Day #44 - Ding Ding Ding Went the...

TROLLEY!! Yes, today was the day we rode the famous San Francisco cable cars. In fact today was a very touristy day for us where we ticked off a number of "must sees" in this great city.

The day started with us walking to City Hall. This is a magnificent " American Renaissance" building and it's dome is taller than that of the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. by 42 feet nonetheless (still not as tall as St. Paul's Cathedral though: 111m vs 94m). The original was destroyed in 1906 quake and it took just two years to rebuild this replacement.

We then continued our walk and found ourselves in Union Square which got its name because it was once used for rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War. Around the square are some expensive and famous shops such as Tiffany's, Gucci and Macy's. At the very top of Macy's is a famous branch of The Cheesecake Factory and this was on my list of "To Dos" while we were in America, having heard all about it in The Big Bang Theory. So James very kindly took me for lunch here where we enjoyed a lovely meal with a great view of the down onto the square.

Yes, that's a Christmas tree. Halloween has been; it's Christmas all the way now!

We both realised that we really ought to be cutting back on the calories so it was really nice and refreshing to see that the restaurant offered a "SkinnyLicious" menu with items designed to have lower calories - yes, they even have a SkinnyLicious Cheesecake with around half the calories of a regular one. I will let the food pictures speak for themselves, but I will say that everything was delicious! We also had a curious pigeon as an audience while we ate (it was separated from us by a glass balustrade).

After our amazing lunch, we then wanted to do some more walking but we found ourselves boarding the world famous cable cars instead! Well, there was a station terminal just down from the square so it was an easy decision. 

These classic trams are the world's last manually operated cable car system and  they're still going strong over 150 years after they were invented! The cable cars are powered by a massive underground cable system that runs for over six miles. The section we rode has a cable over 2.7 miles in length. Cable car gripmen are skilled operators who use a lever to grip and release the cable, controlling the speed and direction of the car. We rode our car in the time-honoured way - hanging off the side as it rose up the streets and then down the other side. We caught a spectacular view of Alcatraz Island being enveloped by the incoming fog, near the end of our trip. Magical.

We disembarked near Fisherman's Wharf where we were on Day #40 and saw The Golden Gate bridge too had been swallowed by the ocean fog! There were also some tall ships that caught our eye. 

Our next "must see" was Lombard Street. This is the most crooked street in the world, with eight hairpin turns in a single block! The street was originally too steep for cars, so in 1922, residents decided to add the switchbacks to make it safer. It's a hard landmark to take a photo of, so I've included an aerial shot off the official website alongside my own effort. We passed the top of the street on our cable car ride and so didn't feel the need to climb all the way to the top!

Next up was a nice wander through some streets to Washington Square, one of the first parks in the city, established in 1847. One one side is Peter and Paul Church (which looks more like a cathedral). The church and the square feature in scenes from the 1971 movie, Dirty Harry. So that's another movie location ticked off!

We also took the opportunity to snag a great picture of the 48 story Transamerica Pyramid, since one street offered a great view point. 

Tonights food was inspired by our day. We passed through Chinatown on our cable car ride and so we just had to order in Chinese!


  1. We are LOVING the Roaming Romeos journey!! So brilliant to live vicariously through you two. It's raining in Bristol, you'll be pleased to know! Huge love - Amy & Sarah xxx

  2. Aww sorry about the rain! We had a fantastic sunset at Aunty Sue's last night. So glad you're enjoying the blog!

  3. Loving your adventures! Keep having fun. Eleanor


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