City Tour and Muir Woods

On Tuesday, April 11 my sister Bonnie flew in to San Francisco to spend four days exploring the bay area with me. So first thing Wednesday we got up early and headed in the town to meet up with our guide Jeffrey from Left Coast Tours for a tour of the city and a trip out to Muir Woods (home of some giant redwood trees). This was a six hour tour starting at 8 o’clock and ending at around 2 o’clock. There was a total of 13 of us, plus our guide who really knew the city and had been a taxi driver for many years. He took us through all the neighborhoods pointing out different interesting architect and points of interest. A friend of mine in San Diego suggested doing a guided tour, of San Francisco. And I have to agree with her it’s a real good idea coming into a big city like this. This way we had an idea of what we wanted to explore and how to get around on her own. It was off-and-on rain when we started out, with kind of a mix of mist and then heavy rain at times as we drove around the city. This was totally fine as we were not able to stop that often and get out plus I did not have to drive so this was great. It was hard to get good pictures with all the mist in the air, and we really didn’t get the stop that much throughout the city because parking is quite difficult. But it was very informational and as I planned was useful for the rest of the week as we explored the city. Here are a few of the hundreds of interesting places we toured. One of the places we stopped and got out of the van, was the famous Lombard Street. This street is been used time and time again in movies and is famous for its zigzagging steep decline. It was raining fairly hard and the cobblestones are slippery so we didn’t venture very far. But later in the week we came back and drove down the street, and got lots of great pictures which I will put them in another post. Here’s a photo of the sign telling you to be courteous I guess everybody needs a little instructions.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheir beautiful hedges and gardens planted along the zigzag path.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere you can see the bricks that make up the street and some of the steep descent.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere we got our first glimpse of one of the many cable cars in town.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s some photos of the Palace Of Fine Arts, the only building left from the 1915 world’s fair, which was held in San Francisco. It’s part of the Presidio a large park near the Golden Gate Bridge with beautiful gardens. Each time we stop the rain seem to pick up, which was okay because it kept everybody moving back to the van so we could see lots more of the city.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen it was off to view the Golden Gate Bridge here’s some photos from down below the bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a couple photos as we drove across the bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we stopped at the Vista point, on the other side to get a few shots. As you can see the clouds are starting the breakup.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we were off to Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods. By the time we arrived and started our hike out in the woods the sun was starting to peek through.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo we got some nice photos even though they don’t do the woods the honor it deserves.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s me standing next to one of these thousand-year-old trees. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of these trees are nearly 1200 years old.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven though the park was quite busy its big enough that you can get some nice quiet spaces.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a stop for a quick lunch to go, it was back into town to check out some more areas. Jeffrey showed us all kinds of architect and had all kinds of little details to share with us. Here’s a quick photo of the house that was used in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams. Robin Williams had a house in town and another in the nearby community and called the bay area his home. After his death they rename the tunnel on the east side of the Golden Gate Bridge the Robin Williams Tunnel, to honor him, he was a beloved area resident.

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Here’s a photo of the houses nicknamed the Painted Ladies. There six brightly colored homes of also been featured numerous movies over the years.

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Most of the streets in town are quite steep either going down or up a hill.

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As the day went on the sun came out more, and the air was quite clear after the rain. And we made our way up to the top of Twin Peaks one of the highest spots in the city. We got some great views of the city from high on the hill. Photos of the road that we came up to the top.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Golden Gate off in the distance.

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Some nice views of the bay.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhotos of the downtown area with two new skyscrapers going up.

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It was sunny and windy as you can tell from this photo of Bonnie.

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Here’s one of me looking kind of mysterious, with the beautiful skyline in the background.

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After wrapping up our tour, just a little after two we still had time to do some exploring on our own. So we headed back to Chinatown which was only a few blocks away. Here’s the gate as you enter the main street of Chinatown.

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This is the largest Chinatown outside of China itself. The main drag is full of different gift shops and a lot of restaurants.

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All through San Francisco their beautiful murals painted on many of the buildings and concrete walls. Here’s a couple in Chinatown.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn one of the side streets it was like a huge farmers market, with all kinds of local businesses selling fruits, vegetables and meats out of their shops.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe prices were quite reasonable and if I would’ve been doing some cooking I would’ve bought some fresh meat and vegetables. The fish don’t get any fresher than this.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome unusual Dragon fruit I’m not sure what this is like.

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Another unusual kind of fruit not sure what it is.

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Lots of ginger root.

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Lots of different unusual dry goods also.

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Beautiful flowers in a couple shops.

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Lots of other fruit and vegetables cheaper than you’d find it in the local stores.

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We stopped and rested for a while in a local park where the local China men were playing cards and other games.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can catch a view of one of the taller buildings in town, looks like a pyramid (The Transamerica Pyramid at  853 feet tall).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we caught up with one of the cable cars and jumped on for a short ride for a few blocks.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe made plans to ride more another day when we had more time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso here are a few photos of the flowers that we encountered everywhere we went.

Here is a photo of one of the four major bridges in the bay area. This is the interstate 580 bridge on the north end of the bay that goes from Northern San Francisco area, back over to the Oakland area where we were staying. It is a double deck bridge with the upper level headed westbound in the lower level headed eastbound.

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The other main bridges are the Golden Gate Bridge that crosses the mouth of the bay as you enter from the Pacific Ocean. The Interstate 80 Bridge that crosses the middle of the bay from the Oakland area to San Francisco. And the Highway 92 Bridge that crosses the bay further south from Oakland area to San Francisco. There are tolls charged anywhere from four dollars to $7.50 to cross these bridges but they only charge you on the way into town. So if you plan it right you only have to pay on your way in one time. In matter of fact I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, I think a total of seven times and only paid a toll once on that bridge (but the toll was $7.50 the most I paid on any of the bridges). That’s it for now lots more photos to come.`

 

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