Tuesday 11 June 2013
This was to be the day that we went into the city, I was feeling a little apprehensive about this trip. It was about mid morning when we set off yet again on Route 101 this time going south. We were not sure how it would work going through the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge. As the tolls are taken automatically. Missy M had told us on an earlier visit to the city that she believes rental cars are taken care of. We had it planned we wanted to ride a tram or maybe a cable car. It was a must that we should drive down Lombard Street, or at least it was a must for Owl. I would be happy just to see it.
I set the sat nav to find Lombard street, we were driving along the lower part of the street as we had done on both the previous occasions we had been in the city. I found it on the map but due to the one way system we were directed to turn right then left which was when we began our near vertical climb. I was holding on tight each time we came to a junction. The adrenalin was building up as we neared the crest of the hill. Turning left again we passed the section of Lombard Street that Owl was searching for. Luckily (in my view) there was nowhere to stop so we made our way back down towards sea level and Fishermans wharf. First we needed to find the car park, I managed to find the place we had parked on the first Saturday but it was full! The Parking attendant pointed us in the direction of another car park.
We walked from the car as fast as my little legs would carry me towards Fishermans Wharf where it was our intention to, have lunch, ride a cable car and or tram and if we could take a ride on one of the Duck tours. The first thing we found was the Duck tours, we booked our seats handed over the money $70 between us. It was then that I realised we only had about $10 left. Ok we would find a bank and draw out some more money but first we only had 20 minutes before our trip began. We set off looking for somewhere to buy a bottle of water to share. That 20 minutes flew past in record time and we found ourselves climbing onboard our transport.
Owl was most disappointed to learn from the driver that this was not a genuine WWII type DUKW. These amphibious vehicles have been purpose built by the company. We enjoyed our ride anyway. There were steep streets like this to climb. Various land marks were pointed out to us, usually on our right, I was sat on the left! Owl took photos that interested him on the right like these from China Town reputably the largest China Town outside China.
whilst I was enjoying the architecture on the left. I should have taken a note book to write down all the landmarks that were pointed out to us. going from land to water was much easier than I had expected. It was a little un-nerving being on board this land based vehicle puttering around in the bay passing such huge vessels as these San Francisco as seen from the water near to the Bay Bridge. the back of these US Navy transport ships In case you hadn’t guessed this is the Bay Bridge as seen from the bay. The Giant’s stadium as seen from the bay Now the Giants Stadium seen from the road. Here is a selection of San Francisco Trams. Did you know that the trams have been collected from cities across the world. Finally we returned to our starting point. Before doing anything else we needed to find a bank so we could get some dollars. It seemed to me that since we had arrived in USA everywhere we went there were banks on every corner even drive through banks (something we don’t have back at home). So it shouldn’t take us long to find a bank. Or so we thought……..
WE walked along several blocks with no luck so changed direction again nothing so we changed direction again. Going into a camera shop we asked directions to the nearest bank. We were direct towards a shopping arcade 4 blocks to the left. Finally weaving our way between other tourists we made our way to the shopping centre. The bank clerk was very pleasant and helpful but no matter what he tried my bank card was not going to allow us to withdraw any money. However we were able to take a cash advance using Owl’s card. When we came out of the bank we headed back to Fisherman’s wharf for a spot of late lunch.
Owl made a new friend. He also loved looking at Alcatraz from here. After much deliberation we decided to eat at Boudin Bakery again before having a walk along the street looking at boats moored up in a small marina, there were many boards up advertising fishing trips. We were going to find a cable car to take us up to Lombard Street but decided to just collect the car and drive up there. When we got back to the car park I realised that it was above the shopping centre where the bank was.
I was hoping that we would just drive past Lombard street and glance down as we passed it but no, to my horror Owl turned to go down it. I would have had my hands firmly over my eyes at this point if he hadn’t asked me to take photos. Not the easiest thing to do when you are hurtling downhill at speed constantly turning corners but I did my best. It was a thrilling experience and at the end of the day I am glad that we did it but it was scary.