If you are going to San Francisco

Spent the whole day with that wretched Scott McKenzie song in my head. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

We've been away from big cities for too long. San Francisco proved too much for us. It all felt too hectic driving round the centre trying to find a place to park. We were also woefully unprepared and hadn't even read the guide to know which places to visit. Drove through Mission district and then towards Chinatown and the financial district, where we turned tail and fled. Ended up, more by luck than by design, by Russian Hill (a crazy road where cars have to zig-zag down through gardened sidewalks), from where we got a glimpse of Alcatraz. To get there we had passed through some of the crazy hills San Francisco is famous for, and the kids had a great time pretending we were on a roller coaster.

Got a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge and then walked (in the freezing cold - due to a bizarre microclimate it is colder here in summer than in autumn) to the Palace of Fine Arts, which was designed and built in 1915 as a sort of fictional Roman ruin. We wanted to visit the Exploratorium museum, but sadly it was closed on Mondays. That was the final straw, so we booked a hotel just North of town and fled over the Golden Gate Bridge.

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