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In 2011 I travelled to the USA with my hubby and another couple. We decided that rather than try to cover a lot of USA, which is a huge country, we would concentrate on three cities: San Francisco, New York and Las Vegas. All uniquely different cities in different states.
This was part one of our travel itinerary:
Spanish for ‘Saint Frances’, San Francisco is the fourth-most populous city in California and the 14th-most populous city in the United States. San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the United States at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula and includes significant stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay within its boundaries.
It is a very popular tourist destination, known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former prison on Alcatraz Island, and its Chinatown district. It also has the claim to fame for being the centre of liberal activism in the United States with the rise of the “hippie” counterculture in the 1950’s. Remember the great 1967 hit song by Scott McKenzie? “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair”.
Day One – We rode a cable car through the hilly streets of San Francisco to Fisherman’s Wharf precinct. We took in the Sea Lions at Pier 39, the Submarine and Warship in the harbour, the ‘Super Pumper’ Fireboat and views out to Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. This was followed by a nice cold local ale and the famous San Francisco seafood chowder served in a bread cob – delicious!
Day Two – We caught the ferry across to Alcatraz Island and did the Prison Tour, which was closed in 1963. We heard a great commentary from the son of a former prison guard about the “Birdman of Alcatraz”, Robert Stroud. Later that evening we were thoroughly entertained at Lefty’s Piano Bar by a talented pianist and comedian.
Day Three – A walk down the steepest and most crooked street in San Francisco, Lombard Street, which was lined with green hedges and afforded us with magnificent views out to the harbour and the city.
Then it was on our bikes, as we hired bicycles and set off across the Golden Gate Bridge over to Sausalito on the other side of the bay. Sausalito is a picturesque village right on the bay with lots of interesting shops and eateries.
Sausalito was a shipbuilding centre during World War II, but the city’s industrial character gave way in postwar years to build a reputation as a wealthy and artistic enclave and picturesque residential community (incorporating large numbers of houseboats).
Day Four – An early morning departure on a bus tour to Yosemite National Park which was a four hour trip east over the Bay Bridge through Oakland, hilly terrain with Wind Farms and Orchards. We climbed up the Sierra Nevada Ranges to the Yosemite National Park which was laden with snow and forests of tall Oak, Cedar and Pine Trees.
Our tour included several stops to take in the sweeping views of the massive volcanic mountains with waterfalls cascading down them. The scenery was breathtaking.
Day Five – The boys visited the Cable Car Museum and the Maritime Museum, and got off the beaten track in San Francisco, whilst the girls went shopping into the huge Westfield Shopping Centre with five levels of shops including Bloomfields Department Store. We shopped until we dropped!
Day Six – On a perfect blue sky day we caught a ferry over to Tiburon, which is on the other side of the bay near Sausalito. The village has a unique quaintness about it with loads of charm and character. On our return we walked around Pier One, then back through the streets of San Francisco to Union Square where our hotel was located.
San Francisco has always been one place in The States that I wanted to see and it did not disappoint. I fell in love with the roller coaster streets with the cable cars rolling up and down with passengers dangling from the cars, I adored the Victorian architecture of the the houses and buildings, and Fishermans Wharf was a fascinating mix of timber piers, sea lions, ships and carnivals. As the great Tony Bennett crooned, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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