San Francisco Walking Tour

Sixty-seven percent of you wanted to read more about the walking tours we took.  (that’s about 4 of you!)  Walking tours in San Francisco are free, ours were both well attended.   On Saturday we walked a mile around the very flat Embarcadero area, and on Sunday we hiked UP Taylor Street to California and spent two hours exploring the old haunts of Alfred Hitchcock.  Fortunately we did that tour during the daylight hours, and there were no birds out, to speak of.  I’ll tell you more about that tour tomorrow, if you’re still interested.

You probably knew that these birds were dropped into a background.  They were actually  checking out the local garbage dump.  Sorry to ruin the terror so early into the post, but I’m terrorized frustrated today with my computer because it won’t process my pictures because of a disk error.  It’s driving me insane – oh no that’s Alfred that’s doing that!

The first tour would have been easier if we hadn’t just run from eating lunch at the top of Neiman Marcus Department Store in Union Square down to the Ferry Building to make it to the 2:00 tour on time.

Finding where we wanted to go was like going on a treasure hunt at a party.  We had our trusty map, and cell phone, AND we stopped an asked people along the way.  We prepared by buying a ticket to ride every type of public transportation available, but could we find a bus stop when we needed one?  They were all over, but people kept saying, “You can see the tower from here.”  I’d move to where they were standing and look, nod my head like I really saw it, but I didn’t.  After one person left, I asked Jean if she had seen it.  She FiNALLY admitted that she hadn’t!  🙂  We trudged on – rapidly, our lunch weighing us me down quite a bit.

Pirate Doll

We made it, and by the time shown on the famous clock tower, we were across the street from the Ferry Building and well on our way.  Crossing the street in the thirty years between the 1960s and 1990s would have been impossible because a freeway ran right through the Embarcadero area.  Not everyone wanted President Eisenhower’s federal money to create freeways connecting all major cities across the nation. One woman, Sue Bierman, a resident of the Haight-Ashbury, organized a rally to emphasize that not everyone in San Francisco wanted a cement city.  Melvina Reynolds wrote a song especially for the rally held to halt the effort to populate San Francisco with 10 lovely freeways planned for the area.

At this point on the tour I’m sorry, but got sidetracked by the natives enjoying themselves in Justin Herman Plaza across from the Ferry Building.  It was really Jean’s fault.  She said, “Look at those guys over there.  I think they’re loaded.”  So I focused my long lens on them until one of them smiled at me, and then I knew the gig was up, and I moved on to my next victim I mean sight on the tour.

Get a load of that old lady over there taking our pic!
Get a load of that old lady over there taking our pic!   

The tour guide said something about this lovely fountain designed by Armand Vaillancourt, and how controversial it was because it was made out of ugly concrete tubing.  I must have no taste in art.  I like it.

Vaillencourt Fountain

I missed all that because I was trying to catch a picture of the tightrope walker.  I wonder what kind of toes he had.  We meandered over to a park and stood next to a cherry tree.  She talked about the tree some, but by then a girl had tried her luck at the tightrope, and a young couple in love captured my light sensor.


Next we stopped in a park-like courtyard of an expensive condominium.  Just before we got there, Jean announced, “If I lived in San Francisco, I’d want to live right in the city.”  That was before the tour guide told us that normal rent ranged from $5,000 to $14,000 a MONTH!

We should have taken a clue from our hotel room.  I didn’t take pictures of it for you because we had it cluttered before we opened the door the first time.  Yes, it was SMALL, but in its defense, it was close to lots of cool places.

We ambled a bit farther on one street and stopped where there was a little alcove tucked into this awesome brick building.  There were lines and shadows all over the sidewalk, and sun sparkling on the windows, and I couldn’t hear a thing the young tour guide was reading from her book as I paced excitedly up and down the street somewhat near to the rest of the group.  Which of the three views of the building do you like best?  What is the name of the building?

"Just step away from the crowd, Marsha."
“Just step away from the crowd, Marsha.”

I must have embarrassed Jean with all my wanderings.  She left the group.  She will kill me if she does read this post because she hates having her picture taken – ever!  I just love this picture of her, though, and my background came out perfectly blurry.  I’m so proud of it!  We left the tour after that, and caught a cable car back to the hotel to get ready for our next event.

The man in back of me hanging out the side of the cable car, sort of urged me to not lean out so far.  I had a really hard time taking pictures because I had my coat on, and my camera was over my shoulder under my coat, and I was hanging on with one arm wrapped around the pole so I wouldn’t fall off.  Ding, ding – not me, the cable car!

So that was our first few hours in San Francisco.  We went to see Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running play in America in the evening then came back to our hotel, checked out the internet downstairs, then crashed.

Our room had TWIN beds!
Our room had TWIN beds!

There was no internet in our room the first night.  No cell phone service either.  By the way, Sally had a huge room with two huge beds and a jacuzzi tub in the same hotel when she went.  hmmmm


Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

30 thoughts on “San Francisco Walking Tour”

    1. Thanks Lori. And thanks to Eunice. It’s great when we meet blogging friends through other friends. I have made so many good friends that way. Eunice is a dear, and a great photographer! She got me started on Fine Arts America, and a FaceBook Fan page as well. 🙂 Nice to meet you! 🙂


  1. My daughter and I had a blast in San Fran several years ago. We took the ferry to Alcatrez and Angel Island, rode the cable car, saw China Town, etc. So much to see and do!!
    Looks like you all had a great time, too!


    1. We thought about doing the trip to Alcatraz. I’ve been to Angel Island, but my friend hasn’t . I’ve also take a couple of great China town tours. But even with 31/2 days, it’s not enough to do everything – and we walked a LOT! 🙂


  2. A very enjoyable tour Marsha. I doubt I shall ever get to SF but its great to do it virtually. Hmmm $14,000 would get you a very modest apartment in HK’s best districts. Welcome to one of the most expensive cities on Earth.


    1. A month???? How much do people earn there? Do you have to have 10 roommates? I make a fairly good income, but I don’t even have half that coming in every month! Yikes! That includes no eating, clothes or transportation! 🙂


      1. Income disparity in HK is a huge political issue here. Property is either out of reach ( rent or buy ) for most or they end up in a couple of hundred square feet (really). For a family. Real estate goes through boom and bust and we are well into bubble territory now. A decent apartment might be 2000 sq’ in Mid-Levels and cost maybe US$6-7m. And that is likely to be gross area. Useable area might be 70%. Older properties are higher useable area. Approx 60% of HK is probably greenery but always under pressure for development. It is a tiny area with 7m people living here and many mainlanders buying property for cash (possibly laundering ill gotten gains) force the market up. Supply and demand works. The market is rife with speculators. Not a happy situation. Tax is only 15% here but you need a huge down payment to buy. Interest rates are low FTB. But as said, for many owning property is a dream.


  3. Great job. I feel like I mislead you about the Hotel. There are sister hotels – The Beresford and Beresford Arms. We stayed at the Berersford Arms. They are owned by the same family. We are staying at the Beresford in Aug because the Arms is full. Sorry I was not a better travel agent!


  4. Ooooo, I just love San Francisco! We were just there a couple weekends ago and I’m ready to go back! There’s just something extra special about The City by the Bay. You really captured the sites.


    1. Next time you are getting ready to go, let me know if you want to meet up somewhere and take in a tour or museum together. (or just meet and have a cup of coffee…) I met Russel Ray in San Diego, and it was a lot of fun to meet a fellow blogger! 🙂 🙂


  5. Well that was a really fun tour, Marsha.So glad you didn’t fall off the cable car. Oh dear, I don’t like the sound of those freeway plans for this beautiful old city.


    1. You wouldn’t have been alone. They collected enough signatures to keep 7 of them from ever coming into existence! Your’s would have been right at the top, I think! 🙂


    1. Should I make up a story, or just say that I never looked at his face closely. I was totally taken by surprise when one of the boys smiled at me through my extremely magnified lens. Cameras are so ubiquitous, I thought I was invisible hiding behind it, but I guess not. I wonder how many pictures there are of me and of you floating around that we don’t even know someone took??? hmmmm I hope I looked pretty! 🙂 BTW Check out my newest post. I’m kind of sleepy, so I hope there aren’t any glaring errors. It’s on Amazon as well. 🙂


  6. I did not like “The Birds” at all and even now they freak me out a little. The rest of your trip sounds amazing. Ok, I’ll admit it…it would be pretty cool to see where Alfred used to hang out.


  7. Sounds like a great afternoon Marsha, I am with you, I love those concrete things too. Though you had me laughing in the first couple of lines, the number of people who comment is testament that more than 4 people want to know.


  8. Back in 1999, as part of my fifth anniversary with Jim, we went to San Francisco where I did the Bay to Breakers. I was never so sore in my life. Eight miles or so from the bay to the ocean. I haven’t even been back to San Francisco since then and we used to go every year!


    1. haha I wasn’t sore, but I couldn’t go uphill very fast! 🙂 I don’t go there very often. I think you got at least 40 of your 400 likes right here, RR. Thank you so much! 🙂


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