Visiting San Francisco
We arrived in San Francisco around 8pm Sunday night, and went straight to the hotel, Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf. It was located right down on the wharf, smack in the middle of tourist mecca. We’d called and made a reservation before leaving Eureka, and thanks to a deal with the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in SF, we got a nice deal at $109 (plus tax and parking) per night. Not too cheap, but half of the original rate. First we got a room with a single queen bed - and a single cover. Selma was a bit skeptic, as Louis tends to throw the covers on the floor after five minutes of sleep. So we went back to Bryan in the reception, who got us into a larger room with two queen beds.
Our room at the Radisson Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf
After settling into the room, we went out for dinner at Pier 39, just outside the door. We got a table with a view of Alcatraz, and it was really great to be surrounded by people again after spending some hours alone in the Humboldt hills. It had been a long day, so after a short walk in the neighborhood we went straight to bed.
Monday April 9th
The next morning we enjoyed the fact that we didn’t have to get ready for check-out, so we cought up on some sleep. Then we went out for our first adventures in San Francisco. First, we went looking for the Norwegian church, which is located up in Hyde street, not too far away from the Wharf. But - the hills are even steeper than they look at whatever pictures you might have seen from San Francisco, so it didn’t feel like a short walk. And as we got all the way up to the church - it was closed. Closed for easter. And we had thought that this would be a great day for a visit to a church. Instead, we continued up to Lombard street and the (allegedly) crookedest street in San Francisco.
Lombard Street - the crookedest street in San Francisco
The weather was beautiful, but the wind was really mean. On our way back down on Hyde Street, an old woman was clenching a light pole. She asked for our help crossing the two feet wide sidewalk, ’cause she was too afraid to walk alone in the wind. Louis stepped up and walked her back to her door.
Rescuing old ladies drained Louis’s super powers, so we went back to the hotel for a short nap. Selma organized some pictures and tried to catch up on the blogging (in case you haven’t noticed, these reports are usually a few days late) while SuperLouis slept for an hour.
The sleeping beauty
Then we were ready for some action again. We brought our cameras, got in the car and headed for the Golden Gate Bridge. We followed the Scenic Route 49 from the Fisherman’s Wharf and stopped at several spots to get good shots of the bridge. The dusk was settling in, and we decided to wait until it got dark in hopes of catching some cool night shots of the beauty. Meanwhile, we contunied along the Scenic Route up to the the Palace of the Legion of Honor, where we played around with our cameras and tripods.
The Palace of the Legion of Honor
As the darkness surrounded us, we went back down to the bridge (stopping only for a short encounter with a raccoon), rigged our tripods and started shooting. It was a great sensation to see the bridge at night, and to be able to take photos like the ones we’ve seen so many, many times before.
Golden Gate Bridge. See more photos at Flickr.
After the photo shoot we went back down to the Pier 39 for some burgers at the Hard Rock Café (it IS the tourist area), before stumbling dead tired to bed.
Tuesday April 10th
At Tuesday we got up pretty early, as we had decided to get on a tour of movie locations across the city, and the only tour of the day started at 10:30 am. We headed down to the pier, found the bus, payed our $47 each and got on. We probably won’t spend that amount of money on many guided tours along the road, but this time it was well worth it!
San Francisco Movie Tours (the bus)
Our guide, Wiley, and Ryan the bus driver, took us all around San Francisco, showing movie clips on a screen and giving us facts and trivia as we passed famous movie locations. We went to the painted ladies on Alamo Square (you know, from the opening sequence of Full House), followed several paths from the car chase scene in Bullit, went (back) to the spot by the Golden Gate bridge where Kim Novak jumps out into the water in Vertigo, stopped at City Hall (used as a location for many, many movies), past Janis Joplins old house on Haight street, the Mrs. Doubtfire house, and a bunch of others. They showed movie clips from more than 50 movies, and we traveled around for more than three hours. One of the final stops were at the Lucasfilm lot in Presidio - where we got to say hi to Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Yoda.
Louis and Boba Fett
We went past so many locations and took so many pictures that it’s hard to keep them all apart, even just a few days later. But it was a great way to have a look around the city AND see a bunch of movie locations. Wiley was a great guide, with a great sense of humor and an impressive knowledge about movies. It was a small bus, and besides us there were an adult American couple and a Spanish family with a bunch of kids. The spanish daddy had to translate much of what was being said to the kids, whenever he wasn’t talking in his cell phone - but after a while he finally realized they weren’t the only ones on the bus.
The Mrs. Doubtfire house
After the tour, we wanted to see even more! We grabbed some lunch at Johnny Rocket and then went back to the hotel and picked up the car. We took the Scenic Route 49 past the Golden Gate bridge (again - but now we were getting so used to seeing it that we didn’t even stop for pictures) and up to the Golden Gate park. From there we headed towards Haight&Ashbury (and we did really great without Kitty’s help!) where we parked the car and went for a stroll in the neighborhood. We took a look at the Grateful Dead house, stopped by a few stores - and Selma ran around like a crazy chicken looking for a public restroom.
Haight and Ashbury
We went back into the car and drove down to the Castro district, where we just passed through - looking at the gigantic pride flag. Then we went back up to Alamo Square to get some better shots of the Painted Ladies (the light was awkward when we visited with the tour bus), continued past the Grace Cathedral down through Chinatown and then up to the Coit Tower on top of the Telegraph Hill, with a view of most of the city. And THEN we felt like we had done enough sightseeing for one day, and headed back to the hotel.
The Painted ladies at Alamo Square
For dinner, we strolled up to the Italian district in North Beach, and went into one of the first italian restaurants we came across. Louis went for the Lasagna, while Selma had a really weird quasi-italian pizza. Made her long for her regular order at Hell’s Kitchen back home. After dinner we walked for a while down at the wharf, before going back to the hotel for our last night there.
(See more photos at Flickr..)