Day 2 began on a cable car, where else? Our hotel is right next to the turn around spot near the Wharf, so we can walk right out our door and be there. We got off the first car at Lombard Street, a must I am sure when visiting this city. That has to be the coolest thing I've ever seen. I can't even imagine why you'd need to build a street so crooked, but it's awesome. I also cannot imagine living on that street and having to drive it each day, or having to deal with all the tourists taking photos. We started at the top and walked all the way down, took some more photos, and then treked back up to the top again. That was quite a haul, but it wasn't nearly the most strenuous walk I would take that day.
We hopped back on a cable car and proceeded on to Chinatown. We walked around for a little while and it was truly amazing to think that I was still in California. I truly thought I had stepped into another country. We picked a little eatery and had some lunch. The food was quite delicious. We then headed on down Washington Street through the financial district. The buildngs here are so tall and so close together! I am amazed at just how much stuff they've crammed into this one little piece of land. It was also quite a strange feeling to step out of Chinatown and into the bustling downtown area; it was almost like another dimension they way the scenery changed so quickly.
We walked all the way down to the Embarcadero and chose a long pier to walk out on for some fantastic views of the Bay Bridge. The sun was out and it had warmed up a bit, which was probably the warmest we've been since arriving.
From there we hopped onto a train-like bus looking thing. I don't know what they call them but they are straight out of the 60's with their rounded edges and bright colors. I loved it. Our destination was Coit Tower. This is another SanFran landmark that shouldn't be missed. It towers over the whole bay area and there are some spectacular 360 degree views from the top. It's getting there that is the not so fun part.
See, silly me didn't pay much attention to my little travel map. We're walking along and I see signs that say "Stairs to Coit Tower". Oh, ok, so we have to walk up there? Geez, that seems like a long way up but here we go.
Six thousand, four hundred and fifty-two steps later, we reached the top of the hill where Coit Tower stands. Ok, so maybe I didn't actually count, but I'm sure that if you did actually count the number of steps from the bottom of that hill to the top of it I'd be within 10-20 steps. My legs were rubber by the time we got up there, but we did it. I almost didn't get to appreciate the lush gardens full of passion vines, bougainville, roses and other flowers. They truly were amazing. I'm just thankful that after all that, Coit Tower has an elevator. You really can see everything from up there...it's breathtaking.
We rode the bus back down (I wasn't sure my legs would support me on the way down the stairs) and headed back towards Fisherman's Wharf. We used our aquarium passes that came with the bay cruise I bought and even though it wasn't the best aquarum I've ever been to, it was nice that all the exhibits were animals local to this area. You got a really good feel for what is going on in the water beneath you. I also got to touch a leopard shark, skates, and several starfish.
We meandered through the shops at Pier 39 before stopping to watch the sea lions. They are so funny!! I love their personalities, although sometimes they're just mean to each other. We ate dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. YUM. We shared a "Bucket of Boat Trash" which had lobster, shrimp and some sort of fish in it. It was more than enough food for both of us and so good.
We decided to rest for a little bit in our hotel room and wait for the sun to go down so that we could see some of the city at night. Our first stop was Ghirardelli Square, which is just a few short blocks from our hotel. We splurged (and negated any exercise we got earlier in the day) and each ordered a sundae. Nick went for a banana/chocolate sundae, and I ordered the Midnight Reverie. Talk about worth the $18 we spent!! Mine was 2" of dark chocolate hot fudge, 2 or 3 scoops of chocolate ice
We walked back down to the cable car spot again and rode this time all the way from one end to the other and back. The other end happens to be in Market Square where all the big fancy shopping areas are located. It was neat to see so much of the city all lit up. By then both of us were exhausted so we crashed. Here comes day 3!