Day Two: Walk Along Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, Cruise of the Bay, Trolley Ride to Lombard Street and San Francisco's Favorite Show “Beach Blanket Babylon”.

 

Fruit merchants set up their stands for the coming day.

Boats large and small docked off of Pier 39.

If you look closely enough, you can sometimes see sea lions swimming between the boats and basking on the docks.

We got to Pier 39 early and beat the crowds; it was a completely different scene at night!

The famous San Franciscan sea lions. Their barks could be heard for blocks! There had to have been close to 100 sea lions.

 

Pier 39 is not these sea lions' original home; they were moved here after an earthquake.

 

This guy set up his very own “harem.” He carefully guarded this pile of females and wouldn't allow any other sea lions onto “his” raft. He appeared very proud of this accomplishment!

These two males put on a very entertaining performance as they fought for “ownership” of the raft and its pile of females.

This guy is working on his tan!

 

This guy had a really rough night!

Lunchtime at Pier 39.

The children's carousel at Pier 39.

 

The dancing crab statue that welcomes visitors to Pier 39.

Chris prepares to go “Under the Bay” and view San Franciscan, Pacific Coast, sea life at the Aquarium of the Bay.

Chris pets the local Pacific Coast leopard shark.

Nina pets a huge star fish, which felt like sand paper.

A view of Pier 39 from the aquarium.

Next, we took a one hour cruise of the Bay. In this photo, we are passing the Bay Bridge, which spans from San Francisco to Oakland. The bridge is 8 ½ miles long. It's two bridges; a cantilever bridge from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island and a suspension bridge from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco. The massive pier that holds the suspension bridge's mid-span 200 feet above water contains more concrete than the Empire State Building.

Our first glimpse at the infamous former federal prison on Alcatraz Island.

Nina poses for a windy photo.

First glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, which spans the entrance to the Bay, connecting San Francisco to Marin County.

Joseph Strauss designed the 1.2 mile suspension bridge to withstand winds of 100 miles per hour and a sway as great as 27.7 feet at mid-span.

Completed in 1937, with its distinctive orange color and art deco style, it quickly became the number one icon of San Francisco.

 

In May 1987, the 50th anniversary of the bridge was celebrated by closing the entire length to automobile traffic and allowing 800,000 pedestrians to walk across the bridge as they did on opening day in 1937.

Only about 200,000 people crowded onto the bridge before their combined weight caused the arched center span to flatten out completely. A total of 18,000 pedestrians walked across the bridge on opening day in 1937.

 

A view of San Francisco's Coit Tower, Bay Bridge and TransAmerica pyramid.

A view of the piers of San Francisco bay.

Views of the Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island.

 

The skyline of the San Francisco Financial District.

Discovered by Spanish sailors in 1775, the 22-acre island of Alcatraz was originally named Isla de los Alcatraces (Island of the Pelicans).

Alcatraz became a maximum security prison in 1934, housing public enemies like Al “Scarface” Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly.

There were no official escapes from Alcatraz, but several inmates died trying and four disappeared into the icy waters and were never accounted for.

The prison closed in 1963 and in 1969 a group of Native Americans occupied Alcatraz for 19 months claiming the abandoned island as Indian Land.

 
 

Scenic sailboats coast along in front of the San Francisco coastline.

 

Views of San Francisco from the water.

 

Coit Tower, which honors firefighters, and the San Francisco piers.

We stopped for lunch at the famous Boudin Sourdough Factory (although neither one of us had the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl).

We visited the Boudin bakery museum and saw the sourdough bread being made.

Nina was particularly fond of the bread shaped like a crab.

We saw a variety of historic vessels that once sailed on the San Francisco Bay at the Hyde Street Pier.

What a charming little tug boat.

Here comes the trolley! Taking the famous cable cars in San Francisco is a bit of an ordeal as there are always huge lines.

When the cable cars get to the end of the line at the Powell Street or Hyde Street Turntables, they have a very interesting way of turning around. The drivers put on the brakes, hop off the cars and push them around in a circle on a moving disk with a rail in the middle.

Hordes of tourists watch this unique turning process.

 

This unusual turning process gets a bit lost in translation with still photographs.

Chris hangs off the side of the cable car.

The Powell & Hyde Street cable car line stops at the top of Lombard Street.

Lombard Street is known as the crookedest street in San Francisco and has become quite a tourist attraction!

The flower beds, bursting with pink and purple hydrangea, were a sight to see too!

Cars crawl in snail like fashion down Lombard Street.

Chris takes a break from the steep climb up Lombard Street.

A view from the top of Lombard Street, you can see all the way to Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge.

Driving in San Francisco is definitely hazardous, what with all the street cars, cable cars, buses, bikes, pedestrians, blind corners and ridiculously steep hills! Not to mention that cable cars stop to let people on and off in the middle of intersections! I wonder what the driver's test in San Francisco is like!?

We noticed that day or night all of the local modes of transportation in San Francisco are continually packed. Before going to a show, we wandered around the North Beach (Little Italy) area until we found a perfect Italian restaurant complete with an Italian waiter with a giant mustache!

One of the definite highlights of our trip to San Francisco was Steve Silver's spoof of American pop culture and the longest running show in San Francisco, Beach Blanket Babylon, at Club Fugazi in North Beach.

The basic story follows Snow White around the world as she looks for her prince. During her travels, she comes across Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Bush and other political figures; Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand and other actors/singers; and even the Queer Eye for the Straight guys. The show is known for it's outlandish costumes and giant hats, one of which, features tiny model buildings of the entire San Franciscan skyline. It was absolutely hysterical!!!

 

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