Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today we got up and headed for San Francisco. One of the tips from the guidebooks is that the public library sponsors about two dozen free tours (http://sfcityguides.org) all over the city (donation suggested). One of the dozen or so things on our list to do this week is to visit the Ferry Building and there was a library tour at 12:00 today. We searched and searched for someplace to park once we got across the Bay Bridge (pictured here) but garages were full and all the spaces had two-hour limits. I was starting to freak out when we finally found a lot with spaces to park in and ran up to the tour group - already in progress but we squeaked in only a couple minutes late. Whew. It was a fabulous tour and I highly recommend this tour program.

The Ferry Building was built almost a hundred years ago and at its height about 100,000 people a day passed through it. This photo is of the central tower. There is also a wing on each side which extends about 250 feet. You can see what a beautiful building it is now but only 15 years ago it was in disrepair and you couldn't get this view because of the freeway which ran between where I was standing to take this and the front of the building. The 1989 earthquake damaged the freeway badly and it was decided to tear it down instead of repair it (Thank goodness!). Also, in the fifties the beautiful space inside was turned into offices. The skylights in the ceiling were covered by a fluorescent drop-ceiling and there were three floors of ugly cubicles. - I'm sure glad we got to see the restored version without the freeway running in front of it. It really is quite an impressive building. The bottom floor is now a bunch of boutique style shops and eateries.

We enjoyed the Ferry Building tour so much that we picked up another tour of Market Street that began about a half-hour after the first one ended. It was a lot of architecture and history and wasn't quite as good as the first tour but was still very enjoyable and informative. By the time the second tour was over, it was time for dinner, so we headed for our hotel and dinner.

After dinner, it was back downtown for a concert at the Fillmore. The Fillmore is an old rock venue that almost every well-known band has played at one time or another. Everyone from Cold Play to Willie Nelson to Norah Jones. It was VERY cool. We were there in plenty of time to get a primo place to stand - close enough to get sweat spray from the warm-up band. We got to see Blues Traveler with 998 of our new best friends. Although there were no-smoking signs prominently posted all over the place, there was enough pot being passed around for anyone close to the stage to get a really good contact high (Not a single cigarette, though. I'm sure they would have stopped that cold!). Nobody seemed very concerned about keeping it hidden, either - must be because it's San Francisco, CA, not Newport, OR. I'm sure glad Devin doesn't have to do drug testing for NOAA like he did with the Navy because he might have some 'splainin' to do. Sorry about the sucky picture but that's as good as it gets when there is no flash allowed and the entire floor is moving like a trampoline from all the people bouncing (and in some cases jumping) to the music. -The venue is on the second floor. It was AWESOME!

On the way home I had to stop and get a picture of this beautiful, lit up building. I think it's a court building or something. Can you tell I love old buildings?


Barb said...

Do you know how much I am hating you right now! Man, this sounds like so much fun and I am so jealous! Glad you are having such a good time.

Donna said...

San Francisco is a really fun town....glad you are enjoying yourself