We flew from New York to San Francisco and then got the Bart train to our accommodation. Emerging from the Bart station (despite the darkness) it was immediately obvious how different the two cities are; my first site in San Francisco (outside of the airport) was a palm tree! San Francisco is very hilly and the short walk to our accommodation was hard work but we made it and found out delightful yellow house in Noe Valley.
The next morning we headed off early to get out ferry to Alcatraz. We booked an Uber taxi which was quite simple and I’m going to do a separate post on that so watch this space! Alcatraz was a really interesting experience that I recommend; the former prison is now an interesting museum. You get an audio tour included (in numerous languages) which is very informative, unfortunately my one criticism is that the audio tour directs everyone around the prison in the same way meaning that you get big groups of people loitering around the same cell or plaque. There’s a nice shop there too and I got a replica of the tin cups prisoners would have used, there isn’t anywhere to eat and, in fact, you can’t take any food or drink with you (there is a small area when you get off the ferry where you can eat food you have brought).
We headed back to San Francisco to get food, the ferry went from Pier 33 so we headed down to Pier 39. Pier 39 is incredibly tacky and touristy, and apparently the locals never go there! It is full of souvenir shops and restaurants, and a few attractions like a sea lion centre and a carousel. There wasn’t that much choice for vegetarians so we headed for Hard Rock Cafe because I had never been to one and (since it was MY BIRTHDAY!) it was my choice. I ordered nachos (basically the only veggie thing on the menu) and it was HUGE! I also got a cocktail and the final bill was pretty hefty. This is where we discovered how you pay with a card in America; no chip and pin here so they take your card then bring it back with the receipt which you then sign and leave. We were confused and had to ask what we were supposed to do!
Around the corner from Pier 39 is the Musee Mechaniqe which is full of old arcade games and fortune teller machines, the Museum doesn’t give you any information about them but you can play with them (they take quarters). After that we took a look at the Cable Car turnaround where they turn the cars around by hand which was around the corner from Millennium where we ate dinner. I had booked Millennium (before we even left the UK) for my birthday meal because it is a very highly rated Veggie restaurant but I have to admit I was underwhelmed by the external appearance and my food was just ok (boyfriend loved it!).
We went to bed early again because we were very sleepy…
To be continued!