Upon arrival at the Golden Gate Hotel, I was greeted by the owners, John and Renate, and their dog, Cookie…
I was then checked in and shown into their gorgeous 100-year old historic birdcage elevator…
… and then into a lovely room.
After getting settled, I headed down to the parlor to enjoy their afternoon tea service…
… where I met ‘staff’ members, Pip…
… and Patsy.
The next morning, I started my exploration of San Francisco by trekking to the Ferry Building where I came across some friends waiting in a nearby restaurant for their ferry.
Inside, they had an incredible farmer’s market and many interesting shops.
I decided to board a ferry for a day-trip in sunny Sausalito.
The next morning, I rode the iconic cable car…
to Fisherman’s Wharf for I was told you can’t leave San Francisco without visiting Boudin…
… and trying their famous breadbowl clam chowder.
After being warmed by the chowder, I was ready to travel further west towards the Golden Gate Bridge (where I was warned it is usually colder and windier). Along the way, I stopped at the Aquatic Park pier for a quick glance at Alcatraz (sadly, I could not get a tour ticket as they sell out weeks ahead of time).
Fortunately, it was still clear and sunny as I approached Crissy Field and walked up Torpedo Wharf for an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
At the end of the wharf, you get a great panoramic view! (Alcatraz on the very left, city skyline center-left, the Presidio center-right, Crissy Field on the right; click picture to enlarge)
On the way back to the hotel, I decided to make a stopover at the infamously curvy Lombard Street…
and the famous Castro district.
The next morning, I decided that having been to all the popular tourist destinations, I would try to find some less touristy and more local hidden gems. After speaking with the hotel staff and some locals on the street, I found out about some interesting walks.
Lover’s Lane used to connect the Spanish presidio to the mission, but was later used by US soldiers to visit their lovers and families away from the barracks. Guess who I saw also going for a walk?
Parallel to Lover’s Lane is an interesting piece of art. Wood Line is one of Andy Goldsworthy’s famous natural sculptures around the world.
Off of another tip, I explored Diamond Height’s Billy Goat Hill. Along with amazing views of the city, there is a hidden rope swing that swings brave riders over the hillside looking down on steep hiking trails. It was a little too death defying for me…
… so I just enjoyed the view of San Francisco’s skyline.
I had heard rumors of not-so-secret fairy doors popping up around Golden Gate Park. After a bit of off-the-beaten-path meandering, I found it!
Featured on the cover of Adah Bakalinsky’s Stairway Walks in San Francisco, the Moraga Mosaic Steps made for a unique hike.
I made one last hike to the top of Twin Peaks. Among the tallest of San Francisco’s many hills, Twin Peaks offers yet more amazing views of the city below.
(panoramic, click to enlarge)
Looking atop Twin Peaks, I saw the Sutro Tower and San Francisco’s infamous fog! Who knew that the fog has a name and is actually a local celebrity?
On my last night in town, I decided to go for a walk along the Embarcadero waterfront. As the sun set and the sky darkened, I was surprised by the world’s largest light sculpture, artist Leo Villareal’s The Bay Lights.
With the Bay Bridge twinkling behind me, I headed towards my last San Francisco destination, Ghirardelli Square.
What better way to end the trip than with a world famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Sundae?
On the morning of checkout, Pip, the hotel manager was there to see me off.
As I was being driven to the next host inn I realized … the song had come true. I left my heart in San Francisco!
Goodbye San Francisco! Until I return!”
In the diary, we found Red’s travel log. Click to enlarge.