Apple Chronicles: Hello Again, San Francisco!

As I only have one free day in California, I decided to spend it in one of my favorite cities in the world: San Francisco.  It’s been more than three and a half years since I’ve last been here and I still have some unfinished business to settle.

Nice to see you again, Golden Gate Bridge!

This is part of a series

One of the things I really love about the Bay Area is BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).  It allows me to get around places that are far in between for a relatively affordable cost, conveniently and fast!  And this time around it’s no different as I once again am taking BART to San Francisco, albeit originating from a totally different station.  I was joined by a friend from Manila who’s coincidentally working in California that time as well.

Today’s adventure starts from this station.
BART ticket vending machines.

Whenever I go to San Francisco, I always alight at Powell Street as right outside it lies one of the city’s famous landmarks, the cable car.  It’s also a good spot to start exploring the city on foot.

This view greets you upon coming out of BART Powell Street Station from underground.
This is what these tourists come here for: the cable cars.
This is where these cable cars turn 360°.
I love this area because of its wide sidewalks and things to see.
You can also see a lot of other modes of transport here.

We don’t really have a particular spot that we wanted to go to so we just went along heading towards the port area.  Along the way, we found Yerba Buena Gardens.

The interesting façade of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
A waterfall in the middle of Yerba Buena Gardens.

After some photos taken, we went on our way to the port area.  This is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco as I get to see one of the big bridges of the city, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  It’s a great spot to just hang out and spend the lazy day.  You also have a good view of the skyline from here.

The Port of San Francisco.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
One of the residents of the bay area.
A marker that I found at Pier 7.
This is one of my favorite spots to take pictures in San Francisco.

It was approaching noon when we started walking towards one of the most interesting spots in the area, Pier 39.  Aside from having a great view of Alcatraz Island and a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s the only place I’ve ever been to where there are wild sea lions!  Watching them sometimes feel like watching a soap opera with all their antics.  But we explored the area first, scouting for a good spot to eat.

Entering Pier 39.
Hotdogs, anyone?
The store that sells interesting salt varieties is still here!
This shop saved me from hunger on my last visit and we surely won’t miss it this time.
The carousel is still around as well.

Along the way, we encountered this incredible performer doing a live show for everyone.  My companion got interested so we stopped and watched his show.  I guess that wasn’t a bad decision since he’s really good in acrobatics and quite entertaining too.

This guy is pretty amazing and quite entertaining!

Afterwards, we headed towards the back of the pier to admire the view, and visit the sea lions.  After all these years, I still find it fascinating that they stick around the area despite being surrounded by humans.  Do they enjoy all the attention?  Or do they just have nowhere else to hangout?

Alcatraz Island as seen from Pier 39.
Hello there!

The sea lions of Pier 39, live!

Being by the bay made me crave for some seafood and we agreed to have our lunch at Crab House.  As much as we both would love to have crabs that day, just a single order is too much for the two of us to finish so we got something more reasonable.

Another view of the busy Pier 39.
We got these for sharing aside from our main courses: Seafood Cioppino (so good!) and Crab Chowder.

We were again walking after having lunch, this time towards Fisherman’s Wharf.  Our idea was to walk all the way to the Palace of Fine Arts—one of the places I unfortunately missed the last time I was here.  Along the way, we passed through Fort Mason and the pretty houses of the Marina District.

This is probably the best place in San Francisco to get clam chowder.
Interestingly, it’s actually my first time to see the beach here!
Also first time to see this area.
The wide-open spaces of Fort Mason.

Impressive would be an understatement to describe the Palace of Fine Arts.  It’s quite an astounding structure that is best experienced rather than looked at.  It’s not just beautiful to sight, it’s very ornate and huge!  You’d feel like a miniature standing next to its pylons.  I felt very envious of the people who lives just across this amazing structure as they’re greeted with great views daily!  On the other hand, the area gets pretty busy with all the tourists though so that’s a trade-off.

The gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts.
Of course I needed a selfie here!
Those pylons are really high and quite a marvel to look at.
I felt like an ant when I entered the grandiose theater…
See how detailed these are?

We were really tired with all the walking so we decided to just take an Uber ride to our next destination, the Golden Gate Bridge.  I guess I could consider this to be the highlight of our day.  We arrive just in time that the sun was low enough on the horizon that everything looked “golden.”  Days were short and sunsets were early that time so we had to hurry if we wanted to take a lot of daylight photos with this landmark!

Some of the trails near the bridge go through this tunnel.

Walking under the Golden Gate Bridge was one of my more memorable moments here.  It felt a bit surreal and it made me realize how lucky I am to be at that place and time.  A lot of people will never see this place in person in their lifetime, yet I’m here, again!  I don’t know if it’s the lighting or the view that made me felt melodramatic.

The underside of Golden Gate Bridge…
…Leading out to this beautiful sight.

Despite seeing Golden Gate Bridge from so many angles before, it’s actually my first time to be on this side.  I practically did a trail run after walking and running all over the place to capture photos of the area from different angles.  Believe me, the runner in me wanted so badly to run in the area!  Hopefully, next time I’ll have more time to actually do that.  Running on the Golden Gate Bridge will have to wait for now.  But until then, all I can do is enjoy the view and cling to the moment for as long as I can.  And say hi to the Pacific Ocean from the other side.

Golden Gate Bridge from an angle I’ve never seen before.
These are steeper than it looks and where risk-takers take their photos.
That’s the Pacific Ocean out there and that’s the sunset telling us to start packing…
This really is such a magnificent bridge.

Panoramic view of the area…

Our day wasn’t over yet as we took another Uber ride to our next spot, Lombard Street.  This is considered as the world’s most twisted road and for the first time, I got to walk it via the stairs on its side that serves as its sidewalks.  My companion has never been here so I figured we could still squeeze it in as our last stop before we go back to our respective hotels.  It was already dark when we got there so there wasn’t much to see.

View from the top of the curves of Lombard Street.
The other end; we went down from the stairs on the right of this picture.

Finally, we were on our way back to Powell Street.  We decided to just walk all the way back since it’s not really that far and so that we can still see more sights.  We were also scouting for some interesting place to possibly have our dinner, but we didn’t find anything that caught our attention.  Eventually, we reached Union Square so we just grabbed some cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory before heading back to the BART station.  Eventually, this cheesecake became my dinner as I was too tired to get “real” dinner when I got back to my hotel.

We had to walk through a tunnel on our way to Union Square.
To my surprise, they actually set up an outdoor ice skating rink in Union Square!
Good night, BART!

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