The Golden State – California – Day 2

The post for day 2 is a day late – multiple things happened – My computer refused to read directly from the SD card, my son was too tired to download Picasa on his laptop and I was too tired to make him do it – hence the post is a day late.

A beautiful, sunny and eventful day!

We left the hotel around 8 AM, walked to the Ferry Building (about 5 minutes), had an amazing breakfast at Gott’s Roadside (http://gotts.com/) – Their special egg, spinach and mushroom sandwich is the best thing to kick-start the morning, rented bikes at the Ferry Building Bike Rentals (http://ferrybuildingbikerentals.com/) and set out on a biking adventure (at least it felt like one) – Ferry Building to Pier 39 to Fisherman’s Wharf to Ghirardelli Square to Fort Mason to Crissy Field to Golden Gate Bridge to the City of Sausalito on the other side and a ferry ride back. One amazing day!

Walking towards the Ferry Building: Ferry Building is the main terminal where ferries arrive into San Francisco. Built in 1898, the building is topped with a 245 foot clock tower built in the fashion of the 12th century Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, Spain. It is an imposing structure with offices and food stalls within.

Walk down the road from our hotel.

Walk down the road from our hotel.

The top of the Ferry Building. The building is lighted in the evening.

The top of the Ferry Building. The building is lighted in the evening.

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The road names are etched into the sidewalks in San Francisco.

The road names are etched into the sidewalks in San Francisco.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

Roadside stalls outside the Ferry Building.

A building that caught my husband's eye.

A building that caught my husband’s eye.

Breakfast @ Gott’s: Inside the Fery Building with outside seating as well. This is a chain restaurant – I saw one in Palo Alto right outside Stanford campus.

Egg, Spinach & Mushroom Sandwich

Egg, Spinach & Mushroom Sandwich

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The biking starts – Ferry Building to the Golden Gate Bridge: Our first stop was Pier 39. Although we did not go inside the Bay Aquarium, it has raving reviews and a must visit time permitting. We got a little lost around Fisherman’s Wharf but that led to the discovery of a WWII submarine USS Pampanito and warship SS Jeremiah O’Brien (for more information: http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/

and http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm).  Beautiful road with many quaint little stores – colorful and festive. Ghirardelli square next – a very quick pit stop – no pictures. Fort Mason, which was the main port for the US Army during WWII is bordered by a scenic park and ends in a quaint little town, Presidio, with many Spanish and Mediterranean style houses. Spring brings beautiful flora and fauna to the area and the green color is a balm to our “snow-shocked” eyes from New Jersey. Right before the actual turn to exit into the Golden Gate Bridge, another WWII US Army stop is at Crissy Field – a former airfield. Both Fort Mason and Crissy Field are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Do not forget to stop and stamp the National Park Passport book at the National Park visitor center. A little beyond the Crissy Field is a beach area – worth a stop to enjoy breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It almost seems like the bridge is made across a stretch of green fields than on water.

There are many, many, many people crossing the bridge, both on foot and on bikes – this can be challenging. The views on the other hand are out of this world – one word – “WOW”! Depending on the camera some really good shots are possible of San Francisco’s skyline, Alcatraz Island and of the bay.

Bike rentals

Bike rentals

Pier 39

Pier 39

Metal works outside the Bay Aquarium.

Metal works outside the Bay Aquarium.

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Spring is coming.

Spring is coming.

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Street view from Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Humming birds - there were many.

Humming birds – there were many.

Visitor Center.

Visitor Center.

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Into Sausalito, good ice cream and ferry ride back: I have come across very few quaint little towns in the US – Sausalito sure is one of the few. The main downtown is not more than five or six blocks long. A big part of the residential area is built on the mountain slopes offering awesome views of the bay and San Francisco.

Do not miss the ice cream at Lappert’s (http://www.lapperts.com/) – some unique flavors offered.

We took the ferry back to the Ferry Building to return the bikes.

View of the valley town of Sausalito coming off the bridge.

View of the valley town of Sausalito coming off the bridge.

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San Francisco Skyline from the ferry

San Francisco Skyline from the ferry

Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry.

Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry.

Alcatraz Island from the ferry.

Alcatraz Island from the ferry.

Coming up next – Day 3 – A day late!

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