The penultimate day

The last full day of our holiday. It was a relaxing one: a lie in (until 9am), a leisurely morning, then caught a bus to Union Square – downtown San Francisco and the main shopping area. We were suddenly startled by an extremely loud air-raid style siren! Was it an earthquake warning? Fortunately an announcement followed saying it was just a test! Apparently they sound the sirens at 12noon every Tuesday. They serve as a reminder to the locals that they should have provisions stored to provide for themselves for at least 72 hours, in case of earthquake or terrorist attack. 

Mooched about, went to China Town, then visited the Cheesecake Factory at Macy’s, as recommended by Abbi. The place was packed, it was a long wait for a table, so we got a portion each to take out. Sat in Union Square, people watching, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying our cheesecake.  







 We decided to have a ride on one of the famous trams. The queue at the terminal was really long, so we waited just 2 stops further along the route. The tram was quite full when it arrived but we squeezed on. It was brilliant and we stayed on all the way to the bay. I’m quite relieved that we were inside and not hanging on outside! 



  I now know where the expression “stand on the brakes” comes from – watching the driver standing on the brake pedal, his whole weight on it, pulling back on a lever with all his strength as we went down the steep SF hills!  

This evening has been spent packing and finishing off the food and wine, before heading home late tomorrow afternoon. 

The pictures from our half marathon are on the website – found these of us: 


It’s been a fabulous holiday. We’ve done so much, seen so much. Driven nearly 900 miles in the RV exploring the Canyons, then another 2000 miles in the car from Las Vegas to San Francisco. Over 1500 photos to sort out (and a new camera to buy after it got dropped yesterday!) and 90 minutes of video. Highlights? Probably seeing the bears and rattlesnakes, but every bit has been special in it’s own way. It’s been a holiday full of wows! 

And now for the Matthews family tradition – spend the long 10 hour flight home discussing where to go next! 

Alcatraz & Sunset cruise

There had been thick fog overnight and the foghorn was sounding most of the night. Luckily it had cleared by the time we headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf to collect our tickets for Alcatraz, and it looked like it was going to be a hot day. We were booked on the 1pm ferry so had to kill some time. We mooched around Pier 39, very touristsy, but the seals were entertaining. There were loads of spare pontoons but they insisted on squashing onto one or two. A large male did his best to push the others off – the pontoon almost tipped over! There were lovely views of the SF skyline.  


 We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Alcatraz, the audio tour was very informative and interesting. The views across the bay to SF were amazing – you could see the steep streets clearly. For once, the bridge wasn’t shrouded in fog.  


Saw the famous trams on our way back – massive queue to get on though. 

 Our tour included a sunset cruise, so we were back at the wharf again at 7pm to board another, bigger boat. We cruised round the bay  and saw lots of Pelicans diving into the sea.

    We went past Alcatraz and Angel Island, then Belvedere, one of the more affluent areas of the city. The sun was setting behind Sausalito and there was a finger of fog rolling down the hill.  


 A massive container ship was heading for the bridge at the same time as us – it looked like it was too big to go under it!  






We paused before heading back to the wharf- everyone was enjoying the views. It was a lovely evening, a most enjoyable cruise with a free drink and generous buffet. We were so lucky that the weather held out. The foghorn is sounding now though!  


San Francisco

We were tucked up in bed and fast asleep by 8.30 last night. We were so tired after the early start and the half marathon. We left San Jose in glorious sunshine with the thermometer starting to climb. It was just an hour’s drive to San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, where we were dropping off the hire car. As we reached the city limits we could see the band of fog that SF is famous for hanging over the horizon.  

 The satnav got us safely round the city and we set off to walk the short mile to our Airbnb apartment. The route on the map hadn’t shown the hills – another thing SF is famous for! We dragged our cases up the steep streets, passing Lombard Street on the way. 


 Having got to the top of the hill, we turned right onto our street, only to go downhill just as steeply! Reckon we could have found an easier route! The apartment is lovely, quite old with period features,and a view of the Golden Gate Bridge – when it’s not shrouded in fog! 

We had a quick cuppa, then caught a bus to take us over the bridge. The traffic was awful and we were glad we’d got rid of the car. We walked the mile or so back over the bridge. The fog was patchy and there was just a small amount obstructing the views. 


 We walked back along the side of SF Bay, as recommended by Abbi. It was a long way, but we had good views of Alcatraz, saw Pelicans flying past and some pretty houses. A group of tourists on Segways shot past us!  




 A coffee stop, supermarket stop and the final pull uphill got us back to our apartment- another 5.5 mile walk! Pete’s feet are not happy, neither are my thighs after yesterday’s exertions!