City by the Bay

sfskylineSAN FRANCISCO — If you ever get to San Francisco, you may never want to leave.

We piled a month into four days and came away craving more.

Start by hoofing it. San Francisco isn’t as much a city as it is an aerobics class, with hills so steep they’ll make your legs weep.

Enjoy the skyline vista atop Russian Hill.

Duck into Chinatown for some dim sum and then do some people watching at Portsmouth Square.

A taste of Italy awaits in North Beach. Stop by Firenze by Night  for supper. The ponytailed Sergio Giuisti, a Tuscan, is the owner. He greets you at the door and keeps a keen eye on his servers to make sure they are customer-attentive.

It is loud but that’s because everyone is having a rollicking good time. Try the pesto fettucini.

Secure a muni pass and get a break on public transportation. Take a cable car to the Ferry Building, which is a foodies’ delight. Olive oil, cheese and chocolate samples are handed out at every turn. For lactose enthusiasts, there is even a milk bar.

Next, mix in some greenery, specifically the city’s luscious parks. Walking is fine but a fun way to experience the Bay Area is via bicycle.

We biked from Golden Gate Park to The Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge and back. The fog rolled in as we were halfway across, bringing with it a hellacious wind, so, by all means, dress as if you’re entering a hurricane.

Across the span is Marin County, where you’ll find quirky Sausalito and Muir Woods. Hike among the redwoods and feel the insignificance of humanity.

If you’ve had lunch, you may lose it along Route 1, which zigzags its way to Stinson Beach. Point Reyes National Seashore is up the road, and it’s worth the trip.

Miles of rolling, cattle-dotted farmland lead up to Chimney Rock and its mesmerizing surf. You will want to stare at the Pacific Ocean until the cows come home.

But don’t wait too long.

In and around San Francisco, there is always something else to see.

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