We spent three days in San Francisco, one of which we spent on the coast to Carmel, via Monterey, on our tour of California and West Parks.
A multicultural metropolis with about 7 million inhabitants, considered among the cities? pi? fascinating and visited places in the United States, full of attractions and unmissable places that, even if you have a few days as in our case, you can very well see the main things.
For the visit of Monterey and Carmel we chose a one day coach tour.
In the city? you don't need the car, moreover? difficult to find a parking space and if you can find it the rates are quite high; the best choice falls on public transport such as buses, which have proved to be very efficient for us; alternatively you can? use Uber, a convenient, fast and simple service that costs more? than a bus ticket, but much cheaper than a taxi, and in a city? like san francisco? widely used.
Or can you? rent a bike, there are also maps with the cycle paths of the city.
Our choice? relapse on the bus but mainly on our legs,? also feasible on foot: if you have already? a plan on what to see, day by day, and if you don't let yourself be demoralized by fatigue for whom? little trained with all those ups and downs,? an excellent solution to fully enjoy the wonders of this city.
SUNDAY - 05 AUGUST
We spent this day on the coast. We bought from Italy, with the Gray Line, an excursion to Monterey, and, passing by the 17 mile drive we arrived in Carmel, we spent 68 euros each.
We left at 08.00 with the bus, and the driver was also our guide. We made the first stop of about 20 minutes at PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE, from here the view? spectacular, c ?? a beautiful lighthouse, and from the houses next to it they have created a hostel. Then we left again, but we stopped several times to take pictures, we were among the most? lucky to be able to see whales. We arrived in MONTEREY, very pretty, can you? take a tour of the many shops, eat in one of the many restaurants or simply relax a bit on the beach.
We took a stroll along the shops. If you want you can? also visit the MONTEREY BAY ACQUARIUM. Then we got back on the bus and walked the 17MILE DRIVE,? a toll road (we had it included in the price), we stopped at almost every point marked on the map to admire the view and take pictures.
We arrived at CARMEL, after a walk of about half an hour between the various boutiques, we arrived at the beach for a little relaxation. At 17:30 pm we left for San Francisco.
We aren't much for guided tours, but do I have to say this? was a good solution, if yes? San Francisco without a car is really worth it.
MONDAY - 06 AUGUST
This morning we woke up early and after breakfast we set off to discover San Francisco. We tried to walk the most? possible, walking it seems to me to live more? the city? , but here, if not? train a little, fatigue makes itself felt soon, too many climbs! For? neither ? worth it!
Leaving the hotel, the GRANT HOTEL, we immediately entered the middle of the skyscrapers of FINANCIAL DISTRICT, then we did: CHINATOWN, the TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID, and after a long walk on the COLUMBUS AVENUE we came to the COIT TOWER. From here you can? admire beautiful views, including the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we left for LOMBARD STREET, the serpentine of flowers? beautiful, just as you can see in the picture, out of breath we got to the top and we rested a little then down, finally downhill to FISHERMANN? S WHARF. We had lunch in the GHIRADELLI SQUARE area, a square full of people, and then we walked, entering and exiting the various souvenir shops to PIER 39, where there are many sea lions lying in the sun. IS? time to leave, and we arrive at PIER 33 where at 18 leave? our ferry to ALCATRAZ.
This is the penitentiary pi? world famous, where major criminals such as Al Capone were locked up. Among the most popular films? Alcatraz-inspired celebrities remember? Escape from Alcatraz? with Clint Eastwood and? The Rock? with Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage.
Alcatraz prison is located on the island of the same name, in the center of the San Francisco bay, in a strategic position to avoid the escape of prisoners.
It was the maximum security prison from 1934 to 1963, already? from the beginning the first problems arose. There was nothing on the island, so food, clothing and water had to be transported from San Francisco daily. All there? at quite high costs, which marked cos? its decline after about thirty years.
There are several ways to visit Alcatraz, in addition to the prison you can visit Alcatraz. to choose, from a simple tour around the island to tours combined with visiting other attractions in the city? of San Francisco.
We booked the visit to the prison on the official website www.alcatrazcruises.com, timetables and availability? they come out 90 days in advance, and I recommend booking immediately, especially if you go in high season. You pay by credit card, and once on site there is no risk of being left on the ground. tickets can be run out.
We decided to visit on 06 August, so on 07 May we booked, the tickets go away like hotcakes.
There are different departure times, but the return? free. We chose the tour by night, which started at 17:55 pm, and this? that pi? popular, it costs 39 euros each, but is it all worth it especially to see the city? of San Francisco at sunset.
I recommend a sweatshirt and long pants, we were cold in August and on the island? very ventilated.
We left on time from Pier 33, with Alcatraz Cruises. The ferry trip takes approximately 20-25 minutes. As soon as we arrived, a guide welcomes us who, with difficult English for me, explains a brief history and how to visit the prison. He accompanies us only to the entrance where we get the audio guide in Italian for free.
The story ? made by former inmates and prison guards, and in the background, the noises and voices of prisoners are heard. All this as we pass from one corridor to another. The tour consists of doing the same tour of the prisoners, since they arrived, to the rooms where they were washed, dressed and finally to the cells. Then we visit the courtyard and the infirmary. It all ends at the classic souvenir shop with rather high prices.
IS? true what? a very touching subject but Alcatraz deserves to be visited. Everything, very well organized, lasts about 2 and a half hours including the ferry trip, and the San Francisco Sky Line seen from the island at sunset? truly breathtaking!
We return around 21. IS? cold and we are tired, we decide to take a taxi that was there? I stop and we are brought near our hotel. We have dinner and then go to sleep.
WEDNESDAY - 07 AUGUST
After breakfast we go to UNION SQUARE, which is 5 minutes from our hotel. Then from there we head to the corner between Market Street and Powell Street, (where the information office is present, going down the stairs), to see the CABLE CAR TURNAROUND practically the Cable Car arrives at the end of the line, on a revolving platform, and men do it turn pushing it by hand, ready cos? to leave again.
From now on we travel by bus, at the information office we asked for the stops we were interested in and we marked them on the map with the relative bus number. First stop at the GOLDEN GATE PARK,? cold and cloudy, so we decide to see only the JAPANESE TEA GARDEN, the entrance? for a fee 9 dollars each, but it is money well spent, it deserves a lot, we take a tour and we are fascinated, in the end we drink a th? hot with two cookies. We then reach the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, what can I say? a dream come true, see this bridge, seen and reviewed in many films and now be there so? close to walk on! Of course for half? ? shrouded in fog but this? its very charm! We didn't cross it, even though it was in our plans but the cold and the wind demoralized us and we went back. With this beautiful postcard image fixed in our mind we left and went to ALAMO SQUARE, on a hill where you can see the PAINTED LADIES, the colorful houses side by side, very beautiful. On foot we went down already? and we arrived at the CITY HALL, then walking along MARKET STREET looking at the various shops we arrived at our hotel, this last evening we spent in a pub a few meters from the hotel, eating a hamburger and drinking a beer.
The time available in this fantastic city? ? finished, I have no regrets about what I have, and what I have not seen. We would have liked to go to Sausalito but we chose to do a day on the coast, and I'm not sorry indeed? Who knows? , if one day I find myself back in San Francisco, a ride to Sausalito will be? top of the list! A piece of advice that I feel I can give to everyone, I don't know if? It was an exceptional case, but if you happen to go to San Francisco in August?. bring a duvet and a scarf for safety!