Start at Ghirardelli Square. That’s right. I got this walk started with ice cream and a bag full of chocolate. Ten thousand steps later I was strolling through the Ferry Building.
In the middle, we took a boat ride to Sausalito and wandered past shops and into a restaurant for something cool to drink. And catch a few rays. The sun was shining over Sausalito. It hid behind thick dark clouds in San Francisco. And we watched the fog roll over the hills toward Sausalito from the ferry back to San Francisco.
So, not my usual 10,000-step tour. But what a scenic tour with lots to explore and discover. We wandered through the Boudin Bakery to buy a sourdough loaf for later and to take a tour high above the bakers. We saw the sea lions lounging on Pier 39 and sailed past Alcatraz. Because we stayed by the water, we avoided the hills of San Francisco — my knees thanked me.
Usually when I start a 10,000 step walk, the scenery is familiar, boring even: my own neighborhood, a local park, a local mall, Baltimore city streets. Take a walk on vacation and everything is fresh and interesting. This walk was particularly invigorating — and exhausting. We had already walked 10,000 steps that very day! But we trudged on anyway. I had set a goal and was going to get to the Ferry Building. This historic structure houses a wonderful farmer’s market even as it continues its service to the numerous ferries that ply the waters of the bay.
The trip to Sausalito wasn’t in our original plans. But as we walked past the ticket counter for the Blue and Gold Ferry, it seemed like a brilliant idea. A 30-minute cruise and a couple of hours in sunny Sausalito. We stopped for a drink in one of the restaurants along the waterfront, slipped into a shop or two and then rode the ferry back — stopping for a few minutes for that big freighter pictured in the photo at the top of the page.
San Francisco is a busy place. A hilly place. It can be bewildering — so much to do and see. A walk along the waterfront puts it all in perspective. How the city hugs the shoreline. The Coit Tower and Transamerica Building that punctuate the skyline. The mix of modern, some under construction with historic buildings that survived earthquakes and fire. San Francisco’s history began at the waterfront. So it’s where I wanted to be. For 10,000 steps.
ⓒ Photos and text Mary K. Tilghman