I had the awesome privilege of attending WWDC in San Francisco last week. I had only ever been to the area once, so I figured I should make the most of my free time, since I would be spending hours learning about new Apple technology and programming at all other times.
The Sunday before the conference, I landed at SFO and took a cab to the W - a swanky hotel in a tall building super close to Moscone Center, where the conference was being held. After wandering around feeling like a lost puppy, I discovered how close the center was to my hotel, registered and got my badge to attend the keynote, sessions and labs.
That was all the responsibility I had for Sunday, so I decided to walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. Yes, that's right, I decided to walk miles and miles to get to a bridge. My hotel was in SoMa (South of Market), so I started walking north. I walked past the outskirts of Chinatown, and up towards Fisherman's Wharf. I don't get to see much water in Boulder, so I decided to stay as close to the ocean as I could.
I didn't stop anywhere in Fisherman's Wharf, but I did take some pictures of the big boats that have been converted into tourist attractions, and some of Alcatraz. Kind of crazy that they just sort of made an island into a prison. While I was walking around there, someone was hiding behind leaves and jumped out and scared me. I wondered if he expected me to tip him - maybe he was an entertainer. But if you want me to give you money, don't scare me like that. I bet a long time ago, this area would have been more quaint and less tourist-y, but now they have chains and gigantic souvenir shops. I will say this, though - if I were a seagull, I would hang out here all the time because there are bread crumbs everywhere!
I decided to stop at Ghirardelli Square just after Fisherman's Wharf, where I got a gigantic hot fudge sundae with chocolate and cookie dough ice cream scoops...for lunch. ;) Right outside the shop, you can see the water, and there's seating where you might watch some sort of event in this park, so I ate my sundae and watched the water. There were people swimming near the shore, and boats out farther. The wind was crazy, and even though it was sunny, sitting still got a little chilly, so I set off again, continuing around the bay.
I ended up walking through some neighborhoods. These houses are absolutely adorable. Being from Boulder, it was weird to think about living in this skinny little house sandwiched between the others, but I can see the appeal. Each house is different than its neighbors, either with color or the style of the moulding and bay windows.
Finally I could see the bridge faintly through the fog. I found an area called Crissy Field, where you can walk along the beach, so I took off my shoes and walked in the sand. The water was FREEZING, but the sand was soft. I still had a mile and a half to go, but at least my end was in sight. Near the end of the beach, there were signs that wildlife was protected and little buildings with souvenir shops and food. There was also a pier where people were fishing and throwing nets out to catch crabs. It had a great view back on the city in one direction, and the bridge in the other. The view of the bridge would have been better if it hadn't been so foggy, though.
Getting closer to the bridge, I started going through hiking trails, and finally at the top, could get onto the bridge. I went just far enough down the bridge to get some cool pictures through the fog, and to see the telephones for crisis counseling. By then, my feet had had enough, and I knew I needed to turn back.
My next decision was the hardest. I had plans to go to dinner with a very dear childhood friend, but that wasn't for another couple hours. I needed to figure out either how to get back to my hotel, or where to go in the meantime. I started walking back the way I came, by the beach, and finally to some roads by the cute little houses. As I was walking back that way, I had been noticing this big dome (kind of reminded me of Italy), and finally it was really close to the neighborhood I was walking toward. It ended up being this very picturesque park called the Palace of Fine Arts with cool columns and architecture, and a pond with ducks and swans. I wandered around there for a bit, and finally decided to give my toes a rest, sit down and read (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1). While I was there, I saw lots of events being photographed - a wedding party, a couple engagement sessions, a quinceniera, and a graduation! It was very beautiful.
When it was time to go to dinner, I just asked my friend to pick me up there, and then we went to a yummy Italian dinner, not too far away.
My shoes (TOMS) may have not been made for walking several miles (I would estimate 8.1 miles in total), but I had a super fun day exploring the city.