April 30, 2009

On the road again

I bring you the fourth and final installment of my San Francisco travel diary.

It was hard to believe as we awoke that our last full day had really arrived. But there was no time to sit and reflect on the bittersweet. We had a lot to see and do, but first we needed some fuel.

blue bottle

We started with breakfast at Blue Bottle Coffee Café. Tucked away in a square Blue Bottle is full of light, minimal décor so that you can focus on the chemistry lab they have assembled for perfect coffee prep. This is for serious coffee connoisseurs but I’m a coffee wimp who instead opted for a beautiful latte to go alongside my poached eggs. The dudely followed suit and ordered similarly.

cable cars

Perfectly caffeinated and pleasingly full we walked a few blocks to pick up the cable car. We didn’t feel we could leave San Francisco without a ride on this landmark. At the end of the line was Fisherman’s Wharf where we picked up tickets for Alcatraz. With those in hand we found ourselves with a few sunny hours to fill.

ghirardelli square

We walked over to Ghirardelli Square where the dudely insisted that we enjoy Ghirardelli’s famous hot fudge sundaes. Who was I to argue with such a brilliant suggestion? They were certainly good but almost too rich. They left me in need of something to cut all that sweet. Conveniently, Crown and Crumpet was a few short steps away so we picked up some nice cups of tea for the road.


The road we were heading for was Lombard Street, the crookedest street around. It was completely amusing to see cars zig and zag their way down this tiny stretch of narrow road surrounded by hedges. It was quite like a maze, but where you know how to get in and out.

sea lions

As we made our way back to the boat for the ride to Alcatraz we stopped to see the sea lions. What a lazy bunch they were. They just napped and sunned themselves, completely unaware of the gawkers snapping photos.


Alcatraz was unlike anything we’d expected. They had an amazing audio tour of the cell house that put several years of history into a perfectly presented 45 minute tour. As we made our way through the cell house we learned of various escape attempts, the most violent being the Battle of Alcatraz. The most clever escape attempt used fake walls and heads to fool guards. This proved to be the only successful break. But there is a lot more to Alcatraz than just its prison history. Look into it sometime. It’s a remarkable story.

For our last dinner in San Francisco we chose B44, a Spanish restaurant. Cold and starving after our Alcatraz trip we showed up almost an hour early for our reservation but they graciously showed us our table. We started with cocktails, of course, and followed that with appetizers. I had the most perfect salad while the more adventurous dudely chose grilled local sardines. The appetizers were delivered with a galvanized bucket of bread and the best olive oil/anchovy/olive dipping sauce. For the main courses the dudely went traditional with paella while I had steak chimichurri. Believe it not but we ended up having to share dessert. I guess our stomachs do eventually reach their limit.

From here it was back to the hotel to pack and get a good night’s sleep. And we slept like babies, dreaming of our next trip to this fabulous city.


monaluna said...

great photos! as a local, it's fun to see sf travel photos... I'll have to try B44!

sftravel said...

I think you hit some really good spots and some great pix too. Let us know if we can help to plan a future trip!!! sftravel dot com