Yes I quoted a Tony Bennett song. I’m not as hip as I appear right? (I also realise that using the colloquialism “hip” does nothing to help the matter)
Regardless the song definitely rang true from the moment we touched down in San Francisco to the terribly sad moment we had to say goodbye.
I honestly can’t think of one thing that I didn’t like about San Francisco. It is all absolutely wonderful! From the gorgeous wharf area that gives off a colourful carnival atmosphere mixed with a relaxing seaside village, to the amazing architecture of Union Square, filled with a great mix of restaurants, bars and shopping.
Our visit to San Francisco, albeit a short one, was jam packed with sightseeing and activities from the very start! We stayed on Union Square so we explored that part of town first. One of the greatest things about San Francisco is that its so easy to navigate and even though it’s a big city its extremely walkable.
After a while we decided to hop onto one of the historic cable cars and ride it all the way down to the last stop, Fishermans Wharf. Riding the cable car is an experience in itself and I highly recommend jumping aboard one of them and enjoying the ride up and down the hilly streets of San Fran.
Fishermans Wharf is a whole other kettle of fish. (You see what I did there…aah ah?)
Where downtown has very distinct architecture reminiscent of a big city a la New York, with high rises, cast iron fire escapes and a lot of beautiful detail on all the stonework of each building, Fishermans is very flat and all the buildings quite small and wooden which really gives it the feeling of a quaint sea side village. All the restaurants and shops are built along the wharf and the larger pier which is Pier 39. All the restaurants and shops are in colourful wooden buildings in various shades of white, yellow and periwinkle blue (Snatch reference! Whoever got that, you’re incredible.)
The whole atmosphere is just relaxed and fun.
One of our favourite things that we did in San Francisco, the giant tourists that we are, was a tour called the Urban Safari. It is in fact exactly what you are picturing, if what you’re picturing is a giant zebra striped bus and 2 tour guides dressed head to toe in safari gear and singing “In the Jungle”.
This 4 hour tour took us to all 4 corner of San Francisco, starting on Union Square, through Chinatown and Little Italy, both Golden Gate and Presidio Parks, Alamo Square, the Financial District and everything in between. We got to take awesome photos under the Golden Gate bridge and at the Twin Peaks look out, including the awesome photo attached below. (Note: we are giant nerds and are extremely proud of this photo) The guides Eric and Aaron (A-Money) were fun, knew everything you could possible think to ask about San Francisco and even threw in some Star Wars trivia and fun facts for the more nerdy among us. (Did I mention that we love them??) Did you know that George Lucas used the gantry shipping cranes in the Oakland Port as inspiration for the AT AT? Did you know the Forest of Endor was filmed in the Muir Woods just outside San Francisco? Well you do now! Thanks Eric and A-Money!
Another noteworthy attraction in San Francisco is of course Alcatraz. The island that housed the most infamous prison in history, long closed, but still open for fabulous tourists. (Note: we are the fabulous tourists mentioned earlier)
We were super organised and booked our Alcatraz tour with Urban Safari so the boys gave us our tickets and dropped as off at the wharf where we took the short ferry ride across to the island.
Once on the island we did the audio tour of the prison and heard the stories of its most colourful and notorious inmates including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Robert Stroud also known as “The Birdman”. The audio tour is narrated by former inmates so it really gives you a full picture of what life was like on Alcatraz. 5 stars for the awesome audio tour!
Our visit was capped off with the prerequisite seafood dinner that one must try when one is in a city famous for its fishing industry.
Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I am not crazy about seafood but I’m proud to say that I ate an entire seafood meal and loved it! We even tried clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and it was incredible!
You fabulous people can check out the rest of my totally awesome photos of San Francisco on instagram (@miss_norton) =)
Until the next instalment my lovelies…