Friday was a gorgeous day the best weather that we had so far, it was sunny with temperatures forecast to rise in the low 70s. So we headed in the town with a list of things to check off. First on our list is Telegraph Hill to see what views it had to offer. Being “Good Friday” the traffic was very good and there was lots of parking to be found wherever we went, which to this point was unheard of. So on our way to Telegraph Hill, I decided we should check out Lombard Street to see how busy it was and how close we could get. When we got to the bottom of a hill there was ample parking so we parked and got out started taking some photos.Bonnie started walking up the hill taking photos as she went.And I told her seeing it wasn’t so busy, I would drive around and come down the hill so she could get some photos of me. Here’s a couple as I approached.And one as I passed by. As you can tell the hill is quite steep.Then she hopped in and we drove around the block, down again and she took some more photos. Here’s one looking through the windshield.After making a couple trips down the hill, we headed back towards Telegraph Hill. “Telegraph Hill”, The hill owes its name to a semaphore, a windmill-like structure erected in September 1849, for the purpose of signaling to the rest of the city the nature of the ships entering the Golden Gate. The Coit Tower that stands here today, was built in 1933 as an observation tower and Monument to Lillie Hitchcock Coit’s who left the city the property of “Pioneer Park “where the tower stands. And money for the beautification of the city of San Francisco; after her death in 1929.We did not bother climbing up the tower as there was quite a line people waiting and you had beautiful views at ground level. The sky was sunny and bright and the air was extra clear. Here’s a great shot looking at the Golden Gate Bridge from high on Telegraph Hill. Here’s a series of photos looking at Lombard Street off in the distance.Here’s a great shot of Alcatraz out in the bay. There were gorgeous views in all directions.After spending ample time enjoying the scenery, we headed off the Golden Gate Park to drive around and check it out. It’s a beautiful green space in this large city that is enjoyed by many. It’s actually bigger than Central Park but maybe not as well developed. There are several museums and many beautiful gardens to explore. At the De Young Museum of Art, they had The Summer of Love exhibition (celebrating the hippie invasion of San Francisco in the late 1960s). It was busy and it wasn’t something were interested in paying to see, but a lot of people came to town, just to check it out.This beautiful giant stage really adds character to its surroundings.And some sculptures and beautiful open areas.There was a cool sculpture garden with interesting art. I love this giant safety pin.And these apples look good enough to eat.Here we walked by the Japanese Tea Garden, but didn’t want to pay the fee to get inside. So I took a couple photos from the outside as we headed towards the Botanical Gardens.We paid our entry fee so that we can get in check out the Botanical Gardens. At eight dollars for an adult and six for seniors, I think it was well worth the money. As soon as you enter you get great beautiful views of the fountains and ponds, and some lovely open areas.There were beautiful flowers in bloom all over.
Here’s a photo of some of the California Poppies (the state flower). These are wildflower that you find growing along the road signs all over, and according to locals there are more out this year than they’ve seen in decades.Due to all the rain this winter the flowers are in bloom in extra brilliance, both in people’s gardens and in the wild.There are lots of beautiful giant trees, redwoods, Oaks and giant cypresses like this one, native to California.All kinds of plant specimens from all over the world, like this monkey tree that Bonnie standing next to.But my most favorable was this Mexican Hand Tree.The tree itself is not much to look at, it is a broadleaf evergreen tree from southern Mexico and Guatemala.But the cool thing and how it gets its name from is its unusual blossom. What first got my attention was seen these little plastic like, lizard like hands that I found on the ground. The flowers themselves don’t stand out that much as they are small in proportion to the tree and not that visible at first glance. But if you look close you see these bright reddish orange blossoms, with yellow highlights.The center part really looks like the claw off the lizard. And they are kind of plastic like in texture. They only bloom certain times of the years so we are really lucky to find them flowery (so cool in my opinion).The garden had beautiful landscaping with stairs and benches strategically placed so you can wander around, relax and see beautiful specimens around every corner.By this time it was midday and it was getting busier. So we headed off to the Golden Gate Bridge to drive across it and do some hiking across the bridge itself. As we drove across the bridge with the top down Bonnie was able to get this shot of one of the tall pillars.I dropped Bonnie off so she could start heading out on the bridge. I had walked part of it one other day before she got here, but today was so much clearer and brighter. I found the spot to park and made my way to catch up with Bonnie. Here’s a photo of Bonnie out towards the center of the bridge.What a clear and gorgeous day it was.Here’s a panoramic shot of the city that I took from up on the bridge.Here’s the one someone else took for us so we could both be in the shot. It’s always nice that people are willing to take your photo and I took several for others during the week.After spending ample time on the bridge and enjoying the views and fresh air. We headed down on the east side of the bridge to get a couple shots from below.I think that I kinda look like a world traveler here.Then we were off to do one last thing on today’s bucket list. To ride a cable car from one end of its journey to the other. There are several cable car lines in the city, with different starting and ending points.The streetcars are more or less just a tourist attraction these days and are not practical for community. Part of the reason is it’s a seven dollar fee, (for a one way trip) whether you ride from one end of the line to the other end, or from one of the pickup points to the end of the line. This is not strictly enforced and if there’s room you can hop on and ride for a few blocks and not end up paying anything (like we did the day before). The line we chose was probably the longest at about a mile and half, going from the harbor to downtown. There was quite a line and we probably waited close to a hour before we got on the car. But in the meantime I met a nice lady in line that was there with her daughter taking advantage of spring break, and having a fun time in the city. And we struck up a conversation and she gave me numerous points of interest to check out, as I make my way up the Pacific Coast. She was born and raised in the Chicago area but has lived out in California for years. Well it was finally our turn to get on, but the streetcars are spaced out so we didn’t leave right away and we had time to get a photo of me hanging on the side.And then we are off I hung on the outside for a while and then I let Bonnie get on the outside the rest of the trip. I got some photos of her as we whizzed along.As you ride along up and down the hills you get some great views of the city. The cars stopped for traffic and at streetlights and many other intersections, so it’s a slow and fun ride.Even if you’re inside you get great views of the streets from your safe seat.It’s kind of risky hanging on the outside because you never know when you’ll get close to a parked vehicle, as some of them like this truck stick pretty far out (so you better be paying attention, one little boy was hanging way out and not watching and almost hit the side of a parked vehicle).We had a really cool conductor that was talking and having fun with all the riders. Making for a great time, he even let me ring the bell a few times.Well after coming to the end of the line downtown, we had a decision to make, “wait in line or walk up and down the hills to get back to her car”. We decided to get in the line which was about as long if not longer than on the other end of the line where we started from (remember that was about a 45 minute wait). But then an interesting thing happened a gentleman (I think maybe a homeless person but certainly clean of that, and if he was he was a well-kept one), he started talking to us and explain if we walked about a block and a half up the hill we could get on the next streetcar there. He went on to explain how the streetcars when they leave the station have to leave room to pick up riders along the way. We notice that when the cars would start out from the other end that there was always room for more people, but not being a local didn’t understand that was the rule. It still cost you seven dollars to ride the car to the end of the line, but you didn’t have to wait in the long line at the station. Well after talking to him for a bit as we starting to walk up the hill. I thank him for the information and was offering him a dollar for his time, when he said what about the information for the lady so I gave him another dollar. Those were two dollars well spent because it worked out great we only had to wait a few minutes and we are on our way back to the car. Not sure if this guy was homeless or not, but he sure knows how to work the system and gets a few bucks for his information. I give him lots of credit for that. Well that’s it for today but our time in the bay area not over yet. We’ve had more to come in the next post. Take care and safe travels to all, Rick