A walk in the parks

A walk in the parks
San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Well the clocks went back last night but even so, we weren’t up right early. Judging by the people leaving the motel, going for breakfast, etc, we weren’t the only ones either. The forecast was for a warm and sunny day and they weren’t kidding – even at 9am it was warm enough for shorts. I had to remind myself we’re in the Northern Hemisphere again and it’s November the 1st. We walked 200 ft. down the road to ‘The Home Plate’ for breakers, a tiny little breakfast/brunch cafe that is widely mentioned in the local press. It was packed, but we got in and had a nice breakfast indeed.

The plan today was to explore the two big SF parks – Presidio Park and Golden Gate Park. Now to confuse matters, the Presidio overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate doesn’t. Clear, eh? Anyway, to the Presidio first. It was a straightforward run from the motel, remembering to turn off Hwy 101 at the last min or be swept over the bridge. We did it ok. First port of call was Chrissy Field (that’s a place, not a person). A one-time airfield it’s now part of the park. It’s right by the water and stretches all the way to Fort Point, right under the bridge. We spent quite a long time there just soaking the sun, watching the men, sea lions and pelicans fishing and trying to keep out the way of the joggers and cyclists (of which there were trillions). I think it was a pretty unusual day weatherise and sight-wise because joggers (who are presumably locals) were stopping to watch the pelicans and take in the view. I now have a vast library of pelican pictures -alas no sea lions because there were a little too far out for the camera’s reach.

I also have more pictures of the bridge than any human will ever need, but at least we could see it today. From Chrissy Field we climbed in the car up to the Golden Gate overlook, where we arrived at a time not much later than we had the day before. A somewhat different view from this point today! More Golden Gate Bridge pictures in the collection. We then drove down the other side to Baker Beach, which was notorious at one time for being a nudist beach. Alas today it is nothing like that, but if offered yet more good views of the bridge, only from the other side!

A straight run out of Presidio Park on Lincoln Blvd and 25th Avenue took us directly to Golden Gate Park. It was quite difficult to find our way round this as they seemed to have closed off the underpass that links the two halves together where it is bisected by Hwy.1. By accident we found ourselves out on Point Lobos again. Never mind, the views were even better today. I made plans for lunch at the Cliff House, but one look at the queues (where were all you gits on a foggy Saturday, eh?) and we hopped back into the car and scuttled back to Golden Gate Park. This time we successfully crossed Hwy.1 into the other half of the park and managed to find a parking place at Stow Lake for a late lunch.

From there we drove down to centre of the park where the Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum and the San Francisco Botanic Garden are located. The whole area was rammed with people and cars, so we splashed out for a parking place in the underground garage. Oooh, $6.50 it cost for the afternoon. We took the elevator (ok, the lift) up to the Academy of Sciences – I wasn’t sure what this was, but turned out to be a natural history museum, planetarium and aquarium in one. £24.95 each to get in. Nah, not that bothered to see yet another big fish tank. The de Young museum had the Tutankhamun exhibition – you know the one that was at the O2 in London a couple of years back? I dread to think how much tickets were here in SF… ah, $32.50, I just googled it. Glad I didn’t bother. I saw it back in 1972 at the British Museum and we queued for hours and hours (when I were a lad, etc, etc). That left some nice walks and the Botanical Gardens. Obviously we partook of these.

You should know by now I am not much of an expert on Botanicals, but even I thought the SF garden was scruffy. They did have quite a few labels and quite a few varieties, but Wendy wasn’t much impressed with their garden maintenance. They did say that there had been a serious drought in California for the last 3 years, but it looked to be that the dearth was more to do with weeding and tidying than watering. One of the first things we came across was the Australia and New Zealand gardens, so it was, in the words of Yogi Berra a bit like deja vu all over again. After a while we retrieved the car and let Jane (my bossy SatNav girl) guide us to Fisherman’s Wharf for some tea.This she did by taking a very exciting route indeed – shades of Steve McQueen (except at 30mph in a Ford Focus rather than 80mph in a Ford Mustang).

Still, it’s been a lovely day with 70 degree temps and I have a definite tan line where my wristwatch was. Tomorrow is forecast to be even warmer. With any luck we’ll be heading out further afield and the crowds will be back at work. Here’s to tomorrow!

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