Monday, July 27, 2015

Walking the Golden Gate Bridge

I first visited San Francisco when I was 13 years old.  My family spent a day visiting the city before we drove to Lake Tahoe for skiing.  There was a torrential downpour in San Francisco, and the majority of our day was spent dining in Rainforest Cafe.  We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge and got outside of the car long enough to take a picture while getting drenched by the rain.  Mostly, I remember learning that my windbreaker was not, in fact, water repellent.  I was cold, wet, and miserable.

Golden Gate Bridge

Well, San Francisco more than made it up to me this spring, because I couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather.  It was unseasonably warm, which is just what this southern girl loves.

After a lovely lunch in Sausalito, my Uncle John took me to the Golden Gate Bridge.  He and my Aunt Kathy are seasoned San Francisco tour guides and have certainly perfected their bay area day trips.  Normally, he tag teams with my Aunt Kathy, and one of them will drive the car to the other end to wait so that their guests can walk the bridge one way and drive back.  But it was just Uncle John and me, so we set out to walk it halfway.


Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Halfway? Pfft! Who am I kidding?  The bridge spans 1.7 miles, and when we got to its midpoint, I turned to my uncle and said, "Well, we might as well walk to the other side."

Golden Gate Bridge

When we crossed the bridge, we ended in Strauss Plaza which includes a visitor center (with a gift shop, of course) and plenty of picturesque points for photographs.

Golden Gate Suspension Cable

Golden Gate Bridge

On my next trip to the city, I will visit Alcatraz Island.  Before my first trip to San Francisco, I became very interested in Alcatraz after reading Gennifer Choldenko's Newberry Honor-winning historical fiction novel, Al Capone Does My Shirts.  It's a really great book for children and adults alike, and I highly recommend it, especially to read before a trip to San Francisco.

San Francisco Bay

Here he is, one half of my favorite San Francisco tour guide team -

Uncle John, SF Tour Guide

When handing him my camera, I told Uncle John, "This one has to be good.  It's going on social media."

Golden Gate Bridge

The walk back was much more enjoyable traffic-wise because they had opened the sidewalk on the other side of the bridge for bicyclists (for the rush hour commute), so we shared the sidewalk with pedestrians and a few tourists on rental bikes who didn't know any better.

And speaking of rental bikes, I learned it's popular to rent bikes in the city and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.  However, be warned that if you take a wrong turn, you could end up going up/down a pretty steep hill with no bike lane.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Bay

I really couldn't have asked for better weather.  The bay was ridiculously clear with great views of the San Francisco skyline.

San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Personally, I think walking is the best way to enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge (but, I was blessed with great weather... I don't know how pro-walking I would be had I encountered cold temperatures).  It's much easier to stop and take in the scenery, and if you don't take your car across the bridge, you can do so for completely free.  Wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers, and allot 1-2 hours for a round trip.

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