We Left Our Hearts....and footprints.....all over San Francisco!
Today, Gionna and I took San Francisco by storm! I think writing about what we didn't do would be quicker, but now that wouldn't be much fun.
Nonna & Papa arrived at Uncle Mike & Aunt Nancy's home early to watch Joey. With FOUR adults watching the little guy, I knew he would be in good hands....all eight of them. Gionna & I said our "good-byes" and headed out for a fun filled day in the big city. I don't know what I was more excited about - having a day to spend alone with my favorite girl or visiting San Francisco....ok, definitely spending the day with Gia, but being able to do that in San Francisco - a dream come true!
Gionna and I drove to Pleasant Hill, from there we took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Francisco. Doing this made sense as driving and/or parking in San Francisco would test the patience of a Saint - and since we all know that I'm no saint, well, enough said. Gionna and I arrived in San Francisco in record time - taking the Embarcadero Exit. Anxious to begin on City by the Bay adventure, we decided to walk from the Ferry Terminal to Pier 39. As we passed the various piers we began to question our decision to walk, but the day was very young and one of us was too, so the older person just smiled when the younger person kept asking "are you sure you can walk this far?"
We made it to Pier 39 and the decision was made to have lunch - actually, all I wanted was a chair, whether or not food was involved did not matter to me at that moment. We ordered lunch at Boudin (see pictures) and I searched for a map that had detailed bus routes to the various places we wanted to visit. Walking our way through San Francisco, as wonderful as that sounded, may not be physically possible, but try telling that to a 14 year old. After lunch we stopped by to see the Sea Lions - for those of you not familar with Pier 39, this is one of the main attractions. They have taken up permanent residence and they are extremely entertaining...and loud! (see pictures/video) With a full schedule ahead, we made our way down Fisherman's Wharf - I wish I could describe the sights and sounds to do them justice -the air was cool and crisp and the atmosphere exactly as how I remembered it from my childhood....street vendors, endless seafood, smells from Italian restaurants....it is truly a remarkable city.
Once Gia had her "Starbucks" fix, yes, I had mine too, we pressed on towards the Golden Gate Bridge - Gia has never walked across the bridge and that was going to change today. We could see the bridge from where we were, but it really wasn't in walking distance. Bus stops are not hard to find in San Francisco, however finding the bus that we needed, well, that proved to be a challenge. We kept walking towards the direction of the bridge hoping to find a bus that would take us there. As came to the end of yet another street with a bus stop that did not meet our needs a very nice lady on a bicycle approached us. She introduced herself and commented on how "perplexed" we looked. Really, that obvious?!? I explained our dilemma and being a life long resident of San Francisco, she knew exactly what bus we needed....and we only had to walk seven more blocks to catch this wonderful bus that would take us to the bridge that Gia just HAD to walk across. At this point I was pretty sure we had already walked the length of the bridge just in our quest for the #28 Bus, but this was Gia's day and I just smiled again when she asked "mom, are you sure you're ok"? I thought about asking this nice lady how much she would take for her bicycle, but then, leaving your 14 year old daughter alone in San Francisco might be frowned upon so I opted to walk....a slow walk, but I was still walking.
As I began to lose feeling in my lower legs, the #28 bus stop appeared. It could have been the #972 bus to Tijuana....I was getting on that bus! We paid our fee and sat down in what were the most comfortable seats my back side has ever felt. Ok, not really, they were plastic....and hard....but I was sitting! All too soon we arrived at The Golden Gate Bridge and Gia leaped from her seat and was off the bus before I even began to think about moving. From where we were we had to walk up hill - I was able to do this by stopping every few seconds to take a picture....of anything! Oh look...a seagull.....flowers.....the ocean......Chinese Tourists - if it stood still, I took its picture, and I did this until we arrived at the entrance of the bridge.
We began our walk across the bridge - it was pretty exciting..and very cold and windy. Half way across the bridge, I convinced Gionna that if we turn back now, it would be the same distance as if we walked across the bridge. Amazingly, she agreed and I eagerly anticipated making our way back to the bus stop. Our next destination..."Little Italy" & "China Town".
Once in "Little Italy", I almost couldn't stop myself from smiling. This is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco...the little cafes, the conversations in Italian, the sense that you are in a little street in Roma - oh, you just have to see it for yourself. Gia and I walked up and down the streets of Little Italy just taking it all in. We saw a cute little car with the "Mona Lisa" painted on it and while I stopped to look for my camera two waiters leaned out of the window of their restaurant and began to sing "O Sole Mio" to Gia and me. They sang a few lines and then one of them commented, in Italian, that we looked Italian and invited us to eat. As much as we wanted to, we still had so much we wanted to do - so we smiled and bid them "Arrivederchi".
China Town & In Search of Coit Tower
(or, Why Can't I Feel My Legs)