It was a foggy morning in San Francisco as Ryan and I set out for a day of exploring the way that I know best. Ditching the guide books and car, we rode the train to the city where we proceeded to wander by foot.
I knew from the beginning that it was going to be a long day. As soon as we'd emerged from the station and spotted the massive line of people waiting for cable cars, we opted to walk to the waterfront instead.
We began the hike up the steep hilly streets, happily wandering and snapping photos. We strolled through China town and eventually reached Fisherman's Wharf. Having successfully converted Ryan into a coffee drinker during our trip, we stopped at Starbucks for a caffeine fix and then carried on with our wandering. Mass amounts of camera shops along the way caused a slight delay, as we stopped to check prices and walked out with brand new polarizing filters. It certainly wasn't something we'd planned to purchase, but our photos from that point on were far better.
Once we'd reached the food stalls of Fisherman's Wharf we both realized just how amazing this city was. Both of us are seafood lovers, and the vast amount of crab, shrimp, mussels and clam chowder was almost overwhelming as we tried to decide what to eat first. We settled on clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, as it's somewhat of a "must-try" in San Francisco.
It was pretty darn delicious, despite the large glob that ended up in my hair thanks to the ridiculous wind. Never full, we pondered our next snack. We decided upon squid, which was yummy but could have done without the dressing that it was soaked in.
Next on our list was Ghirardelli Square. Any city that has an entire square dedicated to a brand of chocolate is good in my books. We browsed the chocolate shop, where we were offered a delicious sample. This satisfied my craving and convinced me to buy ice cream instead of more chocolate.
Oh my goodness, the ice cream. It's almost worth a blog entry in itself. We scanned the menu before deciding upon 2 massive sundaes... one called Mint Bliss, made with mint chocolate ice cream and hot fudge, and the other one called Gold Rush, which contained layers of ice cream, peanut butter, and hot fudge. Even while we were ordering, we knew that we'd regret it, but that didn't stop either of us. We indulged in the incredible sundaes, eating far past the point of feeling full. Did I feel disgusting once I'd conquered the ice cream? You bet. Was it worth it? Heck yes.
Feeling the need to walk off the sugar, we strolled down the long pier where we were rewarded with beautiful views of the city and Alcatraz. We even managed to spot a few sea lions swimming around in the water below us. We spent an extremely long time on the pier, caught up in taking photos of everything and anything.
I finally convinced Ryan to return to land, as I was freezing from the heavy sea breeze. We headed back towards Pier 39, browsing random shops along the way. Always ones to spend our money on useless and amazing items, we entered a kite store and left with a rather large Kitty Hawk airplane shaped kite. Being the practical engineer that he is, Ryan insisted on putting it together right then and there to ensure that it was in good condition. We stood in the store meticulously building the kite until it was finally good to go. From that moment on, I lost my fiance to a kite. Rather than holding my hand, he held onto the plane and ran around soaring it through the air. If I was anyone else, I'd probably think he was a bit silly, but admittedly it was my idea to buy that very kite and I'd known that this would happen.
Miraculously, we regained our sense of hunger as evening approached. Determined to indulge in crab, we sought out what looked to be the best restaurant. When we saw The Crab House in Pier 39, we knew that it was meant for us. We sat at a large table, propping the plane on the booth beside us and trying to refrain from ordering absolutely everything on the menu. Donning the bibs that the restaurant provided, we settled on steamed mussels and shrimp to start. A huge steaming platter was brought to our table with wine poured over top. Amazing.
Next up was the main course, and it was exactly what we'd hoped for. A huge plate of crab dripping in garlic butter was placed in front of us, much to our delight. It was so incredible that I never wanted it to end.
Sadly, it did end, but that didn't mean that the meal was over. Oh no, not for food addicts such as ourselves! Feeling that we'd already ate a week's share of dessert that day, we chose to order crab chowder instead. It may have looked like mush, but it was certainly the yummiest mush that I've ever tasted. Dinner was finally over and we were content with how amazing it had been.
We continued wandering Pier 39, full of all sorts of random stores that tempted us to spend our money. I walked away with a tiny airplane charm that I've been searching for for quite awhile. It even has 4 engines so I can get away with saying that it's an A380. The sun was setting over the water, forcing us to stop to take even more photos. Alcatraz sat beneath a layer of cloud and orange sky, looking eerie in the distance.
Before we could return home, we were distracted by an arcade where Ryan thought it would be a good idea to spend our pouch full of quarters. We were instantly drawn to a game that we'd seen many times before, where the object is to use coins to push other coins off of the ledge. It happens to be annoyingly addictive. Our quarters were gone, and Ryan began breaking out the dollar bills... "Just one more!". That's what they all say. $8 and 250 winning tickets later we left with our prizes... a styrofoam plane, some other junk toy, and not one, but 2 Laffy Taffy (only because the guy behind the counter threw in one for free). We were tired and it was dark, so we made the decision to go home and head to bed.
Realizing how far the walk was at that time of night, we opted to ride the cable car. Besides, we were in San Francisco and it seemed almost mandatory. Jam packed like sardines into the car, we rode up and down the streets until we reached the end of the line and the metro station. We rode the train back and to my relief my car was still intact and waiting for us at the other end. We drove back to the house, looked at our photos, and called it a night.
San Francisco won over our hearts, and our stomachs, but it's time to continue down the coast... next stop, LA!