Sometimes we are so busy with our daily lives, that we forget how much fun it can be to slow down, and explore the world at our own doorstep.

Yesterday I got to do just that for a few hours. My colleagues and I took an afternoon off work to go bo

nd in the city! We took a BART train from Oakland, traveled under the bay to San Francisco, and met Lily, an Urban Adventures tour guide, at the Ferry Building to embark on the Embarcadero, Ferry Building and Fortunes Tour.

old and new in San Francisco

We first took some time to look across the bay to Treasure Island as Lily explained its 1939 World Fair origins. Then we explored the Ferry Building, indulging our lunchtime appetites with some of the great fare on offer – personally I recommend the Turkey Pot Pies offered by the Golden Gate Meat Company, very tasty!

Striking out from the Ferry Building, we navigated some of the elevated walkways of the Embarcadero Towers. With their giant pots of bamboo and quiet corners, it’s easy to forget you are in the middle of the Financial district – even more so when you arrive at the half acre Redwood Grove at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid! Transplanted from the Santa Cruz mountains, the redwoods bring a tranquility and natural beauty to this corner of the city that I was previously unaware of!

From there it was just a few blocks to Vesuvio Cafe. At the intersection of North Beach, Chinatown and the Financial district, Vesuvio and the neighboring City Lights bookstore are filled with mementos of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlingheti and the beat generation. So of course we had to stop for liquid refreshment, and some appropriately contemplative conversation, at this historic shrine!

We then strolled the colorful streets of Chinatown, and stopped briefly at the old Bank of Italy to marvel at the workmanship of the impressively over-engineered vault door. At the Wells Fargo Museum (another previously unknown ‘gem’ for me!) I left my colleagues to explore the stagecoaches and look at nuggets of gold, as I cut short the tour to catch a train back to the East Bay, happy to have discovered some new treasures at my doorstep…

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