As promised, this is the second segment of three posts from the San Francisco trip. This includes snippets of places the boyfriend and I visited as enthusiastic tourists.
One of the first spots we stopped at was Hearst Castle. Built in 1919, the grandiose mansion sits atop a hill overlooking the Pacific in San Simeon. We had booked the Upper Rooms tour, which took us around the guestrooms, bedrooms, and study of the Casa Grande (AKA the main house of the estate). These rooms featured an eclectic assortment of worldly goods, antiques, pastiches, and centuries-old Italian ceilings. The mere length of time it took for William Hearst and architect Julia Morgan to plan and build is impressive; However, it’s only after seeing the attention to detail, engineering, and cultural influences does one really begin to appreciate the castle’s characteristics. Whether you’re an avid follower of architecture or just a curious guest, Hearst Castle is truly an incredible location to visit.
Although we had reserved the visit for late morning, the day was an unusually cool June gloom. Thus, the lookouts revealed glimpses of a few California Oaks and vast blankets of white. Having seen Hearst Castle before in bright, sunny weather, the rolling fog provided a very different experience. If anything, it made the place seem more mystic – and provided for even better photos!
Further along PCH in Big Sur, one can find McWay Falls. It is famed for being one of the few waterfalls that cascades directly into the ocean. While you cannot access the waterfall at ground level, you can walk along an extremely short trail to see the falls.
We went on a short hike with a few friends near the Montalvo Arts Center.
One of San Francisco’s classical structures, the Palace of Fine Arts, is a renovated remnant from the Panama-Pacific International Expo in 1915. With a monumental rotunda and artificial lagoon, the stroll through this place was lovely and picturesque.
This view is from a now decrepit social hall on Alcatraz Island. The harsh wind and sea conditions of the island have eroded many of the structures, so much of the island is closed off to visitors.
Apparently, Alcatraz Island is home to large flocks of birds, including cormorants, egrets, and seagulls, and we came at the peak of breeding season! Unfortunately, this also meant some parts of the island smelled heavily of guano.
Most people visit The Rock for the federal penitentiary. Inside, are four blocks of cells, which housed some of the most notorious criminals during the height of the Prohibition. Audio tours guided you throughout most of the prison building and narrated stories of its felons, escape attempts, and lifestyle.
After a previous failed attempt to visit Fort Point, we managed to catch the last 15 minutes before closing. Built right before the Civil War, the fort offers a unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge from below.
Finally, the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco – the Transamerica Pyramid.
I hope you enjoyed the peeks into my trip so far. Thanks for viewing!