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Travel San Francisco - New in town, taking BART train from airport

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Published on Mar 6, 2008

Day 1 of our San Francisco trip, February 21, 2008, started with a 4:50 am wake-up call. Following a quick overnight stay close to the Buffalo Airport we got going early to reach the destination of our 5-day winter getaway: San Francisco. After a quick stopover at Cincinnati Airport, where we had to run to the gate to catch our connection flight, we arrived in San Francisco at about 11 am. Unfortunately the weather was not very welcoming: it was drizzly, grey and cold. But nonetheless, we bravely made our way with all our luggage into the city, using all sorts of public transit: first the Airtrain, then the BART commuter railway system, then a couple of municipal buses through a fairly rough neighbourhood (the Tenderloin) to get to our hotel: the Queen Anne Hotel, a Victorian-era heritage property close to the Japantown area.

After settling in I got a tour from the manager who showed me many of the 48 uniquely decorated rooms and explained that this used to be a girls' finishing school. Many antique touches adorn this historic family-owned hotel: from antique cast iron stoves, to original plaster ceiling medallions to stained glass windows, this historic property has been beautifully preserved and adapted.

Finally in the late afternoon we were ready to start exploring the city. We hopped into the 47 bus on Van Ness to get to San Francisco's northern waterfront and got off at Bay Street, close to Fort Mason Center. We ventured out to the shoreline from where we had a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the north side of San Francisco Bay, the Aquatic Park as well as Alcatraz Island. From here we made our way east past famous Ghirardelli Square and many of the retail stores and art galleries that make up the Fisherman's Wharf district.

After admiring one of the most popular attractions at Pier 39, the colony of sea lions, we headed out all the way to the end of Pier 39, to Neptune's Palace, for dinner. Being located at the tip of the pier, this restaurant has one of the most fabulous views of San Francisco Bay. When we got there it was dark, of course, but it was a great place to warm up our chilled bones with a tasty seafood dinner.

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