San Francisco Trip Redux

So, last Saturday I ventured once more to San Francisco. Actually, I had to sort out more #@%! with my return flight, so, I had to go up to San Francisco Airport anyway. That’s all now sorted, it seems, finally.

I didn’t have any particular destination again, just like the first time, but figured Golden Gate Park was as good a target as any. I started off from the Caltrain station and walked across the city. Down through the shady area below Market street, to the City Hall and related buildings. They were quite nice, architecturally, but it was raining by the time I reached them, so I wasn’t too inclined to sit around all day reviewing them.

Somewhere after that, I got lost. There’s a bit in the middle of the city where you’re in a bit of a valley, and with the large buildings everywhere anyway, you lose sight of any landmarks that might aid navigation. I was pretty sure I was heading either north or west, either of which were good, but until I stumbled upon Alamo Square, I didn’t really know. Heading northwest from there I eventually hit California, which helped me figure out what direction I was going… but not where I should be going.

So, figuring that worst case heading north I’d hit the coast, I headed in that direction. Of course, Golden Gate Park is west-south-west of Alamo Square, but, ah well. I ended up stumbling into the Presidio from Arguello, after passing close by the University of California, S.F., and past Laurel – which is a semi-swanky area much more like somewhere on the Mornington Peninsula. It’s also the home of Mayfair Drive… no, not the Monopoly Mayfair – that’s in England – but suitably positioned as to make you wonder if it was named after… anyway, I’d finally found somewhere that wasn’t concreted. Entirely, at least.

The Presidio, for those not familiar with San Francisco’s layout, is the big squarish park in the middle-north part of the city, from which extends the Golden Gate Bridge across the bay to Sausalito and whatnot. Why they added confusion to this by calling the other park the Golden Gate Park, we may never know.

So the Presidio was a bunch of military bases up until pretty recently – 1994, I think – and that heritage permeates the entire area. There’s now a big tourist focus throughout the old town there, with most buildings turned over to become museums or similar. And a lot of the military residences are now (or still, perhaps) occupied. It’s quite odd to be walking through this huge park, feeling almost detached from the noisy city, only to stumble out into someone’s backyard. D’oh.

And while it was very nice in spots, it is still relatively small. It reminded me of the Dandenongs, just miniature… it took me less than an hour to walk across it, up to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Which I didn’t actually walk onto… it’s a freeway after all, and a damn noisy, polluted one. So, I was content just to view it from Crissy Field and Fort Point, the coastal areas just east of the bridge. While the weather wasn’t entirely agreeing with me, it was at least not raining anymore. A quick hot chocolate and cookie later, I was feeling quite a bit better (and warmer), and briefly braved the pier for a few last photos of the bridge, and San Francisco.

Then, with the sun sinking towards the horizon, I began my trek back to the city. At this point I had about 35 cents left, which wasn’t going to get me very far… so I figured the best bet was to head towards Fisherman’s Wharf, find an ATM, and take a cruisy cable car or bus ride back to the Caltrain station. That worked, more or less. It was nice to finally walk the whole way along, from the bridge to Pier 39. There’s quite a nice park just about the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A few hours later (read: many hours later) I finally arrived back home. Not a bad day, all said. And because I decided to ride to and from the Caltrain station this time, I wasn’t nearly as sore as last weekend… still a little stiff in spots, but much more sprightly than last week.

So, photos are here. I didn’t take as many this time, because it was both a) raining, and b) not a lot not already covered by last weekend’s photos.

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