Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ode to San Francisco

Welcome to San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Candlestick Park, Alcatraz Island, Pier 39 and the famous Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory. Close by, you will find the high-tech scene in Silicon Valley, the rugged beauty of Big Sur and Monterrey, as well as Napa Valley and Sonoma, home to some of the world's best wineries. Today I am sharing with you images from my own recent trip to San Francisco, which was actually just about a month ago.


San Francisco is one of the world's most beloved cities and a visit there will show you why this is so. No two trips to San Francisco will be alike. It is a city replete with artistic, culinary and cultural activities, scenic beauty and a happening social scene. No matter what the weather, people in San Francisco seem to be happy to be there. With that said, San Francisco is indeed infamous for its gray and rainy weather, which typifies the landscape year-round.


Our hosts (one of my best friends from high school and her husband) started us off  on our San Francisco trip at the Ferry Building Marketplace where you can shop for all kinds of knick-knacks including olive oil, specialty cheeses and an assortments of breads and crackers. And this is just where the list begins. As you can see, the Ferry Building sits on a prime piece of real estate, making it also a beautiful destination to lunch outside and to take in the views.




As I mentioned, it's worth it to head outside in order to catch a view of that famous bridge with Alcatraz Island in the background. As you can see, the day we were there was a terribly rainy day. But that did not stop us (and a city full of tourists) from venturing outside and onward.

Onward we went from the Ferry Building, turning right out of the building and walking alongside all the piers heading toward our destination at Pier 39.

Along the way, we couldn't help but notice that it was Fleet Week, when hundreds of ships and thousands of sailors come into town with their crew, showcasing their individual fleets. It normally costs a hefty fee to tour many of these fleets, but during Fleet Week, it's often free so long as you wait in one of the lines. Our hosts insisted it was worth it and so we decided to check out a US Coast Guard in town.


After nearly an hour of waiting (we were told it would only be 20 minutes), we were finally herded onto the US Bertholf with a group of about 25 people where a captain and commander gave us a personal tour of the Coast Guard, educating us about its missions and history. It was surprisingly engaging and entertaining, helping me to appreciate the work that they do on a daily basis.



We learned that this device in the image below is the largest gun in the world, with an incredible range.  Thankfully, they haven't had to use it often. You might be able to make out the size of the bullet which he holds in his hands.

After our Coast Guard tour, we made it to Pier 39, a popular tourist attraction with a plethora of shops, restaurants and tour options. We made a pit-stop here for some much needed rain gear.




After purchasing our rain gear, we soon ran into Boudin's, a staple of San Francisco. Famous for its bread products and its delicious Bread Bowl, we decided to head inside for a warm treat.



In this area of San Francisco, everything is near one another. Just past Boudin's is the famous Fisherman's Wharf, where you will find a sea of seafood (no pun intended) to ogle.


And no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a ride on a local Cable Car, one of San Francisco's most typical modes of transportation.  Its distinctive look and sound can be seen and heard throughout the city.


Now we were close to the Buena Vista, well-known for its Irish Coffee, which our hosts swore with their lives that it was the very best Irish Coffee round the world. And now, let me ask, how do you pass that up? Of course, we didn't. In we went for a warm cup of Irish Coffee at this San Francisco gem. And delicious, it was. Be sure to stop in for a cup next time you find yourself in the city.


Pretty exhausted from our day, there was one more stop to go and that was at the world-famous Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory, which as most of you know, is known for their delicious chocolate. We had just enough room to split an ice cream sundae with dark chocolate hot fudge 4-ways and it was as delicious as you might imagine it to be.


After a fun night reuniting with more local friends, we woke up the next morning to a beautiful, crystal clear day. What a different a day makes. 

We actually spent our day in Silicon Valley, but we had some extra time to head back into the city to do some sight-seeing in the afternoon. So, we drove straight to Crissy Beach, which to me has one of the most beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge in all of San Francisco.

With just a small amount of time left to spare, we began following signs down a Scenic Drive, which sure enough, was as scenic as they come. Here are just a few images from this portion of our trip.

Last but not least, we really wanted to pass through Chinatown, which is one of the biggest Chinatown areas in the world outside of mainland China.



The views from this part of town toward the Bay Bridge are amazing. Just turn your head and take in the awesome views as you walk or drive through the area. It's really something to see. At this time, our brief tour of San Francisco has come to an end. So little time and so much to see. 


But tune in tomorrow for some visits through nearby Silicon Valley, where my husband had the opportunity to see handfuls of high-tech companies in the heart of the world's tech industry.


  1. LOVE SFO! You've sung it's praises beautifully.

  2. great pictures erin. i have been trying to get back to san fran and it's not in the stars i guess. so it's fun to see it all again. did you go to miette bakery in the ferry building. the store looks so cute in pictures.i'm obsessed with it and i just bought the cookbook. great seeing you at the shower! debbie

  3. It was great seeing you too Debbie! I wish I had known to sample something delicious from Miette Bakery when I was there... but we were definitely not lacking for delicious food when we were up there, I can promise you that. Good to know for next time! Also the cookbook looks DELICIOUS :)


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