San Francisco

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Onward to Pier 39

Published March 9, 2015 by lynn k scott

If you’ve been following along, this is the third installment of my trip in San Francisco yesterday, March 8, 2015.  There will actually be a fourth segment, but it won’t necessarily be tied to this particular trilogy of posts.  I realized I took so many pictures, there’s another post in the works but will still take time to cultivate before I can share it with you.

So far, we’ve made it from celebrating Chinese New Year’s in Chinatown, we’ve driven toward the Wharf and found underground parking for $15 for the day and we’ve commenced walking and are almost upon Pier 39.  Let’s continue the journey, shall we?

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We visited the back of the Pier first, where we were able to get a better view of the seals.   There aren’t quite as many pier seals as there used to be.  They tend to hang out in the winter, some take off for a bit, and some linger.  Over the years, there numbers have dropped quite a bit.  The docks used to be completely full.


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From this vantage point (picture on the left), you can see a the tourists across the way trying to see the seals.  Please excuse my photography skills,  Technology and I fight often.  Between my Note 3 phone and my old point and click camera, we had some technical difficulties.  Either way, I prefer viewing the seals without pretending to be a fish crammed into a tourist sardine can.  The picture on the right is an upstairs view from Pier 39.

Then there are the seagulls.  When I snapped this quick picture, my husband asked, “are you REALLY taking a picture of the bird?  I had to laugh.  Even the tourists laughed.  Like I mentioned previously, what I won’t do for my writing.  So, if you’ve never seen a seagull, say outside of watching “The Little Mermaid”, here you go.

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What semi-guided tour would this be if I didn’t slip in a mention of Alcatraz Island?

Tours sell out quickly, so you’ll want to book well in advance of your visit.  I actually worked a private catering gig on “The Rock” many years ago.

                                  It was amazing, esp. for a history buff like me.  What a memory!

Last picture before heading onto the Pier. This gives you a great glimpse into how San Francisco is “layered”.  Love the American flag waiving in the breeze.  Great shot of Coit Tower (center) and then the TransAmerica Pyramid, which is the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco.

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Ok, we made it.  We’re on the famous, Pier 39.  This pier has a bit of everything.  As one tourist remarked, “it smells like fish” (in a shocked voice).  It took all my collective being not to embrace my NY-side and turn around to say “DUH!”.  I mean really, you’re right on the water.  The majority of restaurants surrounding the area, are ummmm, SEAFOOD restaurants.  That’s like walking into Ghirardelli and saying you smell chocolate.  Sorry, cracks me up what they say sometimes.  Sorry..back to embracing my California side…back to the tour….




These three sights are pretty much what you would see as you headed onto Pier 39, from your left, center and right views. The Aquarium isn’t too bad.  Much to the disappointment of most, you won’t see huge sharks in the Aquarium.  Kids really seem to like it and there are two levels (I think).  I know there are at least two.  It’s been a few years since I went on the tour.

Note, if you have to go to the bathroom, there are restrooms to your right after you walk under the Bubba Gump Shrimp sign.  Those are always PACKED!  Walk upstairs and toward the back and there are more restrooms there.  They too get busy, but not like the one in the very beginning.

100_0423I love this shop.  Being Irish, it’s fun to indulge my Leprechaun belief but also see things that remind me of why I love being Irish.  When we took my son here, he found his sister’s Celtic Zodiac sign.  He actually turned that into a tattoo, which is in his bicep, so he can keep his little sister with him no matter where the Army sends him.

Just across the way from this shop is my all-time favorite shop on the Pier:  Enlightenment.  They have a lot of Asian art, clothing, sayings, signs, incense, trinkets; you name it.  I am working on buying a couple paintings from them.

  100_0424              2015-03-08 15.28.43This is one of the paintings I am currently looking at.

Last stop on this “tour” is the carousel toward the end of the Pier.  In all these years, I’ve never written it.  Never fear, there are jewelry, fudge, clothing, chocolate, crepe, pet and fairy shops for your buying pleasure.  There is a plethora of snack shacks and restaurants to provide a light snack to a satisfying meal.  If you’re a people watcher, this is the place to be.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my seeing San Francisco, from the view of a non-native, who calls N. California her home.

Thank you for tagging along.

Until next time….

Journey to Pier 39

Published March 9, 2015 by lynn k scott


Today’s journey in San Francisco continues where yesterday’s journey left off as we left Chinatown.

The seals mark the entrance to Pier 39.   There are actually several ways you can enter, but this says, “welcome” and we always enter this way.

Before we step onto Pier 39, lets see how to get there.  We left Chinatown, which is really only about 10 minutes away from the Pier.

 100_0289    Can’t talk about San Francisco without mentioning the cable cars.  You can actually catch one of these classics at a variety of locations throughout the city.  The most popular tourist area
is near Ghirardelli Square.

2015-03-08 13.33.32Ignore the arm, I was in the passenger seat trying to grab a quick shot of the Ferrari.  It’s San Francisco, but this really isn’t all that uncommon of a sight.  Being married to a “car guy”, he points all this stuff out to me.  I see these cars and think, “nice” as they VROOOOM away.

Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 offer lots of parking and they charge a premium price for it too.  We use to park in the Anchorage Garage.  I think they have to be one of the most expensive lots since they had a change in management several years ago.  We actually park about five blocks away, in an underground lot, for $15 for the day.  The closer you get to the Pier, the more you will pay, per quarter hour!

We begin our walk.  I’ve reattached my backpack.  It’s really the only way to carry all your stuff around San Francisco.  It’s ideal for walking.  For those of you who have never been.  Start off wearing a short-sleeved shirt and bring a light jacket. The temperature changes consistently, and if you will be walking, you will want to be dressed in layers.  Actually, you dress in layers throughout most of the Bay Area.

100_0343On our walk in, we pass a Muni bus.  It runs on electrified cables that a hook on top of the bus connects with (simple explanation).  I love the look of this transportation.  I took several pictures of these really making us look like tourists.  We continue our walk to Pier 39.


We stop at the food vendors and restaurants to pick up a drink and a snack.  Alioto’s is just one of the fine dining, but casual attire restaurants in this area.  I always think of Alioto’s because this was where I celebrated my first birthday in California.  Ahh…memories….You can choose to pick one of the restaurants to go have a nice meal or just pick up some drinks and a fresh seafood snack and continue on your way.

This is what the inside of the open vendor market (for lack of a better term) looks like.  I was getting hungry just walking through here snapping pictures.2015-03-08 14.35.55

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Getting hungry yet? It’s really fun to walk through here.  It’s completely open and smells divine; if you like seafood that is.

Continuing on, you can’t get to Pier 39 without passing the street vendors.   They have colored, as in gold and silver, guys using music and doing various poses and other creative movements to illicit tips from you.  Then there are the musicians and artists.  Several of the street artists make amazing pictures using spray paint and various cut-outs, sponges, and all sorts of other tools.  My son was so impressed when he visited, he bought two of pieces, which he gifted to us.

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Another thing San Francisco is famous for is their sourdough bread.  One company that has made bread into an art form is Boudin.  You pass their store on the way to the Pier.  You can stop in for a quick snack, grab a cup of Peet’s coffee (better than the other chain, imo) or grab some bread to take home with you.


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Teddy Bear and Alligator bread

While I had hoped to get you onto Pier 39 in this post, it looks like there will be three posts about my day in San Francisco yesterday.  We have seen Chinatown, you’ve walked with me almost to the Pier, and soon we will arrive to see what Pier 39 actually has to offer.  Stay tuned for part 3…..

Gong Hey Fat Choy!!! (Happy New Year in Cantonese)

Published March 6, 2015 by lynn k scott

It’s time to celebrate the New Year this weekend.  Yes, I’m perfectly well aware that we’re already into March.  However, I’m almost elated to learn I didn’t miss the Chinese New Year celebration in San Francisco this year.  It’s taking place THIS weekend!!!

Tomorrow will be the parade and street fair.  Sunday will just be the street fair.  We go in on Sundays.  It’s very crowded, but I can actually handle it as there are side streets I can move to when I need a break from the massive amounts of people.  It’s one of the few CA traditions I have.  I’ve only missed a few Chinese New Year celebrations.  Once I was on crutches, once it was raining (downpour) and wasn’t chancing it with a newborn and the other time I had the flu.  Not bad 3 out of 17 times.

Taken by Michael S. - Yelp website

Taken by Michael S. – Yelp website

We will stop by my favorite bakery:  Eastern Bakery on Grant Ave.  If you ever get to San Francisco, this tiny bakery has the best butter cream rolls and (my all-time fave) baked bbq pork buns.  They are so fresh, soft and the bread melts in your mouth.  I wait all year to eat these.  It’s worth a gluten attack.  Last year it took me a week to recover.  I’m going to use a bit more moderation this time around, but I’m still going to have those baked pieces of goodness.

Then we will stop in one of the stores and buy a good luck charm; another tradition.  As it is year of the sheep, I should be fun to see what I can find.  I’m not Chinese, but I am white as rice.  My daughter, who’s nine, loves this celebration as much as I do.  I love the cultural exchanges she gets to be a part of.

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