After my adventure to the beach and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge packed in fog, it was time to sleep off the impressions of my first excursion. The second day started with what I considered a typical Californian breakfast: Devouring a massive Breakfast burrito at El Super Burrito around the corner from where I stayed. Lots of delicious goodies packed into a tortilla served with free chips and salsa at 9am – mhmmm, a taste I could get used to every day!
From here, my morning stroll took me to Union Square. Union Square in San Francisco is a bit different than in New York. It does have a small park and statues and it’s a center point for commerce and stores (similar to New York). It reminded me more of the Bryant Park area, though, since there were so many more tourists in San Fran at this city center. Another difference: Seeing this man walk around in a vintage uniform while checking his smartphone. Priceless!
It is here where a lot of cable cars diverge and run through, which certainly caught my attention. My three-day-ticket included unlimited cable car rides, and therefore I was all about finally trying out this touristy type of transportation. I therefore walked down to Powell Street in order to catch it from its starting point. Grave mistake! Even though it was September and off-season (tourist season is typically from July-August), the line was still pretty long and I was in no mood to be a part of that hype. I then noticed that the cable car was not entirely jampacked with people (unlike the subway here), so I observed a bit and noticed that it still kept some room for the stations to follow. A lightbulb appeared above my head as I walked two short blocks up and caught the next cable car in the station. I guess this would be one way to evade the horrifying lines that form during some months in the year.
I stood at the back of the car and got to see how the operator worked. I also got to take a few neat pictures, all serving as a nice souvenir of my solo-adventure. There are two cable-car lines: The Powell-Hyde and the Powell-Mason-line. One is diagonal, while the other runs horizontal. But that’s perhaps a pretty general explanation of both lines, so you should read more about them here.
The last stop on the cable car running on the Powell-Mason-line was Bay street close to Fisherman’s Wharf. From here, I wandered past the endless stands featuring cooked and also alive seafood, such as lobsters, shrimp, oysters and who-knows-what. Fisherman’s Wharf is known for many other attractions and one of them was when I discovered an old-school-warehouse featuring old gadgets, plays, and a 50ies-style Polaroid machine. It was here that I started my photo project, which I ran throughout all three cities: Taking 4 pictures of myself inside the Polaroid machine and then taking a picture of the Polaroid in front of a famous backdrop. On that day, I chose the pier as my backdrop. Not bad, eh?
I continued to walk around and even got to see Alcatraz from afar. I didn’t know that you had to get tickets in advance (as much as two weeks in advance), so I was a bit disappointed at not being able to squeeze it into my short visit. However, it was a beautiful day outside and even the seals were bathing in the sun so I had a good walk overall close to the water. Some people were playing with a bubble-machine, making for an even more magical setting.
Afterwards, I took another cable-car and strolled through Chinatown until I made it to the Ferry Building Marketplace. This is close to another one of San Francisco’s beautiful bridges: the Bay Bridge. The Ferrymarket has a lot of merchants inside and is sort of an indoor market, just fancier than it sounds. It also houses restaurants and bars and must be a go-to-attraction for happy hour and weekends crowds. A lot of office buildings are around it, so it’s in a rather official area during the week.
Lastly, I decided to give the Golden Gate Bridge another go. This time the plan was to walk over it and then be on the other side by sunset. My grand plan was to get some candids from Sausalito while also experiencing it sway softly from side to side when on it…
Uhm, did you already hear me curse about public transportation or rush hour in general in this clustered city? If not, you can imagine my mood on that day. I took the 30 bus to Laguna. Instead of the projected 30 minutes, it took at total of 1 ½ hours. Yes, there goes my romantic sunset stroll over the bridge. I therefore had no choice as to walk the few meters over to Fort Point, still on San Francisco side. Behind me I could hear an Austrian couple complain about public transport in the same passionate way I felt about it. I guess we as Europeans are used to a more orderly and efficient system so our plans were completely thrown off track.
It was all part of the adventure and I therefore decided to stay put and on my side of the bridge. Lucky me, because I met two pals standing around, trying to get the perfect shot. They were two friends who had recently reconnected in this city and now they were armed with tripods in order to get a great night photograph of the exact same thing I was trying to snap. Needless to say, we started talking about different exposures, the right lighting, and other great subjects. And actually we are still in touch to this date thanks to Social Media and Co, after I added them on Facebook.
I also took this lovely photo of the magical bridge, which was always cloaked in fog whenever I tried to snap it. Oh Golden Gate Bridge, our love-hate-relationship continues! However, this one is a true beauty and shows me that somewhere somehow the bridge was showing me some love that night. What do you think?