San Francisco

We decided to follow the advice we received from our good friends, Ken and Faye, and take the train into San Francisco instead of driving.  We had a few options on where to board the train, Gilroy, Morgan Hill or San Martin.  A quick check of the CalTrain website and we determined San Martin to be the best spot.  We were up early this morning and arrived at the train depot in San Martin just before 7 am.  Free parking at the station too!  My debit card worked very well in the ticket vending machine and we bought two Zone 6 to Zone 1, return tickets for $45.00.  Our train arrived on time and we were on our way at 7:15 am.  The train ride was two hours each way.
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We arrived at the downtown CalTrain station shortly after 9 am and were busy looking at a tourist map of downtown while still on the station platform, when we were approached by a well dressed gentleman, about my age.  His name was Hilton, and he was an off duty bus driver who offered to plot out some of the interesting sites for us to see on our map.  He was very easy to talk to and after about 10 minutes of map viewing, he even offered to walk with us for the first half hour of our visit.  He had an interview to attend that was on the way.  Hilton was a wealth of information and had been driving buses in San Francisco for the last ten years. We learned all sorts of trivia about the city and the buildings and sites we saw.  We parted company at Union Square after almost 70 minutes, but not before I insisted he take a little something for his troubles. 
We had coffee and a treat at a Starbucks opposite the entrance to Chinatown and then walked the length of Chinatown.  Chris guided us along the streets.  She had been here before and had a good idea on which way to go.  We were walking up one of the steeper streets in Nob Hill, when we saw a fire truck parked across the road further up the hill.  We kept going toward it, huffing and puffing as we went.  Turns out we walked right into a film crew shooting the 13th and last episode of the TV series, Trauma, which we don’t watch by the way.  We waited around for a bit but things were on hold, so we decided to keep going. We learned that the series was not being renewed either.
We continued up and down the steep streets and sidewalks until we arrived at Lombard Street, also known as the world’s “crookedest” street.  We continued on down to the waterfront and had a great view of the bay and Alcatraz, off in the distance.  The day was fabulous, with clear blue sky, 70F and virtually unlimited visibility. Apparently a rare occurrence in San Francisco.  We arrived on the waterfront at pier 45 and had a great view of the Golden Gate bridge.  We continued along, all the way down to pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf where we both enjoyed a clam chowder, sourdough bread bowl for lunch.  The sight of thousands of seal lions basking in the sun at pier 39 was something to behold.  They were funny to watch as they crawled over each other, jostling for the best possible position on the floating docks.
We started heading back for the train station around 3 pm and hopped on one of the Powell and Market  Street cable cars.  It was certainly easier and much more relaxing to ride up that steep hill instead of walking up it.  We were both getting a little tired by this time of the day and our feet were getting a little tender as well.  We found our way back to 4th street and began walking back to the train station.  Our train wouldn’t get us back to San Martin until after 7 pm, so we stopped in at a grocery deli store for a bit of supper along the way.  Our train departed just before 5 pm and  we enjoyed a quiet ride back.  Most of it was in the dark as the sun set rather quickly after we boarded.
We did not see everything we wanted to see but did have a great day.  Our initial intent was to drive PP over the Golden Gate bridge after we left TT Morgan Hill but a train ride and walking tour was a  much better  option.  There is simply too much to see and do in San Francisco in just one day.  We know we will be coming back to see more of this fabulous city.  
One technical note…..I did up this blog entry in Windows Live Writer as I find it much more versatile and feature rich than Blogger itself.  Live Writer is a free download and enables blog entries to be done off line, something Blogger does not let you do.  This way, I can do up my entry anytime and simply upload it  once  online.  The photo thumb nails were made possible via one of the many free, third party plug ins available on the internet.