Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 17, 2013: A Day Immersed In San Francisco

Date: August 17, 2013
Event: A Day Immersed In San Francisco
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: $24 for transportation to SF and a day pass on the transit system
Summary: San Francisco is a place I want to spend more time

In the middle of August, I found myself back in California for business. It was supposed to be a fairly short trip – just three and a half days. However, a few things came up that would require me to be in California the next week, as well. So I had a choice: fly home to NYC for a weekend then fly back to SFO. Or, just stay in SFO. I was really torn but ultimately decided to stay.

Best Decision I’ve made in a long time!


As I described it to friends: The bad news is I had to stay over in San Francisco for an extra week. The good news is I had a weekend to spend in San Francisco!

And while I only spent one out of the two days in the little city, I FILLED IT UP. Originally, I just googled walking tours in San Francisco. So many of them involved walking certain staircases (especially around Telegraph Hill). Intrigued, I started Googling staircases in San Francisco. And once that search started I was all, who knew there were so many and so awesome?!? But there ARE so many and they ARE so awesome! So the plan for the day was: seek out and walk up and down and see and photograph the best staircases in San Fran. But, the day turned into so much more. I actually only did about 60 to 70% of the itinerary I had planned for myself and while it was dominated by staircases, I added in so much more.

The details of the day are contained in these three posts:
Part 1: The Cable Cars are as fun as you hear and Lombard is as pretty as you hear.

Part 2: You might think climbing staircases would be a terrible way to pass time in San Francisco. But you'd be wrong.

Part 3: Street Cars, Rainbows, Wild Parrots, and Murals, oh my!

Below is the summary…

0) being so happy I only had to drive a mile from my hotel to a commuter rail station to take the CalTrain into the city—not having to drive or park in San Fran was such a relief!

1) after arrival in San Fran, ride old time cable car -- so much fun up and down super steep hills, standing on the rear platform

2) walk up Lombard street -- great photo ops and just plain fun!

3) do a walking tour (from a book) of steps on Russian Hill. The gardens are amazing! I can't believe those little treasures are in the middle of a metropolitan area. AND seeing mail boxes -- like the mail man has to climb these stairs every day just to deliver 5-6 people's mail.

4) do a walking tour of stairs around Coit Tower -- this didn't go so well. Got lost. But the Filbert steps are amazing!! Meandering through gardens, sections are wooden, little paths to cottages on either side. Just wonderful. But because I got lost, I didn't see one set of steps I had intended to, but my knee was starting to bother me so it was time for a rest

5) trying to figure out the completely indecipherable public transit to get to The Castro district (the gay area) where there were more stairs as well as outdoor building murals. I ended up taking two different street cars and found the street cars (different than the cable cars but still historic) were a treasure! I wanted to keep riding them and getting on and off and taking pictures.

6) after ~30-45 min street car ride (think bus but on rails) I was in the Castro. Big huge rainbow flag, lol.

7) off to see a couple staircases. They were smaller than the ones in downtown but ridiculously beautiful. AND, I saw a small flock (5-7) wild parrots. WILD PARROTS. Awesome.

8) back to the main drag of Castro where I encountered (purely by accident) three things: 1) a small memorial called the Pink Triangle memorial commemorating LGBT people who died under the Nazi regime, 2) the San Fran Cheer team (mostly male) doing a cheerleader display 3) two male nudist wearing a sock (and that's about it). All in all, a fantastic set of extras in the Castro

9) walking to and then walking down an ally of murals on either side of the ally. Outdoor art. Love it. Also saw a couple houses that were painted magnificently (with Murals or just bold colors)

10) thinking I'd go see ONE more stairway I reallllly wanted to see, but I got on the wrong subway and that was enough to push me over the exhaustion edge. I headed back to downtown and the CalTrain station and then back to my hotel.

Total cost of the day: $10 for the roundtrip train ticket into San Fran + $14 for the all-day transit pass + meals (which really was just a diet coke and banana twice). You can hardly beat that!!

As I said, it was QUITE THE DAY; I have no regrets about anything I did AT ALL. And so many things I still want to explore and spend time on. And so many things I’d love to revisit. THAT is the sign of a good day. A VERY good day. :)

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