There’s so much to note in San Francisco that I could write pages. I’ll try to stick to the highlights for now.
The campground turned out to be alright. We weren’t bothered by our neighbours, and we spent very little time there anyway. The bike wasn’t working well when we arrived and Jim thought he could get it going in the morning. He discovered that the problem was bigger than he could tackle and there wasn’t anyone nearby who could work on it. So we got some transportation information from the office and figured out that a twenty minute walk to the ferry and a thirty to forty-five minute ferry ride would get us into San Francisco. The ferry cost was only $8.10 return for each of us. Once we got there, $26.00 for the two of us got us all-day passes on any of the buses, street cars or cable cars. Once we saw the hills, the traffic and the lack of parking, we knew that we were probably better off than taking the bike.
We caught the 10:45 am ferry each morning and explored the city until time to catch the 8:15 back each night. We rode the cable car, often times having to stand on the side and hold on, just like in the movies. With map in hand, we hopped on and off and walked several blocks to find what we were looking for. We were awed by the steep hills, and the beautiful old homes that were decorated with intricate ginger bread trim. We watched cars manoeuvre down Lombard Street, the purportedly “crookedest street in the world.” I enjoyed one of my favourite past-times, people watching. In the financial district they were dressed to the nines and any bits of conversations I heard while sitting on a bench or in a cafe involved job hunting or work. Then, in the neighbourhoods closer to the missions, we had to duck around stumbling drunks or dirty men sitting on the sidewalk holding signs that were quite honest, “weed or beer”, often with a faithful dog beside them.
We were both impressed with the cleanliness of the city and I was especially impressed by the markets and the abundance of local, naturally grown fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. We bought two bunches of grapes and two plums for less than $2.00 and they were the sweetest we’ve ever tasted. I was saddened that I couldn’t buy more, but the day was too hot to carry such yummies around in a backpack all day.
It was all very exciting, but the thing that excited Jim the most happened on the second day. His goal had been to find the house where he’d stayed with his great uncle Peter for ten weeks back in 1961. We not only found it, but were blessed with the appearance of its recent new owner. She and her husband were in the process of restoring this magnificent old home that, we’d discovered, had originally been built by members of the Rothschild family. When we explained why we were standing outside the gate taking pictures, she invited us inside for a tour! Wow! Seeing it made Jim’s day.
From there we toured the Delores Mission and the Cable Car Museum before enjoying a scrumptious seafood dinner at Fishermen’s Warf, a great end to our stay in San Francisco. Of course there is so much more that we would like to have seen.