Sunday, March 27, 2011

A stroll on the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

It is a fact that almost everyone who comes to San Francisco has in one way or another have in mind the world renowned Golden Gate Bridge to experience. Either have a foto taken with the bridge as the stunning backdrop or truly experience this San Francisco icon by walking on it. Well, taking our fotos with the bridge as the background was definitely not enough, we have to walk on it!

The opportunity came during the day of the tsunami warnings (which was downgraded to an advisory). We went down to the beach front after an hour of waiting on Telegraph Hill for the waves to arrive. Firstly, we went to the park (part of the Golden Gate Bridge National Recreation Area) just below the bridge where we saw a news crew as well patiently waiting for some tsunami action, afterwards , we went up to the lookout park and we were lucky enough to have quickly found a parking spot.

Great! Now it’s time to stretch our leg muscles and walk on this renowned bridge!

But before doing so we have to take our necessary souvenir shots. The lookout park was quite busy with many tourists in busloads arriving and leaving. Seeing the bridge up close is pretty much on every visitor’s MUST DO or SEE list. Satisfied that we have enough souvenir shots, we set off to the bridge. One thing one must be aware walking on this steel bridge are the bikes. Pedestrian and bikers share the same pathway, and 2-way traffic as well (?!), so you really have to be mindful. Check your left, your right, your front and your back at all times, especially during peak seasons when the bridge is full of sightseers. We decided not to walk all the way to the other side. I didn’t like the feeling of the bridge wobbling a little bit under my feet so when we reached halfway we decided to turn back.

Here are my collage of fotos:

It was a lovely blue skies day, great day to stroll on the bridge and take fotos.

We also saw serious warnings on the bridge:

This is not a joke, many suicides happen here.

Unfortunately, the Golden Gate Bridge is nicknamed as the ‘Suicide Bridge’ as there is no other bridge in the whole wide world that has had more suicides under its belt—over 1,200 on the counter, and sadly, counting. Thus the reason for the counselling and warning signs. I also noticed that there are no real safeguards on the bridge, it just takes a little bit of effort to climb on the rails and jump off. I hope the authorities can do something, perhaps install some kind of protection that does not disrupt the design and function of the bridge? I am sure I am not the first person to have said this.

Important facts for the visitor:

On both sides of the bridge there are beautiful lookouts with car parking, the one in the San Francisco side is paid parking while the lookout on the Marin County side is free.

There are no toll fees to get out of San Francisco by car, but to get into San Francisco by car, either through the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge, you pay $5 at the tollgate—cash as they do not accept credit card.

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