Tuesday, July 29, 2014
SFO Touring Day 2, Part 2
After our refreshing pints at 21st Amendment, we got back on the road. The pace of our touring may have me remembering things a little bit out of order. We headed directly across the peninsula, through the Haight District, past the Panhandle, and then to Golden Gate Park.
There is a small island there that Brian enjoys visiting, and he wanted to show it to us – plus it was convenient to the Beach Chalet so we could stop in there if needed…which we did. The feature of the island is a collection of wildlife, including raccoons, squirrels, and a host of birds, perhaps including the “Wild Parrots of San Francisco,” but we didn’t see any that day, neither up in the Presidio nor in the Park.
We took some time enjoying the botanical displays and the old windmill, and headed over to the beach. The Chalet was too crowded, so we headed up the hill to the Cliff House, which I had visited with Brian back in 2010. We walked down from the new parking lot and visitor center at the top of the hill, above the Sutro Bath ruins.
It just happens that the ruins are one of my favorite sites in San Francisco, and I was glad for the chance to look them over. Brian and I had spent a couple of hours checking the place out in 2010 – there’s an old blog post here: http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2010/07/sutro-baths-ruins.html. If memory serves, we also made our way down to the Cliff House for refreshments that time as well.
We grabbed a spot in the café and had some beers and Popovers(!) – I think all three of us share a passion for this pastry. The Cliff House is one of the few places I know us where they are always available, so we had some. Also, since Mary likes to make them from time to time, we picked up a pack of their mix – Brian had sent us one a while ago, and we had them for breakfast…now we have a pack at the ready for another batch sometime!
Refreshed, we rolled out to our next stop, Coit Tower, a must-see tourist sight. Traffic was a little backed up, so Brian let us out while he waited in line for parking, and we walked up. We enjoyed the view, but didn’t take the time to check out the restored murals or go up in the towers, since we’d seen them before. Seriously, the view is enough to make the stop worthwhile, and Brian arrived just in timeafter we’d finished a walk around the summit.
It was getting on towards dinner time, and we’d planned to drive down to North Beach to take a walk and then enjoy one of the restaurants there. It was a beautiful evening, and diners and strollers were out in full force. We chose a place and had some wonderful pasta dinners, then walked a short way for dessert at an espresso joint.
There are lots of shared memories about North Beach, Mary and I had been a few times and remembered the espresso place from one of our visits. Of course, Brian has been to many of the places up there, so we enjoyed talking about fun times there.
Dusk was upon us, and Mary and I needed to get back to East Bay. Brian offered to drive – much appreciated – so we got to go across the new Bay Bridge (hey, I even have a post on that – right here: http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-new-bay-bridge.html
There’s an old saying that San Francisco is everybody’s second home town. As far as American cities go, that is definitely true for Mary and me, and we’re lucky to have friends there who call it their actual home town! After a full day of sightseeing, we had fully refreshed our memories of the place, and at last the vacation was over – all that was left to do was to drive down to San Jose the next morning for our flight home.