Saturday, September 8, 2012

San Francisco but no Cookies, Day 3

Day 3 (Labor Day) dawned dark and foggy. The boyfriend was slowly adjusting to Pacific Time, but not fast enough for me! That morning, he went down to the pool by himself. I was planning to go, but I'd had enough of being cold, and at the last moment I decided I didn't want to walk through the chilly hotel all wet again. So I had a nice warm shower and sat down to eat yesterday's leftover key lime pie for breakfast.

Monday's plans were as follows:
  • Explore the Presidio park
  • Rent bikes and take them across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Ride the bikes all over town and, most importantly, see "that wind-y street" that is apparently famous, although I'd forgotten I'd ever heard of it until someone asked me about it.
  • Umm, go shopping in the Marina district?

Tha plans for the afternoon were somewhat hazy—fitting, because so was the Golden Gate Bridge! We got to it in the late morning, having found that the Presidio is not so much a park as a neighborhood. We got our bikes at the cheapest bike rental in town at Sports Basement, which was, to my delight, a converted supermarket which still sported "Frozen Foods" and other incongruous signage. To get onto the bridge, we had to pedal the bikes up the world's biggest hill, which made me so hot I had to remove my jacket even though it was ridiculously cold out. I left it off when we were crossing the flat bridge, which proved to be a huge mistake as I cooled off and the icy fog settled on my bare arms. Here is a typical view as seen from the bridge.
Once on the other side, we were rewarded with intermittent views of the bridge unobscured by fog! There didn't seem to be anything but highway on the other side—at least, not within sight, and the person who'd rented us the bikes had warned us that most people don't have time to bike across the bridge and have lunch in the opposite city, so after the obligatory photographs, we just turned back. 

The entire trip barely took us an hour, so we had plenty of time for lunch, which we took at In & Out Burger back at Fisherman's Wharf. Our 3 hours were running low, but I still wanted to see that winding street - which I'd learned was better known as Lombard Street - so we made a break for it. Unfortunately, a misinterpretation of the map made that impossible, so we returned our bikes, sightseeing cravings still unassuaged.

One mistake wiser, we then took the bus to Lombard Street in confidence that we were going the right place. There, due to another misinterpretation of the map, we found ourselves at the foot of the steep portion and were obligated to walk up the street, rather than down, which would have been the sensible way to explore it. Unfortunately, I could not get any photos of the street, because I could not get high enough off the ground to see anything more than the bushes surrounding it. So instead, I will reward you with pictures of the Painted Ladies (yes, that's those houses), and even more pictures of all the people taking pictures of them. Frankly, I couldn't see what the big deal was about, which might explain why I completely forgot to mention them in my post about Day 2, which is when we actually saw them.

Then it was back to the wharf for us, where we decided rather spontaneously to take our cruise of the harbor, courtesy of CityPass. We saw sea lions on the docks, Alcatraz from the outside, the city from afar, and lots of fog. Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and in fact pretty much half the sights on the cruise were invisible.

After the cruise, although some shopping ensued, I did not buy any Giant Cookies, and that was basically the culmination of our day.

By the end of Monday, I had learned 2 more truths about San Francisco:
1) In order to see anything cool in this city, you must always climb up a huge hill first.
2) People who live in atrocious climates (like anywhere in the Northwest United States) think 60 degrees is the perfect temperature to throw the windows wide and let in the frigid air. Also to be eating outside. Brr.