OK, what happened to September? Been a bit busy but I am determined to get the account of this holiday written up for my own sanity even if nobody is crying out for it...
Day 10 - Modesto to San Francisco.
A fairly early start saw us on the Embarcadero at San Francisco by about 0930, with a cruise round the harbour and up to the Golden Gate Bridge timed for 11. So we had plenty of time to explore the delights of Pier 39 - tourist trap and regular meeting place for the local sea lions. Who were of course nearly all off on their holidays as we only saw a handful over the next couple of days. But not having been able to order anything less than the full breakfast buffet at the hotel in Modesto we had made do with a cereal bar and instead devoured an excellent spread from a Pier 39 cafe called Wahoo! Bit of a surf theme, but superb sourdough toast, perfect poached eggs and splendid sausages.
The harbour cruise was just as good as the one we had in San Diego - although with a much lower level of naval activity. Unfortunately the Golden Gate was smothered in fog (as is typical) so we never got a good view of the bridge at all. Circling Alcatraz was enough of a visit for either of us. Many of our fellow travellers went back the next day to do the full tour but it didn't really appeal to us at the time of booking. Having heard their tales I think we might go if we are ever back in town, but I'm not weeping over lost opportunities just now.
After the cruise we picked up our second local guide of the tour for a look around the town proper. Far too many highlights to get a good feel for most of them, but I loved the de Yonge art museum in Golden Gate Park (a fantastic building itself, never mind the contents) and it was great to get a feel for the hills and different areas of town. After a quick pitstop at our hotel (the Hyatt Regency, which was just incredible - definitely the best of the trip) we were back out again for a group meal on Pier 39 - luckily not the same place as breakfast! - and a night tour of the city. Here we got to see a bit more of the variety SF has to offer, including some of the seedier parts of town and also got to take a look from over the water at the night skyline.
Day 11 - San Francisco 2.
Luckily this was a day off with no included excursions as we were, quite frankly, knackered and slept until after 10. We then had a near-disaster when Joan slipped in the shower and hurt her leg. Luckily only really nasty bruising that she didn't let stop her, but I think it was a mere gnat's whisker from a break the way she fell. We had planned to take it easy this day anyway (another reason for not going to Alcatraz) and this definitely ensured that was the case.
So rather than hopping on the cable cars for a thorough exploration of the city, we took a gentle stroll up Market Street for a look in some shops. One of our potential objectives for SF had been to visit the flagship Old Navy store on Market, so that one got ticked off at least. We have shopped in their outlets in Canada and the US on every previous visit so it seemed only fair to see the top of the tree, so to speak. I am sure some would say that we are both too old for their clothes, but we do like some of their t-shirt designs and I have also got some excellent shirts there before. Unfortunately they seem to have moved to skinny fit in the majority of the shirt lines (at least I couldn't find one I liked in regular or "western") which is no good for my wobbly belly. Must try to lose some weight one of these days... After a look in the Westfield centre we wandered back to the hotel for a break, then set off again along the Embarcadero, walking all the way form pier 1 to Fisherman's Wharf where we had a nice dinner before catching the tram/streetcar back again. A very relaxed day all told, even if there was still a lot of walking done!