Ramble On

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SFO Touring Day 1

With the sole business activity taken care of, and with the excellent ferry ride across the bay behind us, Mary and I set off on foot for some sightseeing in San Francisco.  Although I was worried that we might be biting off more than we could chew, we decided to head over to the Marina District with a side trip up to the Presidio.  It turned out to be a good route and I estimated that we walked around 8 miles total, in town.

A lot of the waterfront in San Francisco is part of the National Park Service's Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Most of the walk was down in this area - we stopped to have a look at folks doing open water swims in the Aquatic Park and agreed this was insane.  Just a little further and they were setting up for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon (they ferry you out to the island and you swim back in) - the details of this event also didn't make much sense to us either, but we wish all of the racers well anyway!

At lunch time we turned south and inland, passing through the Palace of Fine Arts, a place I'd only seen from a tour bus before. Since walking through the triathlon set-up already had me on a theme, I kept recalling Sean Connery's movie "The Rock," which included establishment scenes here.  (Gratuitous Amazon link to The Rock DVD:   The Rock (The Criterion Collection))

After some photography, people watching (a busload of tourists disembarked and started photographing the place from the sidewalk outside of the buildings - they weren't going in!), and a few chats with people who were reminiscing as we were, we headed on through the park and on to Chestnut Street, where we found an excellent little sushi place, Asa Sushi.

I'm going to have to go ahead and recommend Asa, so here's a link to their website:  http://www.asasushisf.com - if you want Yelp! reviews you'll have to find them yourself.

From there, we turned north and walked into the Presidio.  Now, the movie connection to that place starred George C. Scott, in case you were looking for me to misidentify that one as a Sean Connery movie.  See for yourself at this second gratuitous Amazon link:  Presidio, The

The redevelopment of the Presidio is a pretty amazing story, and several friends have had the opportunity to work on it from the National Park Service side.  It was a pleasant walk that really tested our endurance, but it certainly had its highlights between the glimpse we had of the old pet cemetery that they are preserving, and then there was the Wild Parrots of San Francisco sighting in a pine tree near the entrance.

For more information, I'll link you to the authoritative Breakfast at Epiphany's blog, where there are no less than 53 posts with the aforesaid label:  http://breakfastatepiphany.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20Wild%20Parrots%20of%20San%20Francisco
Now, since I am going to link to the Breakfast at Epiphany's blog again in tomorrow's post, I should mention that I consider it authoritative is because of it's exhaustive coverage of excellent breakfast spots in San Fancisco.  If you want the serious low-down on a place to have breakfast - as opposed to brunch - on some weekend morning when you happen to be in San Francisco, well you'd be well served to check in at Breakfast at Epiphany's first.

Early in our walk we thought we might be able to make it as far as the Golden Gate Bridge.  But somewhere up in the Presidio we both had a meltdown and we decided to turn back for the sake of our marriage.  We headed down hill to continue our walk in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area facilities, and happened to catch this excellent view of the bridge from there.

As we continued this walk, we enjoyed seeing all the locals who manage to come down to these areas and use them on a daily basis - families, bike riders, runners, swimmers, and dog walkers. Dog walking in San Francisco is a pretty serious industry, and I have seriously begun to think of it as a retirement job.

At this point, we were a couple of beaten down tourists, so we headed on back to Pier 39 for the ferry ride back.  We worked in some caffeinated refreshments while we waited for our boat.

A pretty solid day of touring altogether.  It left us hungry for the Vietnamese food we enjoyed in Oakland that night, and only barely prepared us for the activities we would experience on our second day of touring in SFO!

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