Our first day in California (actually, our only day in California) started in Sacramento,
as that's where we happened to fly in to. Rumor has it you can see the Sierra Nevada
mountains from Sacramento on a clear day but it was hazy this morning so we couldn't see
much of anything. This is the state capitol of California.
Our first stop in the bay area was Berkeley, mostly because Colin lives there. He took
us to a few scenic locations where we could take this picture of the San Francisco skyline
as well as the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on the background. It was actually a
pretty nice day, these pictures appear hazy because they were taken from several miles away
with considerable zooming.
In the afternoon, Emily took over as our tour guide and after a lunch in Ghiardelli
Square, we wandered along the Embarcadero to visit this colony of sea lions. Apparently
they showed up after the 1989 earthquake and after they took over the docks, the city
built these platforms for them instead. As far as we can tell their lives consist mostly
of basking and occassionally barking for no readily apparent reason. Sort of like our dog.
It's .. Alcatraz! Whee. We didn't go to Alcatraz because neither of us had any particular
desire to. But it's stuck out there in the middle of the bay so it kept appearing in
our pictures. For the three people out there who might be unfamiliar with it, it was a
prison island for quite a while. Now it's a tourist destination or at least that's how
they bill it.
One of San Francisco's many hillside neighborhoods with a few landmarks in the background.
The odd looking tower (not the sailboat mast) is the Coit Tower. Emily gave us a detailed
history of it which you can request from her if you're interested. The short version is
basically that an eccentric widow (Lillie Hitchcock Coit) bequeathed a lot of money to the
city and this is the result. You can go up in it, but we didn't. You didn't want to see
more skyline pictures anyway.
Oops. Maybe you did. This one is taken from the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. We
drove through the Presidio to reach Fort Point, which is the southern end of the bridge.
It was also our first view of the Pacific Ocean. Whee! It looked much like other oceans.
You might be wondering by now who Emily, our erstwhile tour guide, actually is. Well,
she's a college friend of Melanie who you can't really make out in this just generally
poor picture of them. What is clear though is that they're standing underneath a
'water to wash fruit' sign. More could be said about this but perhaps it's best if you
just create your own punchline here.
The Golden Gate Bridge in color. Yes, it's not really golden, it's more sort of rust-colored.
The 'Golden Gate' would be the water underneath it which is of course .. blue. Speaking
of misnomers, the Pacific Ocean wasn't at all pacific. There were quite a lot of surfers
enjoying the surf, there's one there in the foreground if you look closely.
After we left Fort Point we circled aimlessly for a while. (Okay we were lost.) But then
we found the squiggly part of Lombard Street and drove down that. It's really quite fun,
and we highly recommend it because it's just amazingly steep. We returned Emily to her
home and then drove up to Lake Tahoe in a thick fog which at least was better than a
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