Tuesday morning we headed south from our campground towards San Francisco. It was the perfect day — sunny, clear, and 75 degrees.
Our first stop was at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the headland north of the city, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. The views were absolutely spectacular. You could see almost the whole city, but of course the bridge itself was the center of attention.
After a quick drive through Golden Gate Park, we headed back to the waterfront — down below the bridge to Fort Point. Once again, the views of the bridge were breathtaking.
Ryan was transfixed by the architecture of the bridge and the fort (those are his pictures above) but I just loved the surf crashing up against the sea wall!
Next we headed into town, a little trepidatiously — everything we’d read had said driving and parking in the city would be a nightmare. Fortunately Ryan is an excellent city driver (he drives fearlessly through New York City and Philadelphia) and was unmoved by the steep hills, the tourists in the road, and the tiny parking spots.
We made a point to drive past Lombard Street, the steep, one-block section of San Francisco with eight hairpin turns and beautiful gardens. I couldn’t get up high enough to get a picture of all the turns, but I did capture some of the lovely homes along the block. (One woman out trimming her hedges looked seriously displeased with all the tourists traipsing up and down past her home.)
Our next stop was Coit Tower, a 210-foot tower in Pioneer Park. We’d already seen some great views of the city, so we opted not to take the (expensive) elevator ride to the top — but we did enjoy the interesting murals inside depicting life in San Francisco in the 1930s.
By this time, it was well past lunch time, and we decided it was the perfect day for a picnic in the park. We headed down to the Beach at Presidio and fixed up a delicious lunch. (Bonus of having all your stuff in the back of the car: sandwich fixings are always at your fingertips!)
Ryan makes a sandwich (you can see the Golden Gate Bridge off to the left) …
… and I enjoy a delicious Greek salad from Safeway.
And then we took a walk on the beach!
Before we left San Francisco, we had one more stop to make: the gorgeous tiled steps on 16th Avenue.
They were absolutely beautiful — for me, definitely one of the highlights of our day in San Francisco. You can see in the image below more of the detail. The moon and stars section is at the very top; the sun section is just below it; then the bottom steps have a gorgeous flow from land to sea. (You can see the wave running through the center of it.)
The only stop in San Francisco we skipped that we had been really looking forward to was Alcatraz Island. We didn’t buy our tickets for the boat to the island early enough in advance, and we decided not to take a whole extra day to make the trip. We’re planning on coming back this way later this winter and will visit Alcatraz then.
Finally it was back to our campground to enjoy a quiet (and chilly) evening at the campground. Ryan had a grilled steak dinner, and we sat around the campfire and read and worked — a thoroughly pleasant way to end the day.