Scott and I were on the move again to Toronto where I was chatting with a friend about our recent travels. She asked me if four days would be enough time for her first time in San Francisco. So for those of you who would like a few days in SanFran, let me tell you some favorite things we have done.
After dropping off the car in downtown we walked to Powell St. to catch a cable car - something we had never done before. For a $5 fare, just that one big step up onto the car will take you back 100 years. The cars are gorgeous with blond oak seats, brass accoutrements, a conductor in charge of riders and a driver. The trip is relaxed because the car stops on the flat cross-streets to let people on and off; then the driver has to connect an apparatus to the cable to pull the car up to the next street. Try and get a seat facing the street for the maximum in sightseeing. Make sure you go to the end of the line at Bay and Mason Sts to watch the cable car drive onto the turntable and then be turned manually before the trip back up the hill.
Fisherman's Wharf and the Embarcadero is two blocks further along on Mason. There's a lot to see: Alcatraz Island, sailing boats, ducks and the Bay bridge to Oakland. Multitudes of people walk, ride bikes, take pictures, stop for an ice cream cone or just sit in the sun amongst the flowers.
This time we rode the streetcar, $2/adult, to Market Street and the Ferry Building. The row of sturdy palm trees across from the Ferry Building delight me because they are so symbolic of California for me. The Ferry building has many and varied food shops selling artisan cheeses, meats antiques related to food, modern kitchen goods and a wine tasting shop. From the restaurants you can look out onto the harbor or the Embarcadero where the bustle is constant with cyclists, strollers with their dogs and children and commuters leaving the ferry to catch the streetcar for home.
By the way: From the Embarcadero stop on the BART on Market St you can get to the airport in half an hour. I enjoy reading books that are set where I am traveling. If you like mysteries, Laurie R. King's Kate Martinelli series take place in San Francisco.