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San Francisco: Architectural beauty @ Palace of Fine Arts

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Published on Mar 18, 2008

Our last day in San Francisco, February 25, 2008, was rapidly coming to an end. After an amazing tour of infamous Alcatraz Island and its former maximum security prison we enjoyed a nice lunch in the sun at Pier 39. We took up a sunny spot right in front of the historic Italian-built carousel to savour our selection of French fries and crepes.

Then we had to hurry because by this time it was past 3 pm and we still wanted to do a bicycle tour of San Francisco's northern coastline and to explore Golden Gate Park. So we rushed over to Bay City Bike Rental where we took out two comfortable cruiser bikes and started our second bicycle tour of San Francisco.

In the sunshine we cruised past Fort Mason Center and the Marina District. We then stopped off at Palace of Fine Arts, one of San Francisco's most popular destinations and the only remainder of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. Unfortunately the Rotunda was under renovation, but the beautifully carved Corinthian columns and the scenic pond still provided plenty of opportunities for passionate photographers.

On we continued past Crissy Field and up a steep hill to the Fort Point Lookout, location of the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we continued uphill on Lincoln Boulevard, high above Baker Beach and China Beach to Land's End where a wooden lookout platform offered a phenomenal view of the Golden Gate Bridge. After taking a rest in beautiful Lincoln Park (which features a reasonably priced municipal golf course with amazing Pacific Ocean views) we continued past the Palace of the Legion of Honor, a European art museum financed by a sugar heiress. Then we continued southwards into Golden Gate Park.on steep 47th Avenue

By this time it was after 5 pm and we knew our bicycles had to be back by 6 pm, so we had no choice but to race through the park. I figured this will be a full-day destination for my next San Francisco trip which should allow me to explore all the features of this fine urban park in great detail. We made our way up the steep climb of Arguello Street and came down through the Presidio, a former military area that is now a beautiful wooded oasis in the city.

On the way back we caught some nice sunset shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. We were a bit late returning our bikes, but the folks at Bay City Bike were quite nice about it and our two bicycle rides in San Francisco were definitely major highlights of our entire trip.

We spent our last evening at a great Mexican eatery called Colibri, not far from Union Square where we got to sample all sorts of authentic dishes from Central Mexico. The place even features more than 350 varieties of Mexican tequila. A fitting end to our much too short 4.5 days in San Francisco!

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