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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cable Car.

What is a trip to San Francisco without going on a cable car ride?  It was one of the fun things I did in SF. They say you don't get that touristy feel if you never rode in one.

Apparently, there were many of us who wanted to try it so the waiting line was pretty long. Which didn't bother me really since it was fun even just standing there observing people, and admiring the downtown view. The wait was totally worth it.

Basically, there are 3 cable car lines operating within the city. Two routes from downtown (Union Square) to Fisherman's Wharf, the third route along California St. This was what I took when I went to Fisherman's Wharf. The ticket costs $6 each way. You can purchase tickets or passes from the booth near the station or you could pay cash right on the car. I opted for the second one.

cable car san francisco



The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system. It was actually cool to watch the cable driver operates the braking mechanism, as it goes up and down the hills of San Francisco downtown. The views you get as you ride were pretty amazing. I chose to sit on the side for it's completely open and you see practically everything.



 



This sort of antiquated technology seems pretty interesting to experience especially in these modern times. For once, forget about seatbelts and enjoy something that's slightly unsafe, lol!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fisherman's Wharf.

I love this place. It is so serene and relaxing. This is the Aquatic Park in Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco. It has a nice little strip of beach where young and old alike can frolic to their heart's content. The nicely kept green grass can be a favorite spot for a little tan under the sun. (not that I need it!) I did find a good place to sit while I enjoy the sweeping views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the SF skycrapers from afar and just watch people taking walks along the waterfront.






There is a huge Ghirardelli Square nearby so I decided to go there afterwards and get some sweet little treat for hubby. I got him an Intense Dark Twilight Delight Bar, it's sooo good!


I've never really been a big Starbucks girl, but I thought why not go to one this time and grab a cup of iced coffee of some kind while I continue my nice little walk down the Hyde St. Pier.


 


It was particularly interesting to see those historical ships that were restored beautifully. At the pier, I found a good spot to capture decent shots of the beautiful San Francisco skyline, as well as the widely-known Alcatraz "The Rock" Island. This used to be a federal prison for 29 years. I wish I had more time, I would have loved to take a ferry and join the island tour.

I definitely had a great time on my short 2 day-trip to San Francisco. I enjoy taking pictures and I must say this city has one of the amazing picturesque views I've ever seen.



Alcatraz Island








 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

This must be the most impressive man-made structure I've ever seen. My pictures don't do it justice. As a matter of fact, my shots might be the worst you could ever find, lol! Thanks to the cold and fog that enveloped the area at that time of the day. I couldn't get a good shot of this marvelous piece of architecture. The fog makes the bridge looks like it disappears into the sky. Nevertheless, the bridge still looks stunning in person. It's so much bigger than I've ever imagined. It literally took my breath away. Never seen a bridge as beautiful as this. No wonder it's considered one of the best iconic landmarks in the United States. I felt so lucky to have the chance to see Golden Gate Bridge in person. I wish I were here when they celebrated its 75th anniversary in May. I bet the fireworks and all made it even more majestic and magnificent. Definitely one of the highlights of my San Francisco trip.




Breathtakingly gorgeous!


Miniature model of GGB

One souvenir shot of me with the bridge as background.

Gate Toll Plaza

Monday, June 18, 2012

Union Square: The Ultimate Shopping Hub.

If you love the hustle and bustle of the city, Union Square is the place to be. I find myself orbiting around Union Square just a few hours after my plane landed and getting settled in the hotel. I figured the night was still young and I have a few hours to spare before I need to hit the sack. So why not head to Union Square?

Union Square is a shopper's paradise for all price ranges. There are tons of high-end luxury stores as well as good old bargain busters. There is something for everyone. Even if you're not a shopaholic like you think you are, it's still worth going there just to walk around and check out all the different kinds of retail shops. Plus the view is amazing. I sit down on one of the benches in the plaza and just relax in the midst of those towering buildings. It is also a great place for premium people-watching. There's so much activity going on you wouldn't get bored or feel like you're wasting your time even just sitting there. I didn't do any shopping that day. I just wanted to relax and take it all in. I was so overwhelmed with how beautiful San Francisco downtown is and I just wanted to savor every moment of it. This is definitely a place worth-seeing if you're visiting San Francisco.











Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chinatown.

Not wanting to waste any of my limited time, I immediately started my little San Francisco adventure once I was done at the Embassy. With a map in hand, my intended first stop was Chinatown. It is located just a few blocks north of the Embassy. San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. I was craving for an authentic Chinese food and I thought the better place for that is right where the Chinese community exists. Here you will see the heavily photographed Dragon Gate which was built in 1970, the entrance to Chinatown. You will also find the most ornate Asian architecture in this area. Walking around the colorful streets was such an enjoyable experience on a chilly morning.


   




Like I've said, food was one of the reasons why I went here. I ate in two Chinese restaurants and both times they didn't disappoint. I had one of the best Chinese meals ever. No buffets. I ordered right from the menu. Food was inexpensive but very tasty. Both times I had to ask for additional rice. They've brought out the true glutton in me, lol! Their Thai tea was excellent and it was pretty cheap as compared to the bland mango iced tea at Chili's. Sorry I had to say that, lol! We had dinner at Chili's right after Jeff and Caleb picked me up from the airport. We both ordered mango tea, he liked his but I hated mine, lol! But anyway, that's off topic.


 
Chinatown is not just a home to a bustling Asian community, but obviously geared towards tourists. Here you will find a plethora of little stores selling all kinds of goodies and stuff. The wide array of Chinese merchandise specifically reminded me of our own "Tabo sa Banay" and Carbon market in Cebu. It was really cool. It almost felt like home.









Honestly, I didn't expect California to be very windy and chilly at this time of the year, so I didn't pack any jacket at all. Not even a hoodie. I brought a light blazer for passport picture purposes but even wearing that, I can still feel the chill in my bones. I expect to be on the road all day so I thought I'd better get something like a thick scarf to at least make me feel comfortable. This cute $10.00 dollar black and white scarf caught my eye so I bought it. They actually sell 4 for $20 but I have too many scarves at home and I really don't need to buy more. To complete the look, I "borrowed" one of their trendy white sunglasses off the rack for a quick glam pose, lol! One drawback of traveling alone is that no one can take a picture of you so you'll just have to settle for those not so very nice, quick up-close shots. I had to be real sneaky because I didn't want other people to think I'm one crazy Asian girl, lol!


I definitely had a great time exploring that part of San Francisco. Chinatown is about as San Francisco as you can get so I was really glad I included that in my itinerary.
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