Thursday, 5 April 2012

San Francisco

I said in my post before going to America that San Francisco (SF) was the city I was looking forward to the most. I really enjoyed my time there...shame the weather did not agree. It rained and it poured ALL DAY! It wasn't even light rain, it was torrential! My coat didn't survive half hour in it so I had to get back to the hotel for that to dry off. So I bought a jumper (or a hoodie as I call it) and an umbrella. I was soaked through to my bones...and it was safe to say I was in a baaaad mood.

Anyway enough about the rain.

SF was still really pretty in the rain it just stopped us from enjoying SF in all it's sunny glory, especially as they were the comments I got most before going "SF is amazing in the sunshine". First off we went for a tour around SF. My favourite thing? The buildings! They were SO characteristic and I LOVED that they are influenced from British Edwardian/Victorian homes. The colours were awesome, I wish I had a home like these ones below.

 This was taken in Alamo Square right in the centre of the city. Aren't they quirky?!

We then went for a walk down Fisherman's Wharf on the famous SF harbour. Pier 39 is the fun pier! It has a fairground, fun shops, sea lions and arcades. Sadly due to the rain it was closed as all the entertainment is outside. It's cool to say I have been there though and I have no know clue as to why I look so orange in this picture. 

A massive highlight was travelling over the Golden Gate Bridge in the coach. I can totally see why it's such an attraction! It's STUNNING!

I always thought the Golden Gate Bridge got it's name because California is known as the Golden state. I originally thought it was called the Golden state due to it's gorgeous beaches but it was to do with the massive gold rush California had when it was first founded as a state in the 1820s. I had no idea this was why and I found it really interesting! It's called the Golden Gate Bridge because many immigrants entered the state through SF and where the bridge is situated is the main entrance to SF. How incredible is that?

Afterwards we went to a little town on the other side of bridge called Sausalito. It was a really quaint town (only about 8 miles long) and had some nice bistros. It was in this town that Otis Reading wrote "Sitting by the Dock of the bay" next to the water edge. I had that song in my head all day when I found that out! We then got the Sausalito ferry to the harbour. I will admit, it was nice to be in the dry!

I think one of the main draws to SF is Alcatraz. The state federal prison where Al Capone was once an inmate. It's now a national park and heritage site. I learnt about Alcatraz very briefly and it was this one history lesson that made me want to visit this place. Weird I know but I think it says a lot.

It totally got me out of my bad mood. I LOVE LOVE LOVE history. If I wasn't a nurse I'd be a history teacher in a heartbeat! So I was in my element. 

They give you a headset and it tours you around the place. For a place that was so crowded with people you really did get a feel for what it was like in the prison. 

These are all the cells lined up. They were really basic and it was classed as a 'home' for many inmates. I can see why people tried to escape, it was depressing in there.

This is what a cell looked like. Imagine being confined to an area that small? I know the inmates deserved to be in there. There were murderers, tax frauds and all sorts of reasons why the inmates were sent there. 

This is me on Alcatraz with SF bay behind me. It was at this part of the audio tour that they had actual voice recordings from the inmates themselves saying how hellish Alcatraz was. They said the hardest part was having this view of SF in front of their cells. All the cells faced a window that looked out to SF to make the inmates realise what sort of life they were missing. 

I was a lot happier after Alcatraz. Still soaking wet but so happy we went. We then went to China town! Before I left for the USA everyone was saying how awesome China town was and it did not disappoint. It was authentic, sweetly decorated in the streets and we had the yummiest meal!

There was one thing we had to do before leaving SF and that was ride the street cable car up the street to our hotel. It was strange to be in a mode of transport so open to the street!

Despite the rain...yeah I know I keep mentioning it...SF was really good. The history of the city is a must read/hear. It's one of the most characteristic cities I have ever been to and I would love to return (in the sunshine) to experience it some more. If you do one thing in your life is visit's a must!

Next up...Yosemite!


Hey Monkey Butt said...

Very cool. Glad you didn't let the rain spoil the day! :)

Holly said...

I would have been a bit disappointed by all that rain too, but it still looks like you had a great time.

Alcatraz is fascinating, and I love all the colourful houses - they look kind of like Lego!

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