San Francisco

25 11 2005

We’d headed for San Francisco this morning when, just after we’d left, it started to drizzle. Bugger. But about ten minutes before we arrived in San Fran the skies cleared and glorious sun streamed down. Woohoo!

We parked down by the mariner and so – naturally – headed toward the piers for some of that famous clam chowder. It was surprisingly good! We had it served in the sourdough bread which gets the Trentini seal of approval.

Clam Chowder
Cam eye-ing off the Clam Chowder

Cam and I (Sashi just wasn’t interested!) then went on an audio-guided tour of a retired WWII submarine, the USS Pampanito. Impressively moored behind pier 45, the Pampanito has been lovingly and meticulously restored. The tour went for about half an hour and I found it fascinating to listen to ex-servicemen narrate their time aboard the vessel. It was cramped, hot, very dangerous and just generally tough.

Dad, you would’ve loved it. 🙂

USS Pampanito Dials Lathe Toilet Engine Room Torp TubesThe USS Pampanito

After the tour we jumped on one of the cable cars. It may be touristy but, for me, this was a real treat. The “gripper”, the person who controls the car, was entertaining and hanging on to the sides of the car was just a great way to see such a picturesque city. It’s US$5 one way(or US$10 for a day ticket) but well worth the experience.

We got off at Union Square, a hub of shops and activity, in search of good coffee. We found a “coffee house” and found that it wasn’t absolutely disgusting which, by American standards, is pretty good. The rumours are true – you simply can’t get good coffee here! I’m making it one of my goals to find some but I’m not particularly confident of success… 😉

Don’t even get me started on Starbucks.

After wandering around Union Square for awhile we took the cable car back and returned to our car. It was getting dark so we figured we might go down to Fort Point and take some photos of the Golden Gate bridge. It is a magnificent structure.

Golden GateThe Golden Gate Bridge

Before leaving San Francisco we thought we’d take one last look at it from Twin Peaks, a pair of small mountains nearly 300 metres high quite close to the city. After driving around in circles for awhile we came to the lookout…and what a stunning view! The whole of San Francisco was laid out beneath you. Reminded me of the view of Melbourne from Mt Dandenong but here you’re a lot closer to a bigger city so it’s pretty impressive.

View from Twin Peaks
View from Twin Peaks

After leaving San Francisco we headed to Gordon Biersch a chain of micro-breweries that are well known for their meals as well as their beers. Great food, drink and company, a fitting way to end a wonderful day. 🙂

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6 responses

8 12 2005
age

Hmm.. “CHOWDERRR”

8 12 2005
Hamish Moffatt

When Anil and I took the cable car back in June, we had to wait over an hour to get on due to the crowds. It was summer, warm and very popular. There was a busker hanging around and being extremely annoying too, which didn’t help any.

Still, it was fun. Not sure it was an hour’s wait better than a W-class tram ride though 🙂

8 12 2005
trentini

One of the advantages of being here in the colder months is that the crowds are almost (relatively) non-existent.

That day was particularly good though – because it had rained in the morning everyone stayed home. Fishermans wharf was very quiet, and we got fantastic weather, it worked out perfectly!

As we were coming back in the afternoon though we saw the lines of people waiting to get on the cable car – holy crap they were long!

10 12 2005
Belinda

Mat – Brett and I found one good coffee place in San Jose – it was a bit of drive, and I guess further for you but their cofee was good. I can’t remember the name but it was in the centre of San Jose near the tech museum (which u definately need to go to). The tech museum is on a weird street that is kind of like a looong roundabout and the cofee place is that the top of it. There are two expensive hotels that face each other (Hilton and soemthing i think) and the coffee place is underneath one of them at stree level and has black and white awnings on the windows. That’s an adventure for u to find.

Also in San Jose is a free art galery that has some really intersting exhibitions that change as well as it permanent collection. Not sure if u are into painting art, but there is one picture there that as a photographer you should see. It is a huge picture painted from pictures taken of a street scene. There is so much detail in it – its amazing. Look for the birds and then find their shadows, and look under the veranders etc – its amazing.

Good luck

11 12 2005
trentini

OK, that does sound like an adventure! 🙂 Thanks for the directions, I should be able to find it from that.

I have had one excellent coffee at Cascal, the tapas restaurant on Castro. I’ll be back there whenever I need a hit.

I’ve got the tech museum on the list, I’ll be sure to blog about it when I go. 🙂

I didn’t know about that art gallery, I’m definitely interested in art. Looks like I’m going to have to spend some time in San Jose soon!

Thanks Belinda. 🙂

12 12 2005
Brush

There is also a room in the museum/art gallery that uses a strobe light (not for epileptics) and spinning models to make Angels slowly change into Vietnam Army Helicopters and back again. Really trippy shit.

Also in the same gallery was an exhibition about Hawaii and surfing. You come upstairs to find mechanised Hula girls dancing. As you start to look a bit more closely, you will discover that things aren’t exactly as they seem…

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