By bsankararao on May 21, 2006
We (Siva and myself)reached SFO two days before Java One. We had the whole sunday to explore SFO. I spoke to couple of my friends to ask for suggestions on what to do at SFO. Prasad gave us some useful suggestions. Finally we came up with a list of things to do. Some of the suggestions included (SFO momo, Sony Metreon, Fisherman warf, coit tower, golden gate park, rent a bike and and go for biking on golden gate bridge to Sausalito and take a ferry back. We finally zeroed on what we partially wanted to do.
We went to travel desk at the hotel (Handlery Union Square) and told our plan. Both of us don't drive and we can't afford taxi to roam all the way. Travel desk guy gave us a great one page map of SFO and suggested us to take street cars. That turned out to be a great suggestion.
It is just $1.50 for a trip and you could use it as a transfer slip for 2 and half hours. Effectively we could roam around quite bit and spend too little on the travel. Great deal and to add they are zero emission vehicles.
We started at market street and took a "F" line and went to Pier 39 (Fisherman's wharf). We roamed there a bit and took pictures all around. We went to bike rental shop near by and asked about the price. He said $8 per hour. Then I immediately translated into rupees and told to siva, if we rent it for three hours, with that money we could buy a new bike in India. Oh! God, when will I stop thinking in these lines? Well, if you want to do any thing including eating, you should just stop thinking in terms of rupees. I managed to do it most of the times, but I can't do it all the time. We dropped the idea of biking, primarily because we weren't confident enough to bike.
We thought of going to Coit tower by walking from there, but fortunately we enquired at the information booth and they said it will be very difficult. So, we walked to Ghiradelli square and bought some ghiradelli chocos. It seems, siva bought from the same place for the last two years. Again there is a information counter there and we got the street car numbers to reach coit tower. From Ghiradelli square, we reached Washington square, which is at the Columus, Union Street intersection by car no 30. We need to take car no 39 to reach, but missed it by a few secs and the next one comes after half an hour. We decided to climb to the tower and it tunred out to be bit more difficult than what I anticipated. I love hiking and trecking, so no complaints here.
Only way to reach the top of coit tower summit is by elevator (unless there is a fire I guess) and it looked like it took quite a bit of time to reach the top. Once you are on top, 360 degrees view of the SFO is great, unfortunately it is not photo friendly as it is completly covered by glass panels. We were wishing atleast there is a space to put camera there so that we could capture some nice photos. Never the less, view is fantastic. Coit tower is on top of telegraph hill and there are some beautiful houses on the hill. From there we took 39 to reach washington square and 30 to reach market street.
We had lunch at Burger King and then to golden gate park. We took 5 fulton and got down at 8th avenue and Fulton intersection and walked into golden gate park. It seems, golden gate park is closed for traffic on sunday and it is very peaceful. Every one seems to have a very relaxed time out there. Few people biking, few people having sun bath and getting tanned. Few people got their snaks and having picnic sort of thing. Over all it sounded amazing.
We went to "conservatory of flowers",which is with in the golden gate park. They are doing pretty good job of conservating different flowers and plants which can only grow in their own climates. "Butterfly garden", "Aquatic plants", "High tropical palnts" and two more sections, whose names I couldn't recollect now. Overall impressed with what we have seen there. Inside it was very humid and difficult to stay there for some time, even by our own standards. There is an entry ticket for $5.
Our next destination is "De Young Museum", "art section"entry is ot free, otherwise it is a free entry. I am not so much of an art fan, so we have taken an elevator (you need to stand in the line for 20 mins to get into elevator) and went into observatory tower in 9th floor. Like Coit tower, here also view is amazing but same story, fully covered with glass panels.
We skipped Japanese Tea garden and moved to stow lake. There is a boating facility, they are peddling type boats and meant for relaxation. Lot of people are on the lake boating. We sat there for some time watching people.
We went out of the park and took a 28 at Presido, Fulton intersection to the golden gate brige. It goes to the starting of the bridge. From there we walked on the golden gate bridge till the half way, enjoing the surroundings and thinking "aren't we walking on the most glamorous and photo graphed bridge that is known to human?" We turned back and then took the 28 back to fulton and 5 back to market street.
We have decided to finally end the day out. What a day!!!. Unlike the previous day and other days in the week, that day is sunny, no fog and no cold wind.
I am not sure, whether mark twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco'' or not, but I felt bit like this the day before, but not on this day.Turned out to be a great day for going out in SFO and pretty satisfied at the end of day!!!