The City by the Bay.

Shouldn’t it be “The City in the Bay” or “The City on the Bay”? It’s not BY the bay… Nonetheless, the entire bay area was spectacular. We stayed north of the bridge in Mill Valley for 5 days before moving over to a hotel at the Berkeley Marina. Before I rehash the incredibly “touristy” few days I spent in the bay, let’s just discuss the people who live there. On the east side of the bay (Oakland and Berkeley) everyone seemed to fall into two categories: law students and hippies. Sorry, I’m not sorry. No matter which side of the bay we found ourselves in, people were out and about at all times of day. Not just tourists. Locals. Which had us asking, “who do these people think they are running in the middle of the day?” and “what kinds of jobs do these a**holes have that they can afford the luxury of going to Sausalito at noon on a Thursday?” Oh wait…. I too am an a**hole who gets to go hiking around the Marin Headlands and hang out in Sausalito during the middle of the work week. WHOOPS. Sorry to those who were judged. I hope no feelings were hurt by the dirty glances we sent your way. I dove right in to being a tourist by going to Envolve Winery in Sonoma. There are no pictures from this part of the trip because, well, I got a little too tipsy and forgot to take any. For those who don’t know, I love the show The Bachelor. Ben Flanjik, former Bachelorette contestant and the last man to be “The Bachelor” owns Envolve. It’s located right in the heart of Sonoma. Naturally, only being about 30 minutes from my hotel – I had to check it out. The wines were delicious. More importantly, the two men (no, Ben was not there) who were teaching me about the wines were equally delicious. Well played, Envolve. You know your new target audience well. Now that I had visited wine country, and sampled many a fine Sauvignon Blanc, I was ready to spend the next day exploring all San Francisco had to offer. First stop, Western Addition Neighborhood, where the Painted Ladies houses are located… and more notably, where Full House was filmed.

The “Full House” house.

What are the chances Uncle Jesse is still inside? Or DJ’s boyfriend Steve? Onward and upward, or more correctly – downward.

Lombard Street

Driving down Lombard Street had me shouting out so many questions, “WHY DID THEY MAKE THE ROAD LIKE THIS?” “WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE ON THIS STREET??” “WHAT IS THAT PERSON WEARING?” It was pretty funny/unique/annoying/fun all rolled into five minutes. I love being a tourist. And so, we continued down the hills…

Pier 39

I could watch those sea lions all day. I was so entertained. When they randomly start barking and trying to fight each other, meanwhile all the others just lay there completely unphased… so in love. Then the fog rolled in, just in time for our ferry to Alcatraz.

(Imagine Sean Connery’s voice) The Rock.

As I walked around the island, exploring all there is to Alcatraz, I had goosebumps. I’m not sure if it was the weather or just the setting, but I couldn’t shake the heebie jeebies during our 2+ hours on the island.


The audio tour is narrated by former officers and inmates. I think this was the main reason for the extra eeriness that lingers as you walk the halls, go in the cells, etc. I had a particularly tough time walking on C-D Street, which is where Al Capone and other violent criminals were housed. On C-D Street men were not allowed out of their cells more than an hour a week and this is also where you find the solitary confinement cells.

C-D Street

I began to walk into one of the solitary confinement cells, but as I did one of the narrators was telling a story of how he overcame solitary. He would rip a button off of his coat while they were taking him from his usual cell, and then in the darkness of solitary he would throw it up in the air and try to find it. Needless to say, I got out of that cell so quick… I could hardly stand to be on C-D Street much longer after that.


After hearing all the tales of the Battle of Alcatraz, the other escape attempts (including the one where Clint Eastwood and company dug through the walls with spoons) it was time to leave this ice cold island.

The next day was spent almost entirely at the Marin Headlands. After getting denied at the lighthouse (it’s only open to the public F, Sa, Su and M… lame), we discovered old forts and a Nike missile site were also part of this National Park area.

Underground Nike Missile silo.

Like any curious tourist, we jumped on a tour and rode a missile down beneath the ground into the silo. No joke. The tour guide told us to hold onto a nuclear weapon so we wouldn’t fall off the elevator. I definitely didn’t wake up that day expecting this tour. It was pretty awesome though.

We ate lunch in Sausalito and headed back to the Marin Headlands to watch the Blue Angels practice runs for Fleet Week.

We had to pack up and head over to the east side of the bay, Berkeley, the next morning for our game at Cal. I enjoyed the city and the northwest part of the bay much more than the east. But we did get to stay at a hotel on the marina, with pretty awesome views of the bay.


About LissaFarrell

Professional tourist moonlighting as a marketing professional.
This entry was posted in Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The City by the Bay.

  1. xavigeis says:

    Nice pics of fabulous city, I love San Francisco!!

  2. Tiny Francisco says:

    Love your stories and travels!

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