Today was an amazing city tour that took in Muir Woods and Sausalito in the morning and then a city tour in the afternoon.

I was picked up early and we made our way over the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods.  I thought that the Golden Gate was so called because it was golden but it actually crosses the Golden Gate Straits.  It is acutally painted International Orange and the myth that they continuously paint it, is just that a myth.  The locals call the the colour International Rust!  Anyway the Muir Woods is a growth of Redwood trees in a steep ravine that was deemed too hard to mill.  A politician bought the land and therefore saved it from being torn down.  In the photos I have uploaded, they look like trees but there isn’t really a scale big enough.  The tallest ones are 90m tall, very impressive.  My neck to sore from constantly looking upwards.  We walked to an area called the Cathedral with about 50 trees all in this one area, again very impressive.  Then back up the very tortuous roads to the Italian town of Sausalito.  We had a lunch break break there (and I had what the bus driver sweared was the best hamburger in the Bay Area, and he had obviously enjoyed his fair share over the years.  Sausalito was a really nice place, much more laid back then Fisherman’s Wharf.  It seems that everyone rides from San Fran, across the GG bridge and then catch the ferry back.  I will be doing that later this week, but I might as well ride back too.  The hills are very steep here, even compared to Wellington!!  After a wander around the marina, we jumped back on the bus and back to Fisherman’s Wharf where after an hour we departed on the city tour.

So I took a wander down the geerish Fisherman’s Wharf and found just what I was looking for, an indie rock artist (not busker) playing in a court yard surrounded by expensive Italian restaurants.  I couldn’t resist and bought his album, its very cool.  The tour then started with a history lesson down Fisherman’s Wharf which was cool.  We then went up to GG bridge again (this was a totally separate tour which you could purchase on it’s own) but this time we stopped and I took the obligatory photo, as you will see.  We looped around over and back across the bridge and then went through the massive (larger than Central park, NY) and we had a stop there and a wander through the botanical gardens.  Being a weekend it was packed, but in a good, well-used way.. lots of kids and locals.  We then went through the main neighbourhoods and saw the steepest st in SF.  We drove to the top of Twin Peaks where you get a 360 deg view of the city.  You also get the wind from all 360 degrees though!!! We went through the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, the hangout of the Flower Power and Free Love movements of the 60’s.  Most of that still remains, seems like Cuba Mall but a million times for ‘cultural’.  We saw the ‘Painted Ladies’ (the last photo on picasa) that were used in Full House if you remember.  The most expensive one is now worth a mind-blowing $14M, for this tiny tiny house in one of the back suburbs!  The average house price is $700,000 (but in Sausalito it’s $1.4M!!).  We then came back down Market Street and past my hotel and up the hill into Chinatown and then back to Fisherman’s Wharf.  So I know where stuff is and if I want decent food, I just need to head up.  The awesome bus driver offered many nice places and plenty of funny stories about historical city icons.

I stopped of at Fisherman’s Wharf wharf (that’s the actual wharf not just the area) where all the seafood places are.  I got a bowl of Shrimp and Crab cocktail (freshly caught it said …. who knows) and chips.  It seems that the big meal there is clam chowder inside a sour dough loaf with the middle ripped out so I will have to try that soon.  The cocktail was divine, nothing like it ;).

I then caught my fist cablecar up and over the hill to Union Square.  A thrilling ride but it was dark so couldn’t take any photos.