Easy does it through the city of icons
If you want to escape the chowder crowds, here are four of San Francisco’s must- see tourist spots, writes Jason Nahrung
1 The Golden Gate Bridge
SAN Francisco is one of America’s most charming cities, boasting stunning architecture, fabulous food and icons aplenty.
But there can come a time when you’ve reached your fill of chowder, you’re tired of hanging off crowded cable cars, the rainbow hues of Haight Ashbury have lost their lustre, and you just want to escape.
Here are four easy outings to help ease the pressure while still offering worthy entries in your travel diary. The Golden Gate Bridge, linking San Francisco to Marin County to the north, is easily reached on public transport, and is well worth the effort. The bridge was a marvel of engineering when it opened in May 1937, not just for coming in early and under budget, but for putting paid to critics who said the Golden Gate Strait, with its troublesome currents and high winds, could not be bridged.
The suspension bridge, about 2.7km long ( almost 2km in its middle span) and five traffic lanes wide, was a record-breaker in its day ( it is now the ninth-longest suspension bridge in the world), and remains a sight, boasting Art Deco stylings and enough wire in its two main cables to circle the equator three times. It contains about 1.2 million rivets. The distinctive colour – international orange – was chosen by Irving Morrow, the architect who gave the bridge its distinctive features, to help it complement the nearby hills and stand out to ships, especially when the notorious San Francisco fog comes rolling across the bay.
We walked through the scenic Fort Mason from Fishermans Wharf to catch a local bus to and from the bridge. We found a strong, chill wind blowing through the wires, and a spectacular view of the city, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge, even if the soundtrack was the constant engine noise and the rhythmic thud of wheels passing over expansion gaps. A similarly striking view is said to be had from the Marin County side.
The bridge isn’t without its dark side: a few signs aiming to deter jumpers are evidence that the bridge,