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We Love SF!

What a great town for street hiking, eating, and photography -- three of my favorite things. I couldn't wait to get everyone out of the hotel and on the street. I was up early, the rest of the gang was not ...

Emma snoozing.jpg

When we finally did get out, Emma was interested in the "F" line historic streetcars, so we hopped on one of the 1940s green-and-white PCC cars (originally from Philadelphia) and rode down The Embarcadero.

PCC car.jpg

The F line swings around the waterfront on The Embarcadero and then down Market Street into the heart of the SF business district. We got off at Powell Street, where the cable cars terminate, and walked north (uphill) a dozen blocks, taking in the sights.

SF cable car.jpg

A stop at the Westin St Francis hotel's elaborate gingerbread house was a hit with Emma, but it made us all hungry for breakfast.

St Francis gingerbread house.jpg

So, a few blocks later, on the downside of the hill we stopped at a small Chinese restaurant and bought 3 large pieces of dim sum for breakfast. Emma liked the deep-fried bun with ham in it (not sure of the proper name), Eleanor liked the sesame lotus bun with sweet bean paste (sort of like a filled doughnut), and I liked the translucent potsticker with cabbage and pork. We munched and walked down to our hotel, 24 blocks in all.

SF dim sum.jpg

After checking out of the hotel, we headed the to streetcars again, this time to catch one of the orange "Peter Witt" cars from Milan Italy. These feature gorgeous wood interiors and signs in Italian. ("Vietato sputare" was one.) Emma was hoping they'd be more rickety than the PCC cars, but the ride was just as smooth.

SF Peter Witt.jpg

We got off the streetcar a bit earlier this time, so that we could hike the famed stairs to Coit Tower, on the bay side. Toward the top of the stairs there is a spot where two hundred wild parakeets live in the trees. I got some good shots of them eating berries, and a local commented that I had been lucky enough to get closer to the birds than anyone he had ever seen.

SF parakeets.jpg

The views from Coit Tower were, as always, spectacular. I can't imagine a bad view, unless the visibility was zero in fog. (This time of year there's less fog than in the summer.) And the entire Telegraph Hill residential area that surrounds the tower is interesting to browse.

SF Coit view.jpg

After hiking down the west side from Coit Tower, we turned south and headed for Chinatown. I wanted to revisit a place I'd had lunch with my friend Captain Mikey a few years ago: Yee's. It's one of those places where the cooked chickens hang in the window, the clientele is almost entirely Chinese, and a row of old men stand behind the counter with cleavers, whacking pieces of poultry for the 3 o'clock buffet. Perfect.

SF Yees.jpg

The lunches were marvelous and enormous (enough for leftovers), the atmosphere was friendly, and lunch was just $15 for all three of us. We saved a little room in our stomachs so we could walk one block up hill to an Italian gelato shop. Lemon for me, green tea flavor for Eleanor, and a lemon cone for Emma.

Browsing San Francisco by foot is the best way to see the bulk of town. The hills offer remarkable views that continually surprise. Later, you can drive or bicycle over the Golden Gate bridge, Golden Gate Park, and other great spots. But from the hills, you can see it all and really get a sense of what San Francisco is all about.

We wrapped up our afternoon with a walk over to the Fisherman's Wharf piers. This part of town is very touristy, but the sea lions and waterfront scenery are still worth a look. Plus, Pier 39 offers some of the best views of San Francisco in the late afternoon.

SF wharf city view.jpg

Once the sun set, it was time to start heading back home to the Airstream. We stopped in Cupertino to visit some friends for a couple of hours, and then returned to our storage spot in Santa Cruz to find our Airstream glowing in the light of the full moon on a crisp California night.


Looks like you had a great time in SF.

Glad you made it home ok.

Take care.


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