Sunshine, submarines and streetcars

Clear, sunny skies greeted us on my family’s second day in the City.

We took advantage of the weather, and set out on foot for a nearly two-mile walk through the neighborhoods.  We traversed through the Financial District, Chinatown and even Russian Hill before arriving in the central tourist zone for a little Bay breeze.

My Mom provided some reflections on our walk, which included the fact that the walking signs and street lights are so incredibly fast and timed well.  Traffic moves at a quick clip through the City, and pedestrians rarely have to stop for a caution sign for more than 30 seconds at a time.  It’s true.  I’ve noticed this as well during my walking commutes to and fro throughout the past several weeks.  There’s some great urban planning going on there to keep traffic flowing efficiently.

Once we arrived at Fisherman’s Wharf, my Dad and Brother went on a docked World War II submarine and museum called the U.S.S. Pampanito, open to the public on Pier 45.  This was of particular interest to my Dad, who was in the Navy and spent plenty of time at sea on submarines much like this one.

After a loop around the Wharf, we walked down to the Pier 39 area for a seafood lunch on the water at Pier Market, as well as a little sea lion encounter.  There are tons of sea lions in the Bay and a group of them hangs out on the piers visible from the restaurants above.

The highlight of our day was a trip on an Historic San Francisco Streetcar.  It wasn’t the car that made the activity so memorable, but the driver, who was as feisty as they come.  While being extremely skilled and knowledgeable at her craft, she also gave patrons a taste of tough love.  She answered our honest questions and took our family photo, but then shot off to another tourist group asking stupid questions before boarding “do your research, people … come on!”  She also haggled a passenger who came aboard wearing headphones and didn’t listen to her directions.  I tried to offer her a tip for the experience, but alas, the City doesn’t allow gratuity to MUNI drivers, even ones on the Streetcar offering more than the average vehicle operator.

From the Ferry Building, Dave picked us up after he got off work and we went across the Golden Gate Bridge to a gorgeous park in Marin County.  From there we could see the Bay, San Francisco and even the Pacific Ocean.  It was freezing and windy at the park, but the views were some of the best yet.  This was a monumental experience for my Brother, who had never seen the Pacific Ocean before.  He claims to be partial to the Gulf of Mexico, but I think the calling of mountains in the distance might have made him change his tune.

Another thought from my Mom: You sure do get a lot of fresh air around here.  True story.

It was a great day full of the outdoors and fresh air, and it gave my family a chance to see the water, the mountains and a whole new side of the City.

An active day on foot calls for a relaxing evening at home.  After a quick shopping trip to Uniqlo for my Brother to pick up some fancy San Francisco clothes, we ordered pizzas, watched TV and hung out in 700 square feet for the rest of the night.

Kearny Street
City Slickers: Walking down Kearny Street.
Fisherman's Wharf
Checking out Fisherman’s Wharf on a gorgeous day.
Aboard the U.S.S. Pampanito.
Riding a Streetcar down the Embarcadero.
Golden Gate View
A windy vista, but a good one.
Golden Gate
The Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory.
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