I was asked once in this blog, why I have not included San Francisco yet in our itinerary. I replied that at that time, we already had other plans.
You know, like in business, we plan ahead. And schedule things. It took us about two years. But this time, San Francisco it is! Nope, not Agusan. But the one in America. 🙂
Okay, I booked our flight through EVA Airways because it was possible for us to leave Davao in the morning and move on to our US flight in the evening. But as the time drew near, I realized that I needed to change our local flight.
We had to leave a day early from Davao because I had to close a real estate transaction in Manila. Lost money over the local ticket plus the one night cost of Remington Hotel but well, that’s nothing compared to the deal I made. So it was fine. And we got to eat again at the Marriott Buffet. ha! You just don’t know how much I look forward to that every time we are in Manila. I love their unlimited supply of prawns and curacha! 🙂
Moving on. Eva Airways boarded on time. But we left late because of NAIA’s runway traffic. The pilot was apologetic about it. But you know, that’s beyond his control. When we finally took off, everybody was ready to leave. Really ready to leave. ha ha. Yep, that long a wait for us that night. The flight from the Philippines to Taiwan was just about 2 hours. And since we got an upgraded seat, it didn’t bother us that much. Oh why we had an upgrade? Our flight got affected when they made a cancellation to one of their trips . So they made sure that in all our bookings , we got the seats we wanted. Of course, not business class. 🙂 But I made sure that the hubby got an aisle seat all the way and back. And we were seated near the front. I do not like sitting in the middle or at the back of the plane. So it was a win-win situation for us.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is very nice. But the restaurants in our Terminal were limited. And they close early. So make sure that you buy your coffee or any drink/food as soon as you get settled.
The trip from Taipei to San Francisco was relaxing. There were bumps along the way but it wasn’t bad. Thank God! The food was just so-so and the movies were limited. So I mostly slept during the flight. And listened to old songs in between.
I have not heard the song “telefone” for a very long time. ha ha.
We arrived at San Francisco International Airport on time. But the immigration line was so long it took us almost 2 hours to get out of the airport. And to my surprise, I wasn’t interviewed anymore. You know with questions like, are you going to work in America Mrs. Walker? 🙂 None of those lines of questioning anymore. The officer just stamped my passport after looking at me. I think the US finally understood that I really, really do not want to live here. ha ha I just want my road trip and my outlet mall fill until we reach mommy’s… That’s my mom-inlaw’s haven , surrounded by colorful trees on autumn and buttercups / wild flowers during spring. My second home.
Normally, we pick up our rental car at the airport upon arrival. But this time, we didn’t. Why? Because parking in San Francisco is expensive. The Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, where we will be staying for 4 days, charges $50 a night. Yes that much!
So I booked us with Super Shuttle through http://www.airportshuttle.com . I paid $34 for both the hubby and I . That comes with 4 luggage and a door to door delivery to our destination. No hassle and stress free. 🙂 I loved it. If you don’t mind sharing a ride with other travelers, then this is the way to go. You don’t want to deal with traffic in San Francisco anyway right? Specially at night!
We finally checked in at the Holiday Inn past 9pm. Tired from the very long trip, it was such a nice surprise to talk to Filipinos at the counter who were very accommodating. Thank you very much for the assistance. 🙂
After a late dinner at Denny’s (just at the corner of the hotel), we retired to our room.
On our second day, we started late. We figured that we will just be on the tour bus , anyway. So there’s no need to rush. When we got ready, we walked to the corner of the hotel where the bus stop is. And waited for Big Bus Tour to pick us up. I made an advance 2 day booking for us. So I just showed the voucher and the driver gave us 2 small earphones. By the way, this is why I booked us at Holiday Inn because the hop on – hop off bus stop is just around the corner. That’s a lot of time and money saved in moving from one place to the other. Plus of course, we can just walk towards the Fisherman’s Wharf which is my main reason for this SFO trip.
Big Bus Tour ( (https://www.bigbustours.com/en/san-francisco/san-francisco-bus-tours/) arrived on time. 🙂 And off we went to the touristy stuff called City Tour.
Okay so ’nuff talk. Time to look at pictures. 🙂
Trivia – the tip of the dome is made of gold. Yes, pure gold. 🙂
Called PAINTED LADIES , these Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings are part of the bus tour. Built between 1849 to 1915, the colors were considered loud back then. But they’ve remained so beautiful until the present.
The Haight – Ashbury is the part of the tour that refers to both streets (Haight and Ashbury) and their hippie culture.
Imagine the stories behind this wall…
The Tenderloin. No one really knows why this portion of the City is called as such. But the nicest story among them all is that – a cop supposedly bought tenderloin for the people living here. The buildings in this neighborhood are rented to the poor. From what I understand, it costs $1000 per month. Geee.. that’s P50,000.00 in our country. A lot of money, just for rent. And according to the tour guide, each floor has 1 toilet/bathroom shared by all the tenants.
Yes guys, not all Americans are rich! Look at the homeless people below… Some of them sleep on the street. 😦
We passed by the Golden Gate Park. But I will go back to that later on.
There were other stops too but well, we weren’t really interested in them. So we just continued to ride in the bus until we reached the Golden Gate Bridge. Okay, we were wearing a wind breaker because it does not breathe. It keeps us warm when it’s cold. Plus I was wearing 3 layers of clothing. But I’d say, we weren’t prepared as to how cold the Golden Gate Bridge is when you’re on top of the bus! Cold is fine. Without wind. But when both are present, I froze. Took me a little while to recover. It’s a good thing the sun was out that day. It helped when we finally left the bus and took a walk beside the bridge.
From here, we hopped on to another bus and moved on. This time, our destination is the Fisherman’s Wharf. If you look at the map, FW is the No. 1 stop. The second stop is our hotel, so we’re basically just neighbors. We just had to walk about 10mins or so and we’re back where we started this morning. If you want to be nearer, book at the Sheraton Hotel. The wharf is just right across Sheraton. 🙂
Finally we arrived at the main reason of our San Francisco trip. Pier 39 and the Sea Lions. 🙂
A few steps away from Pier 39’s main entrance, past the restaurants and souvenir stores, are these noisy sea lions. They took residence here after the 1989 earthquake. And never left. They sound very loud and cute. ha ha. I just never expected that they are THAT NOISY. 🙂
I love them. And the fact that they are protected by the government. It is against the law to feed , harass or handle them.
The Alcatraz. Reminds me of The Rock and Sean Connery.
Beautiful day to go sailing huh?!
He looks cute when he smiles. He doesn’t believe me. ha ha.. What do you think?
Our second day ended here. We just had dinner nearby and walked back towards our hotel.
We started early on our third day. Had breakfast at the hotel before walking to the corner again to wait for the bus. The driver did not ask for the voucher anymore. But asked us if we have earphones already. When we said yes, he told us to find a seat. This time, we decided to just sit inside the bus. Both of us didn’t want to freeze again. 🙂
The earphones by the way are for listening to the Tour Guide. He is on top of the bus and the wind is noisy. Hence, he talks to the tourists via the earphones.
I just took this picture from the bottom. Sorry, did not want to walk up there. Then walk back down. Maybe next time. 🙂
We reached the Golden Gate Park after fighting SFO’s traffic. The bus stop is infront of the California Academy of Sciences. You can visit this place but the entrance fee is $38 per person. That day, it was filled with students. So we didn’t go inside anymore.
Across the street, the huge building infront of C.A.S. is De Young Museum.
I got sidetracked though with the Cherry Blossoms in bloom. ha ha.
Past De Young Museum is the Japanese Tea Garden.
After the Japanese Tea Garden, we continued strolling at the park.
And found some more cherry blossoms. 🙂 You know, I have always wanted to see them for years now. But other than going to Japan or Washington, D.C. on April I thought that there was no other chance to see them. Boy, was I wrong!
The Rose Garden hasn’t bloomed yet. But that’s okay. We have roses in the Philippines. 🙂
There are huge trees beside the rose garden. We saw some joggers use a trail there.
Found these beautiful flowers nearby.
As we continued, our walk brought us to STOW LAKE. This is a man made lake in the middle of the Golden Gate Park. Imagine a sand dune area from a long time ago. The people behind this were told that it cannot be done. But you know, Americans. They study and they implement. Hence, this very beautiful park in the middle of the city. Amazing right? If you were there, you would feel the same way I’m sure.
They have boat rentals here with the following rates:
Row Boats – $21.50/hour
Pedal Boats – $27.00/hour
Electric Boats – $37.00/hour
4-6 Passenger Pedal Boats – $37.00/hour
Strolling along the park will reward a nature lover with different emotions. The geese, ducks and birds are beautiful.
Sometimes you get lucky and will be able to get pictures of them together. Plus a nosy turtle. ha ha
So I just sat down there and watch them all. Honestly, I envy the Americans and feel sad for some of them at the same time. The whole country is very beautiful. I am not referring to just one state, but all 50 of them. With their busy schedule, not many get to enjoy the beauty that are there for the taking. I’ve met people who work 2 or 3 jobs because living in the city is expensive. So there’s no time anymore to enjoy nature and the parks. But I envy them because if and when they want to, they have these places to go to.
I dream that someday, the Filipinos will also have free parks that has lakes, wildlife and trees to enjoy and be awed with.
As we continued… found these ducks near the bridge.
The lake opened up further along.
And this raccoon.
Look at the birds.. They come when there’s water.
How would you like to just sit there and take it all in?
I know I was amazed.
Past Stow Lake is the San Francisco Botanical Garden. There are supposedly 2 million plants here. So if you like to garden, you just might like this too. Honestly though, I loved Stow Lake more than this place.
The entrance fee here is $7 per person.
African plants. 🙂
Squirrel enjoying the place. 🙂
Small pond with blooming cherry blossom again.
So beautiful… I love the green and the pink background. I called his attention and surprised him with a shot. ha ha Another memory that we will look back to when we get older. 🙂
Strong wind blew. And the water fountain almost got me here. ha ha
Thanks to the hubby for this picture.
And this… 🙂 And the rest of my photos in this entry.
By the way, is this a different breed of Cherry Blossoms?
So this is how we spent our 3rd day. Kinda boring I guess. But I so loved it… 🙂
Our 4th day is when we will leave for Yosemite National Park. Please come back and travel with us. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!
Lea C. Walker