<< Go Back up to Photos Index San Francisco, California, USA
San Francisco is a hilly place. 30-degree inclines are the norm and you can see the scrapes on the road where cars have bottomed-out when a hill goes from slope to flat! As such walking around is a real effort. You'd think you could easily jump on one of the
Cable Cars however these seem to run at capacity from early in the morning until late into the evening. The locals must hate all us tourists using their convenient transport system!
For the most part of the time in San Frnacisco the weather was very dull - overcast sky with a wind not unlike Edinburgh. I ended up buying a jacket to keep out the cold. For most of the weekend the Golden Gate Bridge was hidden in thick fog. Back in Boston it was 30+ Celcius...
Click on the image to open a larger version. All images are Copyright © Mike Hume 2005.
San Francisco September 2005
Look out for the photo of
Lombard St which is the famous street with zig-zags due to the steepness of the hill. Ironically this isn't the steepest street in San Francisco!
San Francisco is a very residential place. Given its sunny disposition (?!) people used to build eight-sided "octagon" houses to make the most of the sun. There are a couple of these remaining although they're not as impressive as I thought they would be. Wandering the streets you stumble across all sorts of odd-looking houses.
Alcatraz is part of the National Park Service and one of their most popular vistor attractions. Many films have used Alcatraz as a location including The Rock, Birdman Of Alcatraz and Escape From Alcatraz.
Alcatraz was never filled to capacity and only had around 300 inmates at any one time. The inmates came up with names for areas of the cellhouse which is why the main corridor is called Broadway, with Times Square being the junction at the bottom below a large clock.
Cable Cars were invented in 1873 and first tested in San Francisco by a Scot: Andrew Hallidie from Falkirk. In the 40s and 50s much of the cable car system was ripped up however three lines were kept and these remain today. The system was entirely rebuilt in the 80s. One of San Franscisco's more interesting places to visit is the free Cable Car museum which is also the powerhouse for the entire system.
Filming of The Pursuit Of Happyness
I stumbled across a huge filming operation in downtown San Francisco at the
Bank Of America Center (555 California St). Turned out Will Smith was filming exterior shots for his new movie "Pursuit Of Happyness". After a bit of standing around and watching rehearsals for a shot Will Smith appeared from a hotel behind us and said hello to a few of us watching the proceedings before walking over to the filming location. Should be interesting to see the film when it's out in the cinemas in December.
Grace Cathedral was completed in 1964 as the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the USA. The cathedral has two labyrinths which visitors may walk around.
This is the best of the best in terms of housing in San Francisco. The victorian painted houses are known as "Painted Ladies". I particularly liked the look of
Danielle Steele's house (she has a nice collection of cars parked in the driveway, everything from a Bentley to a Mini Cooper S!).
Pier 39 is the place where ferries run to Alcatraz and a bunch of other spots around the Bay area. It's the most popular tourist area of San Francisco and of course the tackiest! Around 1990 sea lions started to gather in the marina west of Pier 39 and there is now a population of over 300 of them who bask in the sun barking away to keep the tourists happy. The smell is something else...
Union Square is one of San Francisco's original civic green spaces although it has now been concreted over and landscaped. The area is a mecca for shoppers and all the major hotels are here too.