Saturday, June 21, 2014

San Francisco: Days 6 & 7 (The Finale)

Both yesterday and today were very full, busy days. WARNING: Long post, photo heavy, and a couple short videos.


We started the day by working our way down to Fisherman's Wharf, where we grabbed a quick breakfast, and then rode the Big Bus Hop on Hop off tour for most of the route.

We hopped off at Chinatown, as Gilles was hoping to get the word 'Dragon' tattooed on his arm by a 'real Chinese person'. After searching for a place to do it for about an hour, we gave up and worked our way down into the North Beach area (Italian district), for a real Italian meal. Gilles had a half chicken, and I had a sausage sandwich.

After lunch, we headed back down to the Wharf, where we hopped back on the bus and rode half the tour again, in order to get to the Presidio, in order to visit the Walt Disney Museum. It was a hot day, and by the time we got there both Gilles and I were thoroughly burnt. (It is amazing how huge a 5 degree difference can make!)
The Disney museum was well-worth the trip, although we were only able to spend a few hours there before it closed. It outlines the life of Walt Disney, from his early days drawing cartoons as a child, to the cartoons he drew during his time at war (WWI), through the upstart and failure of his first company, the beginning of Disney with his brother Roy Disney, all the way through the multiple ups and downs that they faced between then and the near impervious position they now enjoy. I  could have easily spent an entire day or more there, reading all of the information available and watching all the short video clips.
Here are some of the highlights:
Drawing by Disney during his time overseas for war.
Walt Disney's first successful "movies" - short films featuring both animation and live action, featuring 'Alice', on several different adventures.

Prints of the sheets for animating 'Steamboat Willie'.
Making of 'Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf'

After the Disney Museum, we took the Big Bus back to the beginning of the route, learning about the areas we had missed the first time. We got back just in time to take the night route, which allowed us to go through a couple of new areas, and across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island. At Treasure Island we watched the sun set over San Francisco, and then drove back over the bridge in time to see the 'light show' start up. The show that night was of fish swimming. (See video)

It was about 9:30 when this tour wrapped up, and we headed back down to the Wharf for supper. We ate at a great little surf shop before heading back to our hotel, where we were asleep almost as soon as we got there.


That brings us to our final Day in San Francisco! (Boo hoo!)

We started by heading down to the Hollywood Cafe, which is about a block from our hotel. It had top rating on Yelp for breakfast places in Fisherman's Wharf. I had Eggs Benedict Florentine. While it was good, I don't see what all the fuss is about. Imagine Grainfields with a patio, and you have the Hollywood Cafe. We had heard on the Big Bus yesterday that the ship that Gilles fell in love with earlier this week was actually a floating museum, so from there we headed down to the Maritime National Historic Park, and spent about an hour and a half touring the very impressive cargo ship.

1886 square-rigger 'Balclutha' cargo vessel

1907 steam tugboat 'Hercules'

Ship's wheel. Interestingly, this is at the rear of the ship and steered by the helmsman, not the captain. Also, the helmsman rarely actually looks out to sea. He is either looking down at the compass at his feet, up at the sails, or up at the stars for guidance.

The reinforced hole in the front of the ship used to load lumber onto the ship.
Next we caught the bus again as far as the California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park, where we caught a taxi to the San Francisco zoo, and spent the afternoon there. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the zoo:

Wild homeless people! Oh wait, this was on the way there.
Probably the best exhibit of the entire zoo. Tons of giraffes and zebras.

Made from bottles and plastic washed up after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Turtles are eating plastic bags floating in the water thinking that they are jellyfish, and dying from it.

Aside from the airport rat race tomorrow, this concludes our San Francisco adventure. It was a slice!