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San Francisco – hiking through the urban jungle

San Francisco – hiking through the urban jungle

Exploring San Francisco by foot can confidently be called a hike and the term urban jungle is also not really an exaggeration. Indeed, it is really awesome in San Francisco, that everything is reachable by foot, but the fact, that the city is built on a rather uneven terrain makes it a really exhausting matter. I don’t even want to know how much elevation gain and how many stair steps I walked this day. Anyway, it was a very special day. Because it was not just a city, it was god damn San Francisco! Unbelievable to be here. At the Golden Gate Bridge, at Alcatraz, at the Union Square. But let’s take one thing at a time.

The evening, after I visited the house boats in Sausalito, I drove up to the viewpoint on the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. It felt absolutely surreal, seeing the big pillars of the bridge towering out of the sea of clouds, which slowly moved into the bay.

The Golden Gate Bridge, rising out of the clouds in the evening light.

Just later, the darkness rising over the place, the clouds disappeared and revealed the bridge in its full extent.

Later, the clouds finally disappeared.

I spent the night still in Sausalito, got another view on the bridge in the morning and then finally drove over it. What a feeling. With the first car I ever owned I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This is surely not a dream, is it? Being in town on a Sunday, I didn’t have to bother finding a parking place, as there were no fees on a Sunday. The first stop on my city tour was the famous Union Square in the heart of the city. I sat down there for a while and enjoyed the chilly morning temperatures.

A relaxing break at the Union Square, in the middle of the city.

As there was a free Wifi provided I used the time to pay my fee for crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Or at least I tried, but with a Canadian license plate, this didn’t work. Stupid, now I had to go to the customer service office on Monday morning, paying it there in cash. Whatever, don’t let this lower your mood. Let’s go on.

Walking through the street canyons towards downtown.

I went by at the customer service office to check out the parking place situation for the next day and then made my way from downtown to the waterfront.

View from the waterfront on the Oakland Bay Bridge, which is even bigger than the Golden Gate Bridge.

I walked it starting at the Oakland Bridge heading north turned off to get a good view from the Telegraph Hill and returned to it at the famous Pier 39.

The Pier 39 somehow was a bit like a funfair or a theme park.

Masses of tourists were on the two-story pier, shopping in one of the several gift shops, cheering to some street artists or to get a glimpse on the famous island of Alcatraz, which could be seen very good from the far end of the pier.

The world famous prison of Alcatraz, as seen from the end of the Pier 39.

In abundance to that a lot of Californian Sea Lions, chilling in the sun, could be seen next to the pier. It’s obvious that everyone wanted to come here.

Relaxing in the sun just posing for photos. What a life.

Also, in the Fisherman’s Wharf district right next to it, there were a lot of tourists on the streets. This time it didn’t really bother me, as it gave the city its flair of a living town. I relaxed in the sun once more, as I already covered quite a distance and then went up to the Ghirardelli Square, which is well known for its chocolate manufacturing.

The chocolate manufacturer at the Ghirardelli Square.

Getting a free taste sample here and there I got some new energy to get on the next hill. At the slope of this one, you could find a very steep part of the Lombard Street, because of which it was built in narrow serpentines.

View from the highest point of the Lombard Street on some serpentines, that made it possible to drive down the steep slope.

Of course, everybody wanted to see that too, so I quickly escaped the crowds again. As it was almost time for supper, I decided to look for a restaurant in Chinatown. From another hill, that I had to cross, I got once more a fantastic view over downtown, that wasn’t even marked on my map. Surprise, surprise.

Getting a photo that proofs, that I was actually there.

Also, a weird tweeting of birds caught my attention and I spotted some parrot like birds in a tree. There’s even wildlife watching offered in this town!

A parrot-like bird landing on one of the flourishing trees.

Then, in Chinatown, the unfortunate issue happened to me, that I slipped a little bit over a curb and broke one of my flip flops. Walking barefoot through Chinatown, weird glimpses were inevitable.

A little bit like being somewhere in Asia.

As I wanted to go to a restaurant I needed a quick solution for this problem. Not the easiest thing with feet of size 48 in Chinatown. With some too small slippers for six dollars I shortly afterward found myself in a restaurant in one of the side streets. The experience from Southeast Asia helped me to find a cheap but good place. After a good meal, I finally made my way back to my car. Crossing another two hills I arrived there in the end. What a day! San Francisco, with its unique and historic architecture and the unbelievable steep streets, will stay in my mind for a long time. Or should I say in my bones?

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