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26th August 2010

A Freezing City Tour with Tea in the Park, Followed by a Cable Car Ride

    Today we took a hop-on-hop-off tour bus since that would be the easiest way for Dan to see more of the important sights of the city in a short time. The route followed the tour I took when I first arrived in San Francisco over three months ago. However, this bus appeared to have no suspension, and we felt every bump along the road, and San Franciscan roads are very bumpy.
Palace of Fine Arts and Exploratorium
Japanese Tea Garden
    We hopped off at the California Academy of Science in the Golden Gate Park. I didn't mind visiting it again. The aquarium, forest tower and planetarium were within our sights during this visit. Dan had also visited a planetarium in New York, and he said the presentation was identical. I enjoyed the planetarium for the second time, but there was a point when Dan nudged me; apparently I had fallen asleep and the folk behind were giggling at my snoring! Hmmm .... no reflection on the presentation here, but last night's celebration may have been over the top and I reckoned I needed an early night.
    We walked over to the Japanese Tea Garden and in the Japanese tea-house we savoured Genmai-Cha Set tea and Hawaiian Mochi cake amongst the Bonsai trees and water features. Then we were back on the bus, taking in more sights before finally hopping off at Union Square, where we went straight to Macy's Cheesecake Factory to thaw out after the freezing open top trip. The temperature in the city had plummeted over the last few days into the 60s, and the wind chill factor on the open bus was certainly felt by all on the tour.
Sample of Victorian Architecture
Riding the Cable Car down Hyde Street
    After a brief detour to the cable car turning point at Powell, we walked up Nobb Hill to visit Grace Cathedral. Unfortunately it was shut by the time we got there.
    Not deterred, we took a cable car to Hyde Street terminal and walked back to the hotel via Ghiradelli Square. Ghiradelli was an Italian who had emigrated to San Francisco to make his fortune during the gold rush. He failed miserably as a miner, and started to make chocolate instead. Within a few years he had made so much money that he bought the complete block of land where the "chocolate heaven" is.
    We rounded off the evening in a popular and noisy steakhouse. The procedure here was to give your name and seating requirements on entry to the restaurant, and take a seat at the bar until your table was ready; partaking in the liquid refreshments of course. Occasionally a waitress would walk down the length of the noisy bar shouting out for Mr. Jones, or Mr. Smith or what have you, and lead the appropriate people to their table. We sat for a while, before noticing a small, wizened, old fellow doing laps around the bar mumbling something. On the next lap we could just pick out above the noise Mr. Douglas. Still, we got there in the end.
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Uploaded from Francisco Bay Inn, 1501 Lombard Street, San Francisco CA on 30/08/10 at 20:05

Last updated 31.8.2010