Monday, August 23, 2010

Cable Car

One of the first things that I wanted to do when I knew I was going to San Francisco this summer, was to ride on a cable car. That's all I would talk about doing when people asked me what I was going to do in SF. At the end of our day out and about on Fisherman's Wharf, we took a cable car back to a BART station to go to the hotel. There was a long line for the cable car, but it was worth it! I got to sit in the open air part and look at everything going by. I also got to experience the hills in SF. No way would I want to park my car on one of those!! The cable car did not let me down, it was an awesome ride! Again, something I want to do during daylight the next time I'm in SF.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Buena Vista/Ghirardelli Square

At the end of Fisherman's Wharf, near Ghirardelli Square, is the Buena Vista. The Buena Vista is the home of the Irish Coffee. This place was packed when we went in at about 8 o'clock. It was getting chilly out, so the coffee was warming me up (along with the alcohol). It looks like an old time diner/bar on the inside, and has a great view of the bay. I highly recommend heading here when in San Francisco.

Another place at the end of Fisherman's Wharf is Ghirardelli Square. There are shops here, but more importantly, the Ghirardelli factory. We got here late, but were able to go into the chocolate shop and try some chocolate. If I ever get back to San Francisco again, I will be getting here earlier and checking it out more.


I'll be honest, I didn't really want to go here when I was planning on going to San Francisco this summer, but I am really glad I went! Once you get to the Island, there is a National Park Ranger (Ranger John) greeting you and letting you know what's going on today on the Island. From there, you can head up to a building that has a gift shop, mini museum, and a short video going through the history of Alcatraz. The whole time you're on the Island, you're going at your pace and leading your own tour. As I entered the prison itself, I had an eerie feeling. It was neat seeing all of the cells, and knowing this place that you're standing in is infamous. There was a solitary confinement cell that a ranger would let you in so you could see what it felt like for 30 seconds. I opted out of that, but my friend went in and said it was creepy. I went into a normal cell to see what it was like. There's a great view from the prison grounds. The warden had an excellent view of San Francisco. I didn't expect to spend more than an hour or so on the Island, but with everything you take in there, we were on the last boat off the Island for the day (we were there for about 3 hours). Good stop if you are going to San Francisco.

Pacific Coast HIghway

This isn't a tourist trap, but it's something that I feel everyone should do in their lifetime. In early June, my friend and I drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and from San Francisco to Cresent City, CA, along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). It was a gorgeous drive. Even if you're prone to motion sickness, it's worth the sickness. It's not too twisty, or up and down until you're past San Simeon. There are many places to get out and take pictures, or to just walk around and bask in the beauty that is the Pacific Ocean.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Philly Cheesesteak

Geno's Steaks: 1219 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia PA
Pat's King of Steaks: 1237 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia PA

Another must on my list of things to do in Philly was to see for myself which one of these places had the best cheesesteak. I've watched WAY too much Food Network and Travel Channel, and have seen these places battle for the title of best in Philly. Our first stop was Geno's, since we were walking down 9th Street and Geno's is the first one heading that direction. There were three of us in Philly, and we didn't really want to each get a cheesesteak. We decided that we would get one at each place and split it three ways. We asked the person at Geno's if we could have a plastic knife to cut it in thirds, but they said they'd cut it for us. The employees there were pleasant and seemed to be happy to be there. The sandwich was great. Nothing was overpowering on it, the bread was soft, the onions were cooked just right, and the cheese whiz was good too! Our next stop was across the street at Pat's. We got in line, and waited just a few minutes for our sandwich. We asked if we could have it cut in thirds, but he told us he only cuts it in half. Well, he said to my sister, "I only cut it in half sweetheart." If you know my sister, you know that him calling her sweetheart ticked her off. We sat down to eat the sandwich. The bread was dry, the onions were really strong, and the provolone was not melted. After eating both sandwiches, we decided that Geno's has the best cheesesteak.

Rocky Steps

Rocky Steps: Philadelphia, PA

When I found out that I was going to Philadelphia, I had a few things I wanted to do and see, but this was a must. Before heading out to Philly, my sister kiddingly said, "You should download the Rocky theme and play that as you run up the steps." She should've known better, because I did. I got ready to go up the steps, and began playing the music. I knew I was making a fool of myself huffing and puffing up the steps to the the theme of Rocky, but people were commenting on it, and smiling. That's all I could ask for. When I got to the top of the steps, I noticed that there are bronze footprints of Rocky's. We took our pictures of the feet, and of the steps going down. There were many other people there running up the stairs, many of them singing the theme. There is a statue of Rocky off to the side at the base of the steps. There were many people taking their pictures there as well. It made me feel old when there were kids asking who Rocky was. I think this was the best place we went to in Philly.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell: Philadelphia, PA

When I got to Independence Mall, I was expecting to see the Liberty Bell outside, roped off with some chains. Little did I know that it was actually inside a building with all sorts of history regarding the Liberty Bell. After waiting a few minutes in line to get in, and then my bag looked through (which gave the security person a laugh since my Santa hat was in there for Christmas card photos), we walked to the Liberty Bell. It's in a small area in the building, and if you're in there with a bunch of people, you have to wait for the right moment to get a picture without someone standing in front of it. Or, you can just shove your way to the front like some people were doing. I wanted to take some funny pictures, but since there were a bunch of people there I thought I should just pose for a couple. It was good to see the actual bell, and not a replica like I've seen in other places.