on April 3, 2007
Thoughts of San Francisco conjure up many images, but perhaps none come as quickly as that of the Golden Gate Bridge. There are many ways to visit the bridge, and it can be viewed from multiple locations around SF. However, the only true way to experience San Francisco's most famous landmark is on foot.Upon arriving in San Francisco, we participated in a tour that drove across the bridge and viewed it from Vista Point. I've always heard about the infamous fog of San Francisco, but I never imagined what it was actually like. On the day of our tour the city was so foggy that we could barely see the top of the bridge even when we were standing on it. The most exciting part of this experience was hearing the fog horns on the bridge sound. The tour guide told us a few interesting facts about the bridge and gave us 10 to 15 minutes to look around. Everyone in my group was left feeling like they had yet to truly experience the Golden Gate.After this inadequate journey to the bridge we decided that we would return and walk the 1.7 miles across the bridge on a clearer day. After a few days, our opportunity finally presented itself. To avoid doubling our walking distance by traveling on foot both directions, we caught a taxi to Vista Point and walked toward the city. There is a toll involved with crossing the bridge and this cost is added to cab fare, making the charge a little more than what would typically be the case. However, it was only two to three dollars and did not deter us from choosing this transportation option.After arriving at Vista Point, we started across the bridge. The walkway is well paved and easy to navigate. It is separated from traffic, but we did have to watch out for bicyclists and joggers. As we walked, we were able to experience the famous red pillars and architectural designs up close and personally. We were also able to take numerous photos from all angles and marveled at multiple suicide hot line phones on the bridge to address the needs of people in distress. In addition to examining the intricacies of the bridge, we were able to see gorgeous views of the city and bay.As we reached the end of the bridge, the walkway wound toward a gift shop. In the shop we found several interesting items of Golden Gate memorabilia. Next to the shop was a small park that included a statue of the bridge's architect and a floral recreation of the bridge. I also obtained my favorite picture of the bridge from this vantage point. Had we not walked the bridge, we would have missed all of these details.The park is a little isolated, so you should bring a number for a cab in case you find no other options for traveling back into the city. Wear comfortable shoes and keep your camera focused!
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