The Castle Inn is well situated some ten blocks above Fisherman’s Wharf. It looks like a multi-story car park from outside, with an elevator to the little ‘Office’ and then two more floors up to our room. Breakfast is rudimentary and set out on a shelf in the office so that you take your ultra-sweet raisin snail and tangerine, plus your orange juice and coffee in paper mugs up to your room on a tray. As usual there was a good coffeemaker in the room and if you used a tea bag it also made tea. Milk was more difficult.
Armed with a map helpfully annotated by the proprietor, we walked down to the beach for our first view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, table in the sun for ice cream & coke and then invested $50 each in tickets for the hop-on/hop-off open-topped Big Bus circuit for the next day (probably not really worth it)
So, next day, Wednesday 18th, we made an early start, walking 16 blocks to pick up the bus at Union Square, (on the way dropping off the licence document which we had swept out of the glove compartment of the rental car when we cleared it of our things).
Our planned first stop was the Academy of Sciences Building but when we got to the desk we decided $43 each for a relatively quick visit was far too much and instead visited the serenely enchanting Japanese Garden nearby
The next stage of the bus journey took us across the Golden Gate Bridge, where a strong headwind tore at hats and hearing aids, but had little effect on the thick photochemical haze.
From the viewpoint on the far side, where we got off to look around, the city was little more than a deeper grey shape in the mist.
After completing our bus tour…
Eight miles walking in the day.
Thursday felt like a bonus day because our Coastal Starlight train did not leave until 10 in the evening.
…to the Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA for short) which had reopened after major modifications a few days earlier.
After that we opted to walk back to the wharf area where we paid a leisurely visit to the splendid aquarium, which featured perspex tunnels amongst shoals of all sizes and species of sea creatures.
Then we read, lazed and explored boutiques in the crazy environment of Pier 39…
…until it was time for dinner.