Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Yosemite – San Francisco 8-Day Itinerary: Day Six

Read Day 1 here - Flying into San Francisco!
Read Day 2 here - Yosemite National Park, Surprise off-grid adventure
Read Day 3 here - Rainy day in
Read Day 4 here - Sacramento, San Rafael
Read Day 5 here - Mountain View
Read Day 6 here - Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard St, Chinatown
Read Day 7 here - Golden Gate Bridge, Japanese Tea Garden, Painted Ladies
Read Day 8 here - Berkeley, Flying home

We didn't drive today and opted to use public transit, which was more convenient because we didn't have to look for parking! Also, our hotel was at the intersection of a cable car terminus. It cost USD 21 per person to purchase a Muni Day Pass which included the cable car and local buses. A single cable car ride costs USD 7 each trip.

SF Cable Car
It was quite amusing to see all the cars have to yield to cable car traffic. It felt safer for us riders to walk to the middle of the street to board the cable car but I can see how it would be a nuisance for drivers to stop every few minutes behind the slow cable cars. We took the cable car to Union Square which was located in the heart of busy downtown. Many cherry blossom trees were lined along the edge.

Union Square
Then we boarded the cable car again and went to the Ferry Building. We walked through the shops which were bustling with people. From there we boarded a bus to Pier 33 but it would've probably been faster (and less stuffy) to walk.

Ferry Building
From Pier 33, it was only a 6 minute walk to Pier 39 next to where the famous seals and sunbathing. There were a lot more people than I imagined just standing and watching the seals for extended periods. The bystanders would make up commentary between the seals based on their action, which was pretty funny.

Pier 39

Seals sunbathing
A friend told me that there were good clam chowder and lobster roll options in street side stalls if we kept walking towards Fisherman's Wharf. So we resisted the urge to purchase food at Pier 39 and walked 10 minutes over.

Sure enough we found the stalls! Some of these stalls are attached to restaurants but sell food out front for customers on the go. We tried a clam chowder bread bowl and a lobster roll. The chowder was good but I would not order it in a bread bowl next time because it was too tough to chew off and finish! Unfortunately my chowder photo wasn't saved properly to my phone :(

Lobster Roll
We walked some more towards Ghiradelli Square where the chocolate factory used to be located. They were generous with their chocolate square samples and gave them to people entering their shop. I thought that was a sweet touch.

Ghiradelli Square
We noticed that it was almost time for the cable car turnaround at Powell & Market so we made our way back. There was already a long line circling to watch and to get on the next cable car. The process took at least two people to do.

Image: Google
We didn't want to wait in the long line since we knew we would have to wait for several cable cars before we could get on. So we made the steep trek up Hyde Street to see Lombard Street. If the walk was on flat ground, it probably would've taken only 15 minutes. But this was San Francisco and a large part of this walk was up a hill that was at 45 degree angle. I can't be sure if that is the exact angle but it sure felt that way!

Slowly but surely we made it up and I must say it was pretty fun in hindsight. After all that uphill walking, we made our way down the stairs of Lombard Street to see it from the bottom. When we were there, there was a Japanese man who tried skateboarding down the brick windy street and his wheels would come to a shrieking halt at every corner. All the onlookers were pretty terrified for him as he didn't have any protection like a helmet on.

Lombard Street
We were pretty tired at this point so we took the cable car back to our hotel. We stopped at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for some snacks on the way back. After resting our feet, we were ready to go again!

We took the bus to see Civic Center Plaza and there was a couple taking wedding photos there.

Civic Center Plaza
We then took another bus to Chinatown to walk around, although most shops were already closed by this time. We had dinner in the area at a Taiwanese place and waited for the cable car back to our hotel. The cable cars came pretty regularly during the day and we never had a problem with waiting. But after dinner, the scheduled cable car that was supposed to come didn't and we waited for the next one which didn't come either. I suppose they aren't as on schedule during off-peak hours.

Close to our hotel is a 24 hour donut joint called Lee's Donuts. It is pretty famous on Yelp and has great reviews so we walked over to get some dessert. There was a short queue out the door and the buttery aroma of freshly fried donuts was delicious. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert and sweet end to Day 6!

Read Day 1 here - Flying into San Francisco!
Read Day 2 here - Yosemite National Park, Surprise off-grid adventure
Read Day 3 here - Rainy day in
Read Day 4 here - Sacramento, San Rafael
Read Day 5 here - Mountain View
Read Day 6 here - Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard St, Chinatown
Read Day 7 here - Golden Gate Bridge, Japanese Tea Garden, Painted Ladies
Read Day 8 here - Berkeley, Flying home
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