Our first day we spent just walking around a bit. What a beautiful and mountaineous city! We really liked the cable cars and it was interesting to have a look at Alcatraz from the shore. But the main attraction for me definitively was Pier 39! The seals and sealions there are really a must see! The sealions lie there lazyly. They are trying to take a nap or bath themselves in the sun. But their peace is disturbed by the seals who simply walk over them or fight noisily with each other, usually trying to throw each other into the water. From time to time one of the sealions has enough and stands up majestically roaring loudly. In return the now amused looking seals immediately bark back. It's really a spectacle we could watch for a long time!
We drove along Highway 1 and stopped at several beaches. They are really very beautiful and somehow every beach looked totally different (one was very steep, one had black sand, one had nice fine grained yellow sand, another yellow sand but with bigger grains, still another was a pebble beach and then there was rocky coast inbetween..). But the water really is cooold there!!
Finally we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. It's really an impressive bridge. Later we drove around Lincoln Boulevard and walked along Baker Beach, then we drove through a rather rich looking neighbourhood before we went again to those beautiful beaches from the day before.
I must admit that in the beginning I had some security concerns. Even though San Francisco wasn't in the top 3 in the murders per year statistics (actually I don't know its rank, I only know that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles were first in 2003) it's still a big city and in the US that always means you need to be especially careful. The security tips we got from the car rental also weren't exactly reassuring to us (those tips are e.g. not to stop on the road to read the map, if you approach your parked car first look whether nobody hides behind or under the car, don't drive with the windows open etc.). Our hotel provided us with a very good and detailed map and they always gave us very good driving directions. They also gave us a toll free telephone number of our hotel we should call immediately in case we lost our way. We hadn't been used to such security alerts so it really worried us a bit in the beginning. But well, the sun was shining and many people drove with open windows and didn't seem to be too concerned at all so finally I relaxed too.
And I also want to mention here that later on our flight back from Maui to Vancouver Island we spent another night in San Francisco and when we arrived late at night and hastily ran for our bus to the hotel I totally forgot my laptop with all my pictures and left it in the trolley. Fortunately a very kind American man ran after us and stopped the bus to give us our laptop. Thank you so very much! :) Americans are really very friendly and helpful people!
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