Okay, so maybe love at first sight isn’t the kind of love that lasts forever. While I’m still completely enamored with the outskirts of San Francisco, the city itself didn’t “wow” me (New York City wins again!). At the start of Day 2 we made our way to Fisherman’s Warf and immediately thought to ourselves: “Why did everyone tell us to come here?” There are people everywhere (Think: The Garden State Plaza Mall on a Saturday before Christmas) and it looks like any other boardwalk; i.e. nothing to get excited about.
We instead made a stop at Gihardelli Square, which was quieter and very New England-esque with it’s brick buildings. We grabbed some Gihardelli ice cream and enjoyed the view.
The rest of our day consisted (mostly) of looking for parking and figuring out how to park. We were used to the looking part, but what is the deal with the parking meters in San Francisco? So confusing! Besides driving around for hours, we also stopped at Alamo Park to see The Painted Ladies (Full House!!!), wandered around City Lights Bookstore, and made sure to drive up a really steep hill- just to say that we did.
On Day 3 we got up early and made our way to Muir Woods, little did we know what was ahead. The roads to get there were winding, steep, and scary so we made ourselves feel better by resolving to find a different way back. The woods themselves were amazing. Standing among the ancient redwoods gives you an indescribable feeling of peacefulness. We were lucky to get there early when there were only a few visitors and the park was quiet. By the time we left at around 9:30 AM the parking lots were full and the pathways in the forest were crowded. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the forest as much had I been admiring it as someone next to me discussed what they wanted for lunch.
The drive down is when things went…uh..downhill (excuse the pun). We asked one of the park rangers for a less scary route back and she gave us directions confidently, explaining that this way was much better. We were relieved. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we realized that “less scary” to someone that has lived here all their lives means winding roads along the cliffs with guard rails, rather than without. It took us awhile to get back down to civilization because I may or may not have had to pull over a few times to take deep breaths.
We were happy to make it back to our Airbnb on ground level. Rather than staying right in San Francisco we stayed in Mill Valley (about 15 minutes from SF), and I’m so glad we did! I would never know this charming little town existed. After recuperating from The Muir Woods Meltdown (Starbucks and junk food works like a charm) we ventured back into the city, but this time we made sure to leave the car behind. Hello, San Francisco Bay Ferry!
We wandered the city free of parking meter worries and found the infamous Lombard Street! It was definitely nice to walk and get a better feel for San Francisco, but to my disappointment I still didn’t understand what all the hype was about. Why wasn’t I loving San Francisco like everyone said I would? I guess I will need to come back someday and stay longer!
See you later, San Francisco