We Bid A Fond Farewell to San Francisco

We had a final afternoon left in San Francisco before heading home the following morning.  So many options to choose from.  We could rent a bike and cross the Golden Gate Bridge and take the ferry back, or we could go to Chrissy Fields, or explore some of the amazing museums.  We didn’t have time to do everything,  and it is always good to leave things to come back for.  To do a solid tour of San Francisco’s many attractions would take at least a week, and we really only had the 3 nights and 2 days. So what did we do next?  Go for more food of course!   We were hungry after our trip to Alcatraz, so made our way to a famous bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf.

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BOUDIN SOURDOUGH RESTAURANT AND BAR IS A TASTY PLACE TO EAT

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Boudin Bakery is the prime manufacturer of sourdough loaves for a number of the restaurants in town.  They are the original sourdough bakery and all of their food in the restaurant comes with generous helpings of that delicious bread.  The bakery downstairs offers loaves in every shape and size you can imagine.

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THE BAKERY HAS LOTS OF YUMMY SOURDOUGH BREAD FOR SALE

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THE LOAVES COME IN AN ASSORTMENT OF SHAPES … TURTLES, FISH, TEDDY BEARS, ALLIGATORS AND EVEN LOBSTERS

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The upstairs restaurant is priced for tourists, but the portions are very large.  If you want to enjoy a meal but not spend as much, eat in the cafe on the main level beside the bakery.  The food is the same, but the portions are slightly smaller and the price is considerably less.

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CLICK ON THIS PHOTO TO LOOK AT THE MENU FOR THE CAFE AT BOUDIN BAKERY

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After lunch, our waiter said that if we showed our bill, we could walk through the museum and look down on the baking floor for free.  We went through the small museum in about 15 minutes.  It was really neat to see the machines and bakers at work.

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LOOKING DOWN ON THE DOUGH MAKING AREA OF THE FACTORY

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We had walked a fair distance around Alcatraz, but after the meal at Boudin Bakery, it felt like a little more walking would be in order.  We decided to go to Ghiradelli Square to get some chocolate for dessert.  It was a solid 20 minute walk so we were sure that by the time we got there we would have room for a sweet treat.

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THE GHIRADELLI MARKETPLACE HOUSES A HUGE CHOCOLATE STORE.  GHIRADELLI IS THE THIRD LARGEST CHOCOLATE MAKER IN THE U.S.A.

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While we had hoped there might be a chocolate factory to tour like in Roald Dahl’s story, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, all we found was a courtyard filled with shops and fountains and a large retail store.   The store they was offering free samples so we got our chocolate treat.  We also wound up buying a few chocolate bars … a souvenir of our trip.  As we left the shop we were nearly run down by one of the mini motor cars tourists can rent.  They come equipped with a GPS with a built in tour route and a map.  They looked like fun.

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YOU CAN RENT A MINI CAR AND FOLLOW THE TOUR IN THE BUILT-IN GPS SYSTEM

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MINI CARS AREN’T THE ONLY DANGER IN THE AREA, ALTHOUGH THE PODS ON THE TREES WEREN’T QUITE AS BIG AS THEY SHOW ON THE SIGN

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We wandered towards the water to Hyde Pier which has a number of old ships moored by the docks.  These are part of the Maritime Museum exhibit run by the National Parks Service.  It is free to go into the visitor centre and wander beside the boats on the pier.  If you wish to go onto the boats you have to purchase a $10 ticket, and then you can walk up the gang planks and explore the vessels at your leisure.

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APPROACHING THE MARITIME MUSEUM FROM HYDE PIER

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THIS OLD PADDLE WHEELER REMINDED US OF THE BOAT FROM THE FILM AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

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THE HERCULES IS A SHARP LOOKING  TUG BOAT

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YOU CAN ALSO EXPLORE TALL SHIPS WITH HUGE MASTS

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We decided to simply wander up and down the rows of boats from the outside and enjoy the sunny day.  We noticed several of the boats had costumed interpreters that were giving fun talks, and with more time, we likely would have made an afternoon of touring the vessels.  Depending on the tide conditions, some of the smaller boats are only open during high tide as the gang-planks only reach so far.  The visitors centre will be able to tell you what is open, and when.

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We made our way back to our hotel, and cleaned up for our final dinner at the Fog Harbour Fish House.  This is a wonderful place to eat fresh sea food.   Our reservation was for 6:30 which gave us some time to wander along Pier 39 and look at all those fun shops and attractions that include a mirror maze, a 4D interactive movie, a large aquarium and lots of smaller novelty shops.  Pier 39 is also well known for the docks which have become a favourite spot for sea lions to bask in the sun.  They are noisy and playful.

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SEA LIONS BASK IN THE SUN ON PROTECTED FLOATING DOCKS

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THE SEA LIONS PUSH AND PROD ONE ANOTHER FOR THE BEST SPOT ON THE DOCKS

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While we were on the pier, there was a big promotion for the launch of the new Peanuts  movie, and the first star to walk the red carpet was … SNOOPY.

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SNOOPY WALKS THE RED CARPET.  HE SEEMED BIGGER THAN I REMEMBER HIM FROM THE CARTOONS

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This was followed by the kids who do all of the voices in the movie (it is an animated film).  Here’s a slightly blurry shot of the kids doing their interviews with the media.

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CHILD STARS ANSWER MEDIA QUESTIONS AT THE PEANUTS RED CARPET LAUNCH

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As part of the launch, they were giving away free candy floss and the amazing double-decker carousel offered free rides between 5 and 6 PM.  We had to take advantage of this!

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THE DOUBLE-DECKER CAROUSEL ON PIER 39

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There were all of the usual horses and animals to ride, but there were also two spinning tea-cups on the carousel … and we couldn’t resist getting into one of those.

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RIDING THE SPINNING TEA CUP ON THE CAROUSEL BRINGS OUT PETE’S CHILDISH GLEE

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HOW MUCH FASTER IS THIS THING GOING TO GO?

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It was a good thing we did the ride before dinner.  We made our way to our final meal (which was excellent) and thanks to an advance reservation had a seat by the window with  lovely views as the sun set over San Francisco.

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FISHERMAN’S WHARF AT SUNSET

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OUR VIEW OF ALCATRAZ IN THE DISTANCE AS THE SUN SET.

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AFTER DINNER WE WANDERED THE SHOPS AND TOOK IN THE CAROUSEL ALL LIT UP

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We went into magic stores, souvenir shops, and Pete decided to put a coin into this fortune telling machine.

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WHAT DID ZOLTAR PREDICT?

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Zoltar gave Pete a good fortune that included more travel down the road.  Who knows, some day we may return to San Francisco.  We enjoyed our time here, and the food was fantastic.  It had been a great trip … starting in Toronto, flying to Chicago, taking in architecture and art, going on a train odyssey and then spending time in the Golden Gate City.  Where will we go next?  We’re not sure, but wherever we go, we hope you will join us again.  Until next time, we wish you happy travels wherever the road may lead you …

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Fenton & White

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