17.12.2012 - 17.12.2012 16 °C
Damn the number 13. We were supposed to be heading to Carmel/Monterey today but alas no. Apparently we were the only people in this whole city who wanted to go so the trip was cancelled an hour before we were due to be picked up. Our lovely concierge John rang all the other companies and not one was heading there today either. Line those planets up!
So what to do on a rainy day? Well we went for a 8 hour walk. Our home for the next week is the Handlery Union Square Hotel which is diagonally across the road from Union Square, downtown where all the action is. As Beedo isn't good at walking up hills and Patrick gets sick of walking we decided the easiest route would be to head towards Chinatown, through to Little Italy (North Beach) and down to Pier 39 and on the waterfront.
Last time we were here Paul and I ate lunch everyday in Chinatown. The food is amazing and the culture and people watching more so. We wandered through a lot of the food and grocer shops and Sam was amazed by all the packets of shark fins for sale. I enjoyed watching the locals shop in the poultry shop and the sugar sweets in the bakery.
Just as we left all the aromas and colours of Chinatown behind we found ourselves in the very cool dining, delis and cafes of North Beach. We moved from the dragon styled lampposts to the Italian flag coloured posts letting you know that this was a new and very different precinct. I particularly liked the little quirky things like the black and white tiled sidewalks in front of some of the storefronts. The smell of coffee is everywhere and the delicatessen's are amazing.
All this walking meant that when we reached Washington Square we needed to stop for a rest on a park bench and watch the elderly Chinese Ladies doing Tai Chi. I tried to get a great photo of the Saints Peter and Paul Church, but that was in vain. After the refresher we continued down the hill to Fisherman's Wharf.
The waterfront is tourist central. There are some must sees for littlies and grown ups alike. The boys enjoyed watching the sea lions at Pier 39, Paul goes for the clam chowder that lots of vendors sell, Sam the Dreyer's ice-cream and I like watching the bakers make their wares at Boudin's (the sour dough is addictive).
There are lots of shops to browse and attractions such as the maritime monument, etc to explore. After a few hours walking around Pier 39 and up to the SF Maritime National Historical Park looking at all the different boats, submarines, etc we found ourselves at Ghirardelli's. We spent lunch watching the America's Cup yacht Team Artemis training out on the bay. With the Ghirardelli Chocolate shop next door I was in heaven.
To treat ourselves after all this walking we lined up at the Powell-Hyde Cable Car Turnaround for a ride home. It costs $6 per person whatever your age is, each time you hop on a cable car. So it can be expensive if you don't by a transit pass. We got on car no. 5. It was a great ride home to Union Square and a great way to end our first day in the city.