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Thursday 3 July 2014

Cable Cars, Ribbons and Hearts

No visit to San Francisco is complete without a ride on the famous cable cars. Last time my parents visited us from Australia we somehow missed taking a ride on a cable car so this time we made sure to fit it in.

Riding the cable cars is definitely a fun novelty, especially if you get to stand on the outside, however as it's at the top of most tourists' "must do" lists there can be a long wait. To avoid the long queues we always avoid the Powell/Mason and Powell/Hyde lines and hop on the California line. While the California line doesn't take passengers to popular tourist destinations like Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square or Lombard Street it does have some of the most breathtaking views over the Bay and, in particular, the Bay Bridge. And the best bit? There's never a queue to hop on! 

My parents were keen to ride a cable car so we took the California line from the start of its route at Market & California Streets. As there were very few people riding we nabbed the popular outside seats at the back of the car. This is the best place to sit to take in the views. My Dad and Ava stood on the outside. Ava had never stood on the outside of the cable car before and was a little nervous to begin with. In no time at all she was hanging off the side confidently like a pro - if there were such a thing as a professional cable car hangeroner. Or if that were even such a word!

We hopped off the cable car at the top of Nob Hill to visit Grace Cathedral. You may remember my post from a while back about the Graced with Light art installation at Grace Cathedral (you can see it here). The installation was originally supposed to be taken down months ago but due to its popularity they extended it through to August. My Mum was eager to see it and was pretty happy when we found out that it had been extended through their stay.

Last time we visited Grace Cathedral it was later in the afternoon and the low sun shining through the windows gave everything a warm glow. This time around we visited around noon and the sun was overhead. This gave the installation a different look; much cooler and bluer than our last visit. While it was still a beautiful sight to behold, having also seen it in the afternoon I'd definitely recommend visiting later in the day for the full effect.

Just like our last visit the girls enjoyed following the labyrinth on the cathedral floor. They were pretty pleased that Mamma and Papa joined in too!

From the Grace Cathedral we headed a block back down California Street to the Fairmont Hotel. I'd seen a friend's recent photo of something in the lobby area and I was keen to check it out. Each year at Christmas time we've visited the Fairmont to see the giant gingerbread house. This time around there was a costume and giant millinery construction from long running San Francisco musical revue Beach Blanket Babylon. We regularly see posters for the show on BART and Lola is always in awe of the costumes. She's keen to go see the show but I figure it's probably not really aimed at three year olds! Seeing one of the costumes in real life would have to do for now. Needless to say Lola was in awe of the beautiful dress - although she would've preferred to see the pink one, apparently. 

We then headed a few blocks down Mason Street to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. We've also been here before (you can see our last visit here) and I knew my parents would be interested in seeing how the cable cars work and learning a little of the history.

From the Cable Car Museum we hopped on a cable car headed back towards the turnaround on Market Street. Now, I mentioned before that I always suggest that visitors take the California line to experience a cable car ride without the queues. The other way to avoid the queues is to hop on one of the Powell lines mid route. There are always huge queues at the turnarounds at both ends, however there's rarely much of a wait if you hop on part way along. I have no idea where all of those tourists lining up at the ends of the line get off but most of them seem to be gone by the middle of the route! 

We took the cable car to the end of the line then headed to Union Square to check out the hearts. If you've been reading Little Hiccups for a while you'll know that Ava and Lola are pretty obsessed with the hearts in Union Square. Ok, maybe me too. The hearts change every so often (apart from the one permanent heart) so the ones currently on display were new to my parents. In fact, one of them was even new to Ava. The blue floral heart below is Ava and Lola's new favourite - although nothing can beat the ice cream sundae heart that it replaced. You can see it here. It's pretty awesome.

Earlier in the day we had stopped by the Ferry Building for coffee and snacks. Lola remembered that that there was a store in the Ferry Building selling mealworms (La Cocina) and she was super keen to get her hands on a pack - partly to freak Mamma and Papa out but mostly because she loves eating mealworms. I know, it sounds gross right. You can see my original post about Lola's love of mealworms here. Anyway, while us grown ups sat in a cafe drinking coffee and eating regular food (i.e. not bugs!) Lola tucked into a pack of Don Bugito chocolate covered "Super Worms". This time around Ava decided to give them a try and decided she liked them too. So now I have two little girls who keep asking to eat worms!

We ended the day with some more shopping. Most consumer goods (clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, pretty much everything else...) are very expensive in Australia so my parents had been doing a little bargain shopping while they were with us. Even at full price most items are far cheaper in America than Australia. Of course, there's always a sale here so they nabbed quite a few bargains. And new shoes for me too - thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Love the photo of the girls and your parents under the installations! Love the art - ethereal!


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