Downtown San Francisco including Chinatown and Pier 39, although I prefer 69! The Bay Area from Gem Inc satellites San Francisco - home of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz The view from Twin Peaks Another view of the Golder Gate Bridge with SF in the background The fantastic Modonna Lodge between LA and SF Click for the San Francisco forecast

A short mpg file of San Frankinstein.... The strip at night....
Click on each of the photos to enlarge it. Or click the movie file to play a small clip from this city.

The first photograph is an aerial shot of downtown SF. Some of the main places are highlighted in text such as Lombard Street and Fisherman's Wharf. Coit Tower over to the right is up some very hilly residential streets and you hope to get parked near the top!

The second is a satellite picture of the Bay Area, as the locals call it. From top to bottom of the built up area, which will be from the Golden Gate Bridge to San Jose, the distance is some 45 miles! I still think I can do it in 10 mins on the Freeway.

One good way to get around the centre is to take the noisy trolly trams. It is hard to imagine why people would want to live in the middle of a steep hill but much of the central residential area is one large hill.

The sixth and last photo is of Madonna Lodge where all the hotel rooms are individually and crazily designed. The hotel is a few hours south of San Francisco and a little north of LA. Do checkout the garish red and hippy velvet in the main dining room. Yuk.

One great vantage point is at the top of Twin Peaks, near Portola Drive and a few miles SW of Downtown. It might be difficult to locate the right street off the main road to take you to the top and all these hills burn the gas (on a Jeep Grand Cheroke the fuel needle moves in real time!) but the effort is well worth it. Or just enter it into GPS.

In the meantime has the cost of fuel (gas) gone over the $5 level yet? My Jeep was a nice but thirsty car in 2006 and 2008.

Below are a few of the activities and sights you might want to do in The Bay. Maybe grab a seafood chouder by the piers or book your Alcatraz tour for tomorrow, tourists often book it all up meaning you can't go on the day. Low life.

San Francisco is a strange city, it has an aura of resembling Huckleberry Finn and of a year gone by, crossed with once being a fishing port, crossed with a modern city centre and criss-crossed with too many bleedin' hills.

The top ten things to do include:

  1. Walk through Chinatown - one of the biggest Chinese communities outside China itself, crispy noodles for me please
  2. A boat ride or swim to Alcatraz - and imagine not getting back

  3. Drive down Lombard Street - between Hyde St & Leavenworth St, SF's most crooked street
  4. Explore Fisherman's Wharf area - but know that you are now very much in a touristy place

  5. Look at the Golden Gate Bridge - quaintessential San Francisco but ask yourself why all the fuss and why is it coloured red
  6. Walk around Union Square - if you love shopping at Macys, Nordstrom, Tiffany etc etc and enjoy overpriced meals but luxury goods
  7. Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill - you can pay $4 and go up the lift (elevator) or just admire the city views from the ground or adjacent park
  8. Stroll around Pacific Heights and Nob Hill - enjoying the architecture of the multi million dollar Victorian mansions in exclusive and chic PH and perhaps a hop on a Cable Car to Nob Hill
  9. Walk through The Golden Gate Park - seeing the Japenese Tea Garden and Conservatory of Flowers, later driving the 49 mile route following blue and white seagull road signs, assuming souvenir hunters have not pinched them!
  10. Escape by car out of the city - 2.5 hours south by car to the delightful and quaint town of Carmel and the scenic middle of nowhere Big Sur coastal road.

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If you're goin' to San Fran Cis Co, Be sure to leave the Flowers behind in a Ja(i)r

Checked May 2008