills are HILLY. But the views at each intersection were amazing.
And as a result of walking we happened to walk past the famous crooked street.
Down at the Wharf we found a great little place to have breakfast called Pergamino (I just used google maps to “walk” down the streets of San Francisco to figure that out. Yayyy technology!). We sat at a table outside, and the waiter was great. I had the smoked turkey omelette. Let me tell you, it was a party in my mouth. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. I can’t remember what Dave had but it was also delicious. They also let you pick out your own mug to use for coffee and have a ton of different kinds to choose from. I don’t remember which coffee we chose, but it was also delicious. If you go to SF, go there. Do it. I hear all the food is awesome.
Afterward, we started walking down to the actual wharf to get down to the pier where we would catch the ferry to Alcatraz. We had plenty of time when we started, but we made a few stops for Dave to buy sunglasses, and me to buy a sweatshirt in case the ferry ride was cold. That sweatshirt would come in very handy later in the day, but that’s a story for another post 😉 Due to our shopping detours, suddenly we realized we only had about 10 minutes until our ferry was supposed to depart, and had to RUN down the street quite a ways to make it. We were at Pier 47 and our ferry left from just past Pier 35 which may not sound far, but it sure felt far, especially given that I hadn’t worked out in… who knows how long. Not fair that my military boyfriend is forced to stay in shape and left me in the dust. But alas, we made it. I made it, huffing and puffing, but I made it.
The ferry ride was beautiful. You can see all of downtown and the golden gate bridge, and lots of sailboats out and about. I was snapping pictures like crazy with my iPhone. Somehow we both forgot to bring real cameras, but the pics from my iPhone tend to turn out pretty good as long as I don’t need zoom and there is plenty of light.
On Alcatraz Island, you have to walk up some fairly steep switchbacks to get to the prison and take the self-guided tour (you get headphones that tell you interesting facts while you walk along.. is that still “self-guided”? I don’t know). The tour was really interesting and highly recommended. Before going, I would recommend watching Clint Eastwood’s “Escape from Alcatraz.” It was filmed at Alcatraz shortly after it was shut down, and is based on a true escape story.
Even if history and prisons aren’t your thing, it’s still worth it just because it’s a fun little island to explore and the views are amazing. Apparently the hardest of hard criminals got sent there. Maybe the ocean view would suck if you knew everyday it was that pesky ocean trapping you on the island forever, but in my mind I was like “this wouldn’t be a bad place to be locked up.” Except for the part where I was too tall for the prison cells. It would get annoying having to duck all the time 😉
After returning from Alcatraz, we rented bikes and went on what turned out to be a fairly epic bike ride. But that is a story for another day! In separate posts, I also plan to recap our bike ride, our trip to Muir Woods, and our Napa Valley Wine Train ride. Stay tuned 🙂