Thursday, August 07, 2008

California: Coit Tower

After walking almost 7 miles on the Sunday morning of our vacation, Chad and I were obviously pretty tired. However, because we aren't people who generally like to hang out in our hotel room while traveling, we only spent an hour or so resting before heading back out on the town. Our next stop: Coit Tower. We walked down to a nearby bus stop and took the F-Line, which is actually not a bus at all but a historic streetcar. It was a fun experience, but once again the thing was so packed you could barely move!

We jumped off the F-Line less than a half mile from our destination; the only problem was that Coit Tower is smack on top of Telegraph Hill, a hill so steep that you climb stairs to get to the top. It was kind of an interesting climb, since the "street" that goes up to the tower is more like an alley that goes behind people's houses, so you're basically climbing the stairs up into their yards. I can't imagine living in an area like that which doesn't have a driveway or a street to park on or anything. It looked like they would have to park on a street that wrapped around the hill and then walk up to their front door. Can you imagine bringing home the groceries that way?

Anyway, we made it to Coit Tower and went into the gift shop to buy our tickets to go up to the top. The gift shop smelled pretty bizarre--not in a good way. We bought our tickets and then stood in line for several minutes before climbing onto the ricketiest, tiniest, smelliest little elevator you've ever seen. It really smelled like a dirty cat litter box. I honestly couldn't believe Chad got on it at all--it looked so not safe. Had there been a stairwell that went all the way to the top, we most certainly would have taken it, but apparently there were no working stairs in the place!

Thankfully, we made it to the top in one piece and the beautiful views from atop the city were spectacular. You could see all the sites of San Francisco perfectly from a birds-eye view--it was almost like looking at a map in some ways. We took tons of pictures, none of which really turned out that great because they were all taken through a pane of dirty plexiglass. It appeared that the plexiglass wasn't a part of the original structure, and despite the fact that it obstructed the view somewhat, I could totally see why it was necessary. The wind was so fierce that high up on the hill, it almost felt like the tower was swaying back and forth. The wind whistled through the cracks in the windows so loudly, I wondered if it wouldn't blow you over completely if the windows hadn't been there at all!

After saying a few prayers for elevator safety we held our breath and traveled back down to solid ground. We took one more picture of Coit Tower from the outside just to get some perspective. It doesn't look that big from this angle, but those tiny little windows in groups of 3 at the top are the windows we were looking out in this picture! It's much taller than I think it looks here!

As we sat by this statue of some important person we consulted our map and headed off on our next adventure--one that we only decided on after seeing it from a distance from the top of the tower!


Tish said...

ok kim i'm completely confused. are you still in cali right now? lol...

how long were you/are you on vacation for?

kjl said...

Sorry to have caused confusion! We were only in California for a week, but there was so much about our trip that I wanted to blog about, and I just didn't have time to do it all at once. I've just been posting the "Cali" series as I have time in between regular life posts! :)

Tish said...

ah...i see. smart : )