What do you do when you have a 9 hour layover in San Francisco? If you are thinking of staying in the airport and relaxing, then you probably won’t want to travel with me. But if you are thinking of renting a mini van and venturing out into the city, then you probably would really enjoy traveling with me!
*To clarify, we did not request the mini van, but when Enterprise says that’s all they have left and that you won’t have to fill the gas tank before you return, then you take it!
**Also, to those who follow my blog, I am SO sorry you’ve had to wait so long for an update from me. A couple years ago I was hired as a 6th grade teacher, and this was just put on the back burner. Traveling, fortunately, has not been put on the back burner! Posts on Panama, Colorado, Wisconsin, and more to come!
First of all, let’s talk about the driving in San Fran. There were lots of vehicles, but nothing too crazy. Everyone was relatively patient with the traffic, which is always such a relief. (Wacko drivers weaving in and out of traffic trying to get in front of everyone can be quite annoying and stressful.) The only crazy thing we encountered was the steep roads. I feel like steep is an extreme understatement. Imagine you are driving up a hill, but all you can see is the sky and NOTHING out in front of you. Or imagine you are walking up a hill and falling face first into the sidewalk, only it just feels like you are falling into a wall because it is just that steep. Regardless of how many scenarios I tell you to imagine, you really won’t understand the steepness of San Francisco roads until you see it for yourself… So go there. NOW.
Our first stop was Fisherman’s Wharf. This may be your #1 tourist trap in the city. Lots of shopping! Lots of food! Lots of people! Oh, and lots of seagulls. We didn’t have lunch yet, so needless to say we were both a little hangry (which means angry because of how hungry you are). These little sidewalk stands seemed pretty popular, so we stopped at one, The Crab Shack. I got calamari and fries. Alyssa got a crab & shrimp cocktail. (Fyi if is __ cocktail, then that means it is cold, so we were not too impressed.) We sat at some benches to eat, and there were lots of seagulls. Well there were lots of seagulls everywhere we went in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, so they were not that easy to ignore. From a young age, I have had the fear of seagulls instilled in me by my Aunt Barb. I vaguely remember her always saying, “Seagulls are the devil.” (She probably didn’t actually say that, but she was not a fan. At all. And she made sure to make me think the same.) I was never, ever allowed to feed seagulls like I saw all the other “idiot” parents let their kids do. I believe my aunt was also attacked by a larger bird (goose or turkey or something), and after hearing that story I have always been afraid of larger birds flying at my face… Which is exactly what happened shortly after we sat down for our lunch today. People were dropping food, and the seagulls would bolt to be the first to get it. I’m not exactly sure what prompted the devil seagull to launch at me, because I am 100% sure I did not drop a single crumb. But needless to say, he was heading straight for me! Wings flapping all around. I’m screaming. People are laughing, as I’m sure you are now, but it was not funny! Terrifying.
Thankfully I survived to head up to Lombard Street. Lombard Street is the crookedest street in America. Whatever prompted these men to build this street 100 years (approximately) ago is beyond me, but it looks pretty cool! I was not brave enough to drive down in. Lord knows the walk to it was more than enough for me.
Next, we headed to Coit Tower. I am a big fan of going to the highest point in a city to get a full view of the city and the surrounding area. We drove the circling road up to the tower until we got to the parking lot. We were lucky to get a spot! One detail I was unaware of was that you had to pay $8 per person to go up the 13 stories in an elevator. I just thought it was public tower where you can climb the stairs to the top, check it out, and leave. It was VERY windy at the top! There were windows that were all closed, so that helped a little. There are workers up there that will open the windows for you to take a picture if you like. Very cool place, but it was so foggy in the bay that we were not able to see the Golden Gate Bridge. In the elevator on our way down, a lady said that they were just in a boat right underneath the bridge and they couldn’t see it. So that changed our plans for the afternoon.
Since we had a change of plans, we were able to go see the Painted Ladies, famously known as the houses in the opening credits of Full House. (Note: the actual house the Tanner family lived in is not included in the Painted Ladies. They lived in a white house with a red door on the right side, which we unfortunately were not able to locate on this trip.) As a child who religiously sat in front of the TV after getting off the bus and watching DJ, Stephanie, & Michelle grow up all those years, I was rather excited to visit this site, and it brought back lots of memories. And no surprise to anyone, I am now a fan of Fuller House.
With a short delay flying into San Fran earlier, we were running out of time and getting close to our deadline to head back to the airport, so we enjoyed our last drive on the steep (still an extreme understatement) roads and got on the 101 back to SFO. When we dropped off our mini van, the lady said that we actually saw a lot in the short amount of time that we had. The only things we didn’t get to do that we wanted was visit Alcatraz (not enough time and I didn’t book far enough in advance) and the Golden Gate Bridge (fog)… Next time!
For the rest of the evening, we enjoyed the complimentary SFO wifi and hung out before our dream vacation to Kiwi Nation!
Thank you, San Fran! We’ll be back! 🙂