Friday, May 22, 2009

RetroTravel: San Francisco

Summer has always been memorable to me. Especially when it comes to travel, it always provides "first times." My summer in 2001 was a living proof. And Friday the 13th prove to be quite lucky to me on that day as I spent my summer in visiting USA for the first time in its major cities in the west coast - San Francisco and Los Angeles in California. On my first visit to US, I visited San Francisco and Los Angeles for a 3-week vacation trip. On this post I will focus on my San Francisco trip. My Los Angeles trip will be on the part two of this post.

Our clan at the iconic at San Francisco's Gold Gate Bridge.
On April 13, it was Friday the 13th that I won't forget. I'm with my whole family on this vacation trip to US. Our plane to use for San Francisco had a technical problem that causes to use the Los Angeles plane that will fly on the night. What happened was since there are only few San Francisco bound passengers, they add it to Los Angeles bound passengers to make a one plane for the same flight. We boarded on the flight. It was long trip that were first bound to LAX (Los Angeles). We arrived by 6 pass in the evening. The flight will continue to go on to San Francisco but we decided to stay in Los Angeles as we have relatives to stay there. We both have relatives to stay in both places so there is no problem if our itineraries switch.

We just worry for the hotel reservation reserved to us by my uncle in San Francisco (SFO) because it was just an overnight accomodation. However, we inform them about what happened and we stay with my mom's cousin and my "ninang" in Gardena. But on the next day, we'll catch the first flight to SFO because it is really the first place where we should stay plus the hotel reserve for us was able to extend for the next day. We stay in Gardena for a night and meet my Ninang Yoly's family. She my moms' cousin. The next morning, April 14, we fly to San Francisco to Oakland International Airport via Southwest Airlines.

At the airport we were fetched by my Uncle Raul and his wife Tita Lucy, along with his sister Tita Lourdes and her husband Tito Gary. They are siblings of my father. On that same day, we tour the famous landmark of San Francisco - the Golden Gate Bridge. We cross the bridge to reach a park on the other side where we have good view of the bridge and island of Alcatraz by overlooking at the bay. It looks golden in color but in close look it is colored bright orange. The Golden Gate Bridge, located at the Golden Gate, is perhaps the most recognizable landmark in San Francisco and one of the most famous bridges in the United States, and has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The bridge spans the Golden Gate, a strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north, and is one of the major road routes into and out of the city.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco's iconic landmark.
By night we at one of restaurants in Fisherman's Wharf. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but their specialty was seafood dishes. I also remember one of the name of the dishes on the menu was Manila Clams which is difficult to eat. Fisherman's Wharf is San Francisco's most popular destination among travelers, with circa 12 million visitors flocking here each year. For over a century its historic waterfront was the hub of the city's fishing fleet and is still famous for the depth and variety of its harvest, as well as for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Today, it's also renowned for its numerous tourist attractions such as museums, souvenir stores, historical buildings and piers, and scenic vistas over the Bay. It is located at the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, along the San Francisco Bay. It runs all the way from Pier 39 through to Municipal Pier at the end of Aquatic Park. It is bordered by Van Ness Ave to the east and Bay St to the south.

We had an overnight after at Holiday Inn - the hotel my uncle reserve for the whole family. That's why didn't spend to sleep at my uncle's residence in San Leandro. At the hotel, my Aunt Lourdes and his husband Uncle Gary with their daugther Nikki stayed on the seperate room. The next day their going to fetch to their residence the next day in Yuba City.

It was almost a four hour drive to Yuba City. It is far from San Francisco. My aunt lives their with her family as her husband's employment is base there. Yuba City is in Sutter County, California in the Sacramento Valley. Yuba City is the principal city of the Yuba City Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Sutter County and Yuba County. The metro area's population is 164,138. It is the 21st largest metropolitan area in California ranked behind Redding and Chico.

It was Easter Sunday on that day. Uncle Gary cooked a whole roasted turkey to celebrate the feast of easter. It was my first time to taste a turkey. It taste like chicken but serving is huge since turkey is bigger than chicken. We spend a week in Yuba City before returning again to San Francisco to my uncle. I didn't see much of Yuba City tourist places but it looks quite a modern province in the USA. There are no farm or rice fields but houses are simple and the surroundings are quite. On our last day at Yuba City we were treated on a buffet restaurant.

Exploring Marina Park.
We return to San Francisco by April 20. We tour this time the city of San Leandro. This is where my uncle's residence is located. San Leandro is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. The climate of the city is mild throughout the year. Historically a town with dozens of huge cherry farms and a Spanish missionary ranch, San Leandro today is a rapidly growing city of worldwide industries and a suburb of Oakland. We had a stop at Marina Park, where there is a wide circular road for jogglers and a wide area overlooking the bay. It was so cold on that day. I was shivering as we walk a tour of the park. But it was a good place to comtemplate as it was quite and not crowdy.

Family bonding at San Francisco.
Marina Park, San Leandro, California.
We then visited Redwood City. We meet Uncle Loloy and his family. He is my mom's cousin. See, there are so many Filipinos in US. Redwood City is a suburb located on the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Redwood City is the county seat of San Mateo County. It was originally part of the Rancho de las Pulgas. In downtown, Redwood is a modern city with high-rise buildings, facilities and numerous establishments. Uncle Loloy treat us for a lunch and dinner. He also let us stay at their residence for a night before we left SFO. Of course, what happens next is never-ending sharing of stories of the good past. He also paid for our bus trip to Los Angeles via Greyhound on the next day since we already use our air tickets. But what comes along with are pasalubongs from them and for their relatives in our hometown in Cavite.

 With relatives from Redwood City.
Meeting other relatives living in San Francisco.
What I left in San Francisco are... the places that I haven't visit in San Francisco during my trip but wish I have been to. These tourist places like Alamo Square Park where the the row of Pink Ladies (Victorian houses) are located, Presidio where the Palace of Fine Arts and historical sites are located, Union Square and Yerba Buena Gardens where there are nearby shopping centers and mall for visitors to check around. A next time opportunity trip to visit those places is always welcome in my future trip plans. At least I saw the famous Golden Gate Bridge which is a real architectural wonder. That landmark is a must-see when visiting San Francisco.
Famed Victorian houses in San Francisco.
The trip has been a grand reunion with our relatives in the United States It was a good opportunity to meet other relatives as well. My pictures on this travel are not clear as during that time I don't have a digital camera yet but I hope you do appreciate them.

RetroTravel: San Francisco is a 2-part travel recollection of my first trip to USA last April 13-28, 2001. The second part is RetroTravel: Los Angeles in which I chronicle my first trip in Los Angeles. Both stories is part of my RetroTravel series in which I share my old trips in the past during the pre-digital era of pictures but memories of it are vivid and enjoyable.  


  1. Hi Ian..of course you can visit London next time...just keep on dreaming and one day it will come true. tc ..have a great weekend!

  2. i love this city and definitely will be back when i have the money! love the seafood in fisherman's wharf, even those that are sold on the side street. i never got the chance to see that "most photographed" houses in the city though

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  4. these photos as still valuable...nobody can turn back time except the memories of those pictures...take care ian..keep dreaming

  5. @Euroangel - thanks for the comment! Even though those pics were not digitals and scans only from films no one can equal the beautiful memories of travel I had experience there captured in those photos.

  6. San Francisco is in my all time favorite list which is popular all over the world. It is a stunning peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. Plenty of places are sited over there and I don’t think so that it has any place which can’t to see.
    Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Bay Waterfront, San Francisco Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf History & Nature are my most favorite places.


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