We were greeted this morning by yet another brilliant, clear blue sky, although the temperature was significantly lower than it had been for several days. MUNI for once served us well as we boarded a no.5 bus to the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market. Riding a San Francisco cable car, preferably standing in the lead position at the front, is one of my favourite activities, yet this was the first time on this trip that we had boarded one.
The combination of a long line, people pushing in and my desire to nab that lead position meant that we had to wait until the sixth car, a Powell and Mason, before we could leave downtown. Once we disembarked we headed for the Hollywood Cafe on Taylor and North Point for breakfast. I would thoroughly recommend this establishment – the service was outstanding and my Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and shrimp was excellent.
Such a meal may not in retrospect have been the best thing to have done immediately prior to tackling the Greenwich Steps up to Coit Tower, but we managed it, if rather slowly. On such a crystal clear day the views were stunning, so much better than they had been nine years previously when we had last visited the landmark. Following a viewing of the fabulous artisanal murals we took the elevator up to the viewing tower – how does that attendant cope with riding that 7′ by 4′ by 3′ (approximately) tin box all day? It is worth the trip but not if you suffer from claustrophobia.
Having negotiated the Greenwich Steps on the way up to Coit Tower, it was only right to take the even lovelier Filbert Steps down in the heart of Telegraph Hill. We failed to spot or hear the wild parrots (though we did see them on the following day on Lombard Street), but the smells and sights of the flower laden gardens was delightful.
Landing back on earth on Sansome we walked along the street until we reached the Transamerica Pyramid where we entered the mini-Muir Woods that is the Redwood Park. This is a nice spot to rest your weary legs after traipsing the unforgiving streets of the Financial District, although the shade of the trees did render the grove rather dark and chilly.
After resting briefly we walked onto Market where we walked to, firstly the Embarcadero Center and then the Ferry Building. As we were thirsty at this point we dived into the Ferry Building Wine Bar, fortunately part way through the middle of the first innings of the San Diego Padres versus San Francisco Giants baseball game which was being shown on the TV screens.
We, or rather I, needed no invitation to find seats with a full on view of the game that Giants were already winning 3-0 after a Buster Posey two run homer. As we worked our way through a carafe each of Sonoma chardonnay and Anderson Valley rose, Tim Lincecum led the Padres a merry dance, clocking 13 strikeouts in an eventual 8-4 victory for the Giants. No surprise that, but being engaged in conversation at our table by the very winemaker, Eric Sussman, whose wine we were drinking at the time, was an unexpected and interesting experience.
Prising ourselves eventually from the wine bar we caught the F Streetcar from Ferry Plaza back to Fisherman’s Wharf where we waited interminably for a cable car from Hyde Street back to Powell. Fortunately, the no. 21 bus was waiting for us at Market to transport us back to the apartment. Initially, we had planned to eat out, but our weary legs won the argument and it was pizza at home instead.