Last year when we were doing the house exchange in Paris, one of my nieces came and stayed with us for a couple of days. She invited us to stay with her in Alemeda on one of our future trips to Australia. When Marianne said she wanted to visit Seattle it was not too much of a stretch for us to realize we could drive down the coast, stay with Alice and then fly on to Australia.
Alice has a ground floor apartment across the street from the bay. This is the early morning reflection from house windows in what I think is the Candlestick park area.
The early morning grunge cloud.
An amazing number of people exercise by the walking or running along this path beside the bay. The ground is bay fill and is quite flat.
Later in the morning. I really is nice sitting here typing the blog and when I look up, this is the view. Because it is close to the water, the area always gets a breeze and it never gets very hot. We sat outside to eat breakfast this morning.
Alice took us for a drive around Alemeda before we would take the ferry over to SFO. It is a very peaceful, relaxed and safe neighborhood. Traffic moves very sedately. This is the kind of place where you would not rev your engine because it would just feel wrong.
I love these streets where the trees form a canopy.
There are lots of older Victorian style houses.
And modern houses of course. Prices are high by east coast standards, even with the financial crisis.
We arrived at the docks to catch the ferry.
SFO in the distance.
A much larger crowd of people were waiting to catch the ferry. By chance, the first two races of the America's Cup were to be sailed that day. Alice has a friend who lives in an apartment building on top of a hill downtown near the bay and we had been invited to watch the races from the top of the 10 story building. More about that later.
The ferry arriving. It is a catamaran design and consequently can travel quite quickly, probably 40 mph. The queue of people waiting to board was quite long and we were among the last to be allowed on-board.
A huge cruise ship that had arrived for the passengers to watch the races.
The old and new Bay Bridge. This is the section between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland. The old bridge has two levels of roadway. Those old enough to remember the 1989 earthquake will remember that part of the upper level road fell onto the lower level road.
The western section between the island and SFO.
Downtown SFO on a beautiful day. We seem to have brought hot weather with us wherever we have traveled this year and this day was no exception with an expected temperature in the high 80's.
The clock tower of the Ferry Building For years the building was effectively cut off from the city by the Embarcadero Freeway but it was demolished after the 1989 earthquake.
The Ferry Building is now a popular tourist destination and its market brings in lots of locals as well.
Some of the stalls were handing out samples of peaches. The sample I received was one of the best tasting peaches I have ever eaten.
Inside the hall of the Ferry Building.
Heirloom tomatoes. We've had a few of them on this trip. The tastes of the various tomato types can be quite different but they are all really good. I still believe that the reason that food tastes so good on the west coast is that the ingredients are so good.
A bi-plane doing aerobatics to entertain the crowd waiting for the boat races to start. I tried to convince Alice and Marianne that with my vast flying experience I knew that this was relatively easy to do but somehow they didn't believe me,
An unusual way to tour the city. Alice reckoned she would never drive something this small in SFO traffic. It would be too dangerous.
The seats could be moved around the ring so that you could form little groups.
Somebody was making mist between the wharves to show the principles of how mother nature could do it all by herself.
The Transamerica Pyramid. It is still the tallest building in SFO.
The support vessels for the America's Cup. There will be a separate blog for that experience.
I was intrigued by the clear plastic chairs.
Marianne and Alice.
After the races we walked back to the wharves to catch the ferry back. This was a chance to take a look at some more of SFO. It's a fascinating place.
We walked past Lombard Street with the cars coming down the windy road.
One of the cable cars.
Saints Peter And Paul Church. The Wikipedia article is interesting for the films that have used it as a location. I bet you never knew that part of the 10 Commandments was filmed here.
Sea lions making a dreadful din with their honking.
A ferry arrives.
The enormous cruise liner leaves. When it was built in 1998 it was the largest cruise ship.
Of course it was not the only large vessel on the bay, You can see one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
It had been a long day in the heat and it was good to be back on the ferry to return to Alemeda.
The ferry slowly passed this huge container ship. It was enormous at 294 meters long. As I type this blog it has already dropped off its cargo and is already out to sea. If you want to see where ships are in the world, take a look at this site.
So it was a magnificent day. When I planned this trip six months ago I never foresaw seeing some America's Cup races. It just shows you can be lucky sometimes.