Sunday, June 03, 2007

San Francisco, Day One

As promised, here are some pictures from my two days in San Francisco during my trip to San Jose in May. Saturday was spent being a tourist along the waterfront. I had an ice cream sundae covered with Ghirardelli's hot fudge at the Ghirardelli ice cream shop next to the factory (Thanks, Judy, for the tip!):

I rode a cable car from the waterfront up to the top of the hill and got off at Lombard Street, "The world's crookedest street." I then walked down alongside taking many pictures, including this one from the bottom:

I had fish & chips for lunch on Fisherman's Wharf, and then spent a couple of hours on Pier 39 (an outdoor mall, but with unique shops and many restaurants), including having a snack at the Hard Rock Cafe.

The evening was spent on a tour of Alcatraz island and prison. It was nesting season for the seabirds that gave Alcatraz it's name (Alcatraz is a corruption of the Spanish for "island of the birds"), so they were making nests all over the island. All of those black dots on the cliffs in this picture are birds:

The boat that took us to the island went up one side and around the end of the island before docking, so we got great views of the island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline. Here is the island from the opposite side:

The prison tour was very interesting. You get access to most areas, and there is a guided audio tour with commentary from both former prisoners and former guards. We also got to go around some of the outside areas and take pictures. It was a windy day, and on the San Francisco side of the island I saw something I'd never seen before. Many birds were aloft, facing into the breeze, barely flapping their wings. In essence, they were hovering, just riding the winds for fun. You can tell how still they were from how little blur there is in this picture:

I could have watched the birds for a long time. We also walked right by birds sitting on nests without them being bothered too much--they must be used to people.

Because there were so many people all taking the audio tour at once, I didn't attempt to get a picture of me in one of the cells. But I figured I needed some proof that I'd been there, so here it is:

It was an enjoyable day, but my legs were quite sore from all the walking by the time we got back to the car for the ride back to San Jose.

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