At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hello San Francisco!

We've been wanting to visit San Francisco for a long time. In fact, even before I met Ruth I've been wanting to visit. The closest I came was way back in 1988 when I went to a conference in San Jose, only a few miles south of the Bay. But I flew into San Jose airport at the time, and never did see the city of San Francisco itself.

But we're here now, and we're pretty excited. We don't think five days is enough!

We left Seattle Tuesday morning. Typical weather for that city...it was overcast and spitting rain. We enjoyed our time in Seattle, but have to admit that the weather forecast in San Francisco had us looking forward to the change. The whole week is now supposed to be around 70F (21C), and sunny with cloudy breaks. Nothing wrong with that!

We have liftoff over Seattle.

But things were looking a lot more blue by the time we got close to San Francisco!

First time flying with Virgin America. I have to say Mr. Branson, the experience was uninspiring. The girl who checked us in never smiled once, and although we enjoyed the extra room in the half empty airplane, the flight itself was just average. The flight attendant doing the dance down the aisle as he was checking for seatbelts was kind of fun though! As I said, just an average flight. For some reason I was expecting more from Virgin America.

Off the plane in San Francisco, and we quickly found our way to San Francisco's BART rail transit system. It cost $8.65 ($9.95 CAN) for the train from the airport to downtown. Seems to be a pretty efficient system, and we have to say that both Seattle and San Francisco airports have impressed us compared to some other American airports we've been in. (Houston!)

On the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train from the airport to downtown.

We got off the train right in the middle of downtown and had to transfer to a bus. Simple procedure, and we made it to our hotel at 1:10pm.

Now, that's really pretty good, don't you think?

We walked out the front door of our couchsurfing host's place in Seattle at 6:45am and using all public transportation we went to Seattle airport, flew 600 miles( 1,000 kms) to San Francisco airport, took public transportation again, and arrived at our hotel just over 6 hours later. I think that's pretty good!

Ruth, at the entrance to the San Remo Hotel.

We're staying at the historic San Remo Hotel, built just after the great earthquake of 1906. This hotel has a lot of character, and we can't wait to tell you more about it!

Among other things, it's about location, right? We're right in the thick of it...

We are only a short walk from Fisherman's Wharf.

And there's the famous Alcatraz Island. We have tickets to go there on Thursday!

Our first view of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Hey, the bay area has more than one nice looking bridge.

I thought this was a kind of a neat shot of a container ship and a cruise ship crossing paths near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Looking back towards downtown from Pier 39.

Of course we had to watch the sea lions at Pier 39.

Why do they all crowd onto one raft when there are so many empty ones?

We weren't the only ones watching.

Wow. We're going to have a great five days here. This is probably the best time of the year for visiting San Francisco. It's low season for tourism, and the weather is perfect. We hope you'll read along with us for the next few days....we've got a lot planned!

Can anybody tell us what this building is...?


34 comments:

  1. Love the pictures and adventures, Thank you!

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  2. Two words .... Dim Sum.

    This is the best place for Dim Sum in SF that I have been to. A little on the expensive side but such a great food experience.... So many great things in SF. Have FUN!!!

    Yank Sing
    49 Stevenson St
    San Francisco, CA 94105

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion Monica and Kent. We will keep our eyes open and might just give them a try if we are able to find products that are gluten free.

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  3. Mark Hopkins hotel. Went to school just across from there.

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    1. Thank you Andrew! We always like to try and have a name for the buildings that we take pictures of. We might just have to peak into this hotel, it looks like a beautiful building.

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    2. Yes by all means. Fantastic gilded age representation of Gold Rush era San Francisco. There is a slightly tacky bar up top but great views. Directly across the street is the Fairmont Hotel which was used in the filming of the television show 'Hotel'. Directly across from that is the Pacific Union Club - a bastion of old money San Francisco. Very private but see if you can sneak a look inside. Stunning. Next to that is Grace Cathedral which is also incredible, and accessible and free!

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    3. Thank you for all that info Andrew, you have now definitely convinced us that we have to go and check out the hotel and the area around it, thanks so much!

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  4. San Fran rocks! We would go there anytime.

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  5. Took my daughter to SF, CA every year for five years and we still haven't visited or seen everything. Now we go up and down the coast from Alaska to San Diego....love the west coast although the New England coast is my second best.

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    1. I believe you Rita! I know that we will only have touched the surface in the 5 days that we will be here. It is a very interesting city. We can understand why you love the west coast, there is so much beautiful scenery here.

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  6. I absolutely love San Francisco, was there for a week about 2 years ago, in December, super nice weather! Did you buy a CityPass? The most memorable parts for us were the free tea tasting in China Town, and the observatory atop the DeYoung museum. At that time there were some terrific deals on Groupon for San Fran. Didn't have time for Dim Sum, had to do that in Victoria BC Chinatown. Can't wait for your pics!!

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    1. We do have the CityPass and what is nice about i, is that it includes unlimited cable cars, street cars and the city buses for 7 days.

      We will have to remember to check out the observatory in the DeYoung museum. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  7. A hotel? This really must be a holiday for you guys! Joking of course, enjoy San Fran!

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    1. Wait until we do our write up on the hotel, it is a pretty cool spot.

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  8. Happy to see you in one of our favorite cities in the world. Fortunately for us, we have friends and family there so pass through a couple of times a year. Never get bored with it. Keep on enjoying life!!

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    1. Lucky you! We can see why you would stop through here a couple times a year. It makes us think of New York and that it would take a long time to check out the whole city.

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  9. San Fran is on our bucket list as well...I'll date myself and admit I've wanted to go since the 60s! Great pics and perfect weather for sightseeing...it's been a super day here in Edinburgh as well. :)

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    1. You definitely need to make the effort to visit. It is like New York a do not miss city. We are really enjoying ourselves here.

      Glad the weather is cooperating for you in Edinburgh, again another pretty and interesting city.

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  10. What a great picture of the seagull with Alcatraz in the background. I have only visited SF once and really liked it but never got to visit Alcatraz - something I would like to do if I ever go back. Have fun!

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    1. Visiting Alcatraz has always been on both of our "bucket lists" not that we really have a list but we do in our minds, lol! We are heading out there is morning so it should be and interesting post tomorrow!

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  11. Have many great memories of SF. If we were loaded, we'd keep a house there. Too bad we aren't rich and just get to tour the city every once in a while. :c(

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    1. Yep, we have been hearing about the prices of places here, certainly none of them are in our price range either. It's a great city to visit though!

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  12. We love San Fran. What a great city with so much to see and do. Don't miss Little Italy.
    Awesome photo of Pier 39.

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    1. Thanks Paul and Marsha! We will try not to miss Little Italy but we sure are running out of time. There is just way to much to see here, guess we will just have to return again! :-)

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  13. Visit Palisades Park and walk across the Golden Gate bridge. Take a walk up Coit Tower to take some cool pics of the city and visit Neptune Society Columbarium, neat architecture and some history of cremation. I lived in SFO in 1980 (boy that was a long time ago), 2275 Sutter Street with a funeral home on each corner.

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    1. Thanks for the ideas Chris. We have already walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and we want to walk up to Coit Tower. Have check out where Palisades Park is as well as the Neptune Society. We will try to get to these places but we are quickly running out of time.

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  14. Such a beautiful place, been there once and never seen a city so full of enchantment.Ejoy.

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    1. We totally agree with you, it is an amazing city and full of things to see and do. Hope you can make it back here again some day.

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  15. If you desire more excitement from Mr. Branson, book Virgin Galactic next time :)

    I believe sea lions huddle together to stay warm, as well as appear larger to any potential predators.

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    1. I think we are a bit late for Virgin Galactic, thankfully!

      Thanks for the info on the sea lions. What you have said sure makes sense.

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  16. The building in question is the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel. I noticed it was also in that skyline pic you took from Pier 39, so I tilted Google Earth to match the same skyline, then simply zoomed in and untilted to identify it.

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    1. Kevin keeps saying you are one smart guy! How cool the way you figured that out. I tried googling a couple of different things but that didn't help me much. Andrew was also full of information in his comment above, as well. We knew at least one or two people would be able to help us out.

      Sure hope we are able to meet up with you this winter.

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