Tuesday, February 28, 2017

California Part 7 - San Francisco

Today we did the total tourist thing - Fisherman's Wharf and surrounds in the morning and a tour of Alcatraz in the afternoon! It was another blustery day with a bit of sun and a bit of rain, so we rugged up and headed off. We decided to keep the car and just drive everywhere - with some trepidation because we were in a big city for the first time - but it was so easy. Sometimes there was traffic and it was slow, but we would have been just as slow in a bus, and we used an awesome app to find parking - Spothero. You find a parking garage where you want to be and prepay through the app, then just rock up and park without any fuss. The most we paid for a 10 am - 5 pm day was $18, which isn't too bad in the scheme of things, and we could navigate straight there knowing we had a spot, then park and walk to everything, then leave when we wanted to. The only problem was every street looks flat on Google Maps and some of the streets were not flat. Not flat at all.

I think we did everything you are meant to do at Fisherman's Wharf! We bought chocolate from the Ghiardelli shop, and fridge magnets and a t-shirt from one of the thousands of tourist shops. We had sourdough from Boudin and admired the sea lions. Actually the sea lions were awesome and we watched them for ages. Brad looked briefly at the ships and the submarine. We went to the Maritime Museum - I wasn't super interested but Brad said "it's the building, not the contents" and he was right. A way cool 1930s building with fabulous original murals and mosaics inside.

There weren't a lot of people around so it was really pleasant to wander and look at things. I think it can get a bit crowded in summer but we found it really laid back.

And in the afternoon we were off to Alcatraz! That is a high volume tourist experience compared to most of the things we were doing, but I guess you need a bit of clockwork efficiency getting people on and off an island. Looking back I hardly took any photos at all, and none inside. I did find it quite confronting and unpleasant - which I shouldn't really be surprised at. But it did surprise me, how much of the grimness remained. I think they should raze the whole place and make it into a park, but I know that's not very historically sensitive. I do tend towards the astroturfing of past unpleasantness wherever possible.

The best bit about Alcatraz are the views back towards the city and over to the golden gate bridge. This sky gives a true indication of the weather. Brilliant sunshine, rainy squalls, angry looking sea and clouds.

1 comment:

  1. "I do tend towards the astroturfing of past unpleasantness wherever possible." Love it! That's why my tv viewing is mainly antiques and gardens - oh, and archaeology. I'm just about ok about unpleasant behaviour 4000 years ago.