If I can say one thing with certainty about my third trip to San Francisco, it’s this: my photography skills have improved since last year’s trip. (If I do say so myself–we’ll see if y’all agree with me!)
We took a second trip to San Francisco to visit Teddy in February 2019. It was another all-day journey, this time with a connection through Chicago, pictured above.
As usual, I am not a big fan of flying. I pray the rosary non-stop until we are safely in the air.
We reached the city with daylight to spare, and found ourselves on the 11th floor of the Hyatt in the Financial District, with this beautiful view. (Thank you, Priceline!) Teddy came to meet us and we walked into the Little Italy area to have dinner with him and one of his Notre Dame buddies.
Afterwards, we relaxed in the hotel lobby for awhile. Though we were tickled by the names above, I actually just ended up with coffee.
And then it was time to rest up for the busy day we had planned.
It was a beautiful morning! After breakfast at the hotel, we started walking toward the starting point for our big adventure.
We were heading for Pier 33 to board a ferry for Alcatraz Island. I had to buy these tickets before we left Knoxville, as they sell out well in advance. We purchased a ticket for Teddy as well, but something came up at work so we were on our own.
The sky darkened as we approached the island. And it did in fact rain heavily during our visit there, but happily we were inside when it happened.
One of the cool aspects of our Alcatraz tour is that it covered the entire history of the island, from its beginnings as a fort to the 1970s when Native Americans took over the island to draw attention to their unfair treatment at the hands of the U.S. Government.
Since the prison is what Alcatraz Island is most famous for, I was surprised and fascinated by all the history shared by the Park personnel and the movie we watched at the beginning of the tour. It is also a surprisingly beautiful place, if a little dilapidated in spots.
The self-guided prison tour, accompanied by headphone narration, was masterful. Voices of former prisoners and guards provided the commentary as we walked from site to site within the prison.
One of the hardest aspects of confinement at Alacatraz was the nearness of the city, always a visible reminder of the world outside. Sometimes sounds of laughter and music would drift across the Bay.
Our visit to Alcatraz took most of the day. I feel like this was the evening we went to see Teddy’s apartment–he had moved with a friend into a place closer to his office–but I can’t remember what we did for the rest of the evening.
Saturday was a busy day for me and a mostly restful one for John. I started by leaving the hotel (above) in search for some good coffee (below).
On our last visit, Teddy had made it a point to take us to several local coffee establishments, which were all excellent. Philz was the closest to the Hyatt, and I enjoyed my first ever avocado toast along with the coffee.
After I took John some coffee and breakfast, I went back out and headed for the Ferry Building and the Saturday market I had enjoyed so much on my last trip to San Francisco.
I bought some souvenirs to take home and then went back to the room, where I discovered John had neglected to pack his preventive asthma medication, which necessitated many calls to find an open nearby Walgreens and to get an emergency prescription transferred there. There were many within walking distance, but because we were in the Financial District, most were not open on weekends. So my next task was to go on a walk and return with the medicine.
By the time I returned I had already walked about three miles. And it was time for more walking, since the day’s plan involved my meeting Teddy at the Museum of Modern Art, some distance away.
We didn’t have enough time to see the entire museum, but we saw a lot. Here are a few things that stood out:
After the museum, we walked to Chinatown to meet John and to eat and stroll about.
I convinced John we should walk back to the hotel afterwards. It was downhill all the way, which was a good thing since I ended up having walked around 12 miles all told. We had drinks in the lobby and stared, mesmerized, at the giant sculpture below, which changes colors frequently thanks to an array of lights that are trained on it.
The next morning, we met Teddy behind the Ferry Building to catch the Sausalito Ferry.
We didn’t take the ferry for the view–although it was lovely. We had a purpose for our trip.
We ate a quick lunch at a nearby cafe, and then hopped on a bus (tickets purchased in advance–this is not something you can do on the spur of the moment) for our trip to Muir Woods to see some giant redwoods.
It was, as you would expect, beautiful and peaceful, and very different from the forests on our side of the country.
After our bus ride back to Sausalito, we walked along the water in search of dinner.
We ended up at Scoma’s, which is funny since we ate at the one on the San Francisco side of the bay on our last trip to San Francisco and we did not know there was one on this side until we happened upon it.
Then it was back to the city to rest before our final day.
Before we left the eleventh floor for the last time, I wanted to record the terrifying drop to the lobby below. We were grateful not to have any small children with us, particularly considering the small children we once had, who would almost certainly have tried to climb over the drop if they had an opportunity!
We checked out but left our luggage in storage, and took a nice walk along the waterfront, making our way to the Maritime Museum, where we had planned to meet up with Teddy. Here are some sights along the way.
The museum itself was incredibly cool and I’m a little surprised I didn’t take any pictures of its art deco architecture and decor. Pictured below is the tiny craft in which a young Japanese man once crossed the Pacific to reach San Francisco. Please take the time to read his words in the second picture, which I found incredibly moving.
We ate lunch at a nearby restaurant before heading to the San Francisco Maritime National Park, just a couple of blocks away. This included a museum showcasing displays on the history of the city, and admission to the Hyde Street Pier, with its fleet of historic vessels.
The Eureka, pictured above, was my favorite–a ferry that carried people (and cars!) across the Bay every day until the bridges were built. Below are a few more pictures of her.
Below is Hercules the tugboat:
And there were older ships as well:
I got some nice shots as we left the pier:
From there, the three of us headed to the Buena Vista Cafe, famous for Irish Coffee. Teddy had treated me to one during our epic walk on our last trip to San Francisco, and I wanted another one. That was the last thing we did together before Teddy left us to go back to work. We made our way back to the hotel to get our luggage and head to the airport, where we ate dinner before taking another redeye flight home.
And tomorrow we will be heading out for our third trip to San Francisco. The most important item on the agenda this time is meeting Teddy’s girlfriend. 🙂
You can follow along on Instagram or wait till I post about it here!