Hyde Street Pier

DSC_6274 I have so many childhood memories of walking through the tourist filled piers of Fisherman's Wharf with my latchkey program, surrounded by souvenir shops selling endless junk. So when figuring out what we wanted to do in San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf was definitely at the way bottom of the list.

But there's a naval history side of Fisherman's Wharf that gets buried under all the tourist attractions (aquarium! boat ride! Ripley's Believe it or not!), and our host Lisa highly recommended we check out the Maritime Museum (free) and also Hyde Street Pier ($10 entry, but good for 3 days). Knowing that I really wanted to avoid "crap", she thought this would be a great place for us to wander around.

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Hyde Street Pier is a historic ferry pier, where you can actually go onto some of the historic ships and see all their inner workings. Reluctantly, I paid the $10 admission so we could actually get on the boats (I am so cheap, lol), but I definitely would have been more regretful not going after having such a great experience.

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The Balclutha especially, pictured above and below, had such a robust history: it sailed to Europe before the Panama Canal, meaning it had to go all the way around South America. Crazy to think about.  The cargo hold was MASSIVE, which I guess makes sense if you're sailing all the way around the world, but still wildly impressive to someone unfamiliar with the shipping industry.

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We saw a lone seal as we were getting off of the Hercules, and I thought it was fitting since we had visited the Marine Mammal Center earlier that morning. So cute!

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Marin Headlands

DSC_6211 Visitors to the city often make their way to the Golden Gate Bridge, and some even make their way over it and back. But very few actually venture into Marin Headlands, a beautiful recreational area on a hilly peninsula a few miles past the bridge.

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We had the great fortune of a host who not only drove us over the bridge, but also took us down a few winding roads to the Marin Marine Mammal Center and Rodeo Beach. Lisa, pictured below, knew all the great spots to take us and we were so thankful to be her guests!

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The Marin Marine Mammal Center is not an aquarium or zoo; it is a research center that publishes papers on topics such as cancer prevalence among seals and also the implications of sea pollutants on humans. There is an observation deck that is free and open to the public, and you get to see biologists and volunteers working with malnourished seals. That day in particular was weighing day, so we got to see a bunch of cute seals being carted to and from the scale.

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Our last stop was Rodeo Beach. It was a windy and brisk day, but there were still lots of surfers out. John and I both lusted after their carefree lifestyles, allowing them to go surfing on a Tuesday morning. Maybe in our next lives...

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Facebook

DSC_6193 My friend Ryan works at Facebook and gave us a tour. It's always cool to see the people behind a product, especially a site that is as ubiquitous as Facebook. I caught a glimpse of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, but was quickly scolded by security when trying to take a picture.

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The food perks were seriously nonstop. Not only did I have amazing fresh squeezed orange juice with my hot breakfast, but there was a rooftop cafe that squeezed other fancy juice. I was pretty ecstatic to get a pineapple-ginger-pear juice made right in front of me with some fancy juicing machine. And I was even more ecstatic when I didn't have to hand over $7! Free food for the win.

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We got from building to building on the Facebook trams. The Facebook campus is so young and modern, and I understand why so many people enjoy working there.

Thanks Ryan for showing us around at Facebook!

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