Wednesday, 24 February 2016

San Francisco 6.4: The San Fran Finale

Our time in San Francisco finished with a trip to, across, and beyond the Golden Gate Bridge - one of the landmarks we were most excited to see.

Setting off early, we were driven to the Golden Gate Bridge by Laura's Mum and dropped off just outside the museum. It was a great spot to take some pictures across the bay before we started our walk. It also gave me the opportunity to check my facts and stats in regards to the bridge's structure #geek!

Here are the highlights:
  • It's 1 mile wide
  • 3 miles long
  • Opened in May 1937
  • 227m tall
  • Took 4 years to build
  • It's not Golden - its official colour is actually International Orange!
  • 3 babies have been born on the bridge (at the time we publish this :))
It took us a little over an hour to walk the bridge on a beautiful clear day - this included plenty of time for pictures, standing over cargo ships as they sailed below (L and her Dad were waving and trying to get them to honk at us....age is just a number, after all haha!), animal spotting and enjoying a spectacular view of the bay. It also gave us time to avoid the many cyclists who decided they owned the path....seriously, watch your back!

Once we got the other side we met Laura's Mum and drove up the a viewing area called Hawk Hill just behind the bridge. It took about 15 minutes on very windy roads but the view from the top was spectacular.

Next on the to-do list was Muir Woods. We thought the cool woods would be a great way to get out of the afternoon heat and we were right. We got there for 3pm, just in time for a 'Tree Talk by Todd', which was a talk by one of the park rangers on the history of the woods and the unique qualities of the redwoods. He was so enthusiastic, and informative!

The park itself is actually a national monument. It was preserved by John Muir, a naturalist who helped preserve the forest with the Kent family (who bought the land). The woods even held a United Nation meeting in 1945! It gets over 6,000 visitors a day and you can see why. There is something special about walking through the ancient woods with trees you have to stretch your neck right back to fully appreciate. Their colouring is also something I've never seen before. It was fascinating to learn about the qualities that made the trees so sought after (the bark was great for building houses as it was resistant to disease, mold and bugs) and the preservation that now takes place. Also some of the trees grow in families with new trees sprouting from the base of an older tree - lovely!

We did a 5 mile walk around the main part of the woods checking out all the main points of interest and by the time we were finished the sun was setting.

After all the walking we were in great need of refreshments, especially as the temperature was a high of 20 degrees C so we headed to Sausalito, a 20 minute drive back towards San Francisco but not quite over the bridge. With beautiful waterfront views across the bay and a stunning harbour it was a perfect place to stroll around and explore. We even discovered an all year round Christmas shop and floating mosque.

The highlight was the meal we had overlooking the bay. The Barrel House Tavern paired amazing food with an intimate atmosphere and a beautiful view of the sparkling lights of San Francisco. It was a perfect end to our stay with Laura's parents and we spent the whole night reflecting on just how much we had done in our short stay. We loved San Fran!

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