We travelled south on the 101 through a couple of small towns and struggled finding places to stay either campsites or hotels as it was the Saturday of Labour Day weekend the last summer holiday weekend for 2009.
In San Fransisco we had wanted to stay in a hotel but because the city i so old all the hotels in the centre have either no parking to speak of or underground parking and we couldn't find anything to take an 8th high vehicle. It turned out not too bad in the end though because the campsite ws just across the Golden Gate bridge in a place called Larkspur nr Sausalito. We took the ferry straight into the centre of the city which was a tour in itself as we passed right by San Quentin prison, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. The first time we went in we just wandered around the Fishermans Wharf area with its cheap sea food stalls/restaurants and gift shops, which although it is a bit on the tacky side is really a must see whilst visiting San Fransisco. We took the bus back which actually drove out over the bridge which was a wonderful sight covered in parts by the well know sea mist that drifts into San Fransisco most days. We got scammed by a black man at the bus stop waiting for the bus. he was smartly dressed and very plausible but Peter is a soft touch for a sob story and gave him a $1 towards his bus fare as did a couple of other people (not tourists) and when he had what he deemed enough he promptly disappeared and never even got on the bus! Good story though, I think I will try it at the Metro stop in Market St, Manchester! One benefit of staying in a neighbourhood and not the city centre is that you can eat where the locals go and Larkspur is quite an upmarket place and we the best Italian meal we have had whilst in the States in a fantastic local restaurant.
The second day we covered all the sights day we took the ferry again and did the open top bus tour hopping on and off at all the sights like Chinatown, Union Square where al the shops are and where they were dancing in the lovely square right in the middle. Some of the dancers were even dressed as gangsters and their molls. We walked up to the top of Lombard Street which is the famous winding street well known from many films. We had to walk as the bus wasn't allowed up there but it wouldn't be able to negotiate the very narrow streets anyway. I wouldn't want to live up there as those lovely houses must have cars and people passing their window at all times of the day and night with people stood outside taking photos.
We caught the bus back again and at one stop just out of the city centre lots of people got on that had been to a rock concert. They all seemed a bit stoned, one guy started talking to anyone who glanced in his direction and never stopped, another guy got into an argument with a passenger already on the bus because he wanted to put something on the overhead shelf and the guy already on the bus said he would squash his DVD's. The guy in the seat behind me kept singing and talking to himself and one woman aged about 55/56 was asking everyone on the bus at the top of her voice if they were going the next day to the concert to commemmerate Jimmy Hendrix and Jefferson airplane being at Woodstock in the 60's. She said the same thing over and over again to everyone who spoke to her. The best thing to do was just to keep your head down and your eyes shut and pretend you were asleep.
In the morning we caught the bus back so that we could get off at the bridge and walk the length of it. When we got on the bus was already quite full and a voice piped up from the back of the bus 'hey you guys are you going to the concert to commemerate Woodstock!!!! We walked the length of the bridge, about a 40 minute walk in glorious sunshine and had fantastic views out to sea and over San Fransisco.