Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hyde Street Pier

Over the weekend Mabel and I went to clamber around on the historic boats at the Hyde Street Pier. I have the sense that most San Franciscans never set foot near the place, due to its proximity to Fisherman's Wharf, but in truth it's one of my favorite spots in the city (ok, admitedly, I have a lot of favorite spots in this town--but still, this is one of them for sure!).  

The Pier is basically a floating maritime museum run by the National Park Service and one of the best things about it, in these days of overly-mediated experiences, is that you are able to just wander around on all these amazing old ships at your leisure--letting your curiosity and your toddler guide you.

This is the interior of the same boat in the above two photos--the ferryboat Eureka. Huge and beautiful, you can run seemingly for miles up and down  those polished floors on your very short legs and no one tells you to stop or slow down. There's a lower level full of vintage cars, and adults can amuse themselves imagining what it must have been like back in the days when this whole huge space was full of myriad passengers in formal clothing.

My other favorite boat is the three-masted sailing ship, the Balclutha. I've been coming to visit this ship since I was a little kid myself, but this was the first time Mabel was old enough to go on it--the rails around the deck are minimal at best and in places downright non-existent, so a kid as to be old enough to understand and follow the "you have to hold my hand up here" direction.

Mabel's favorite ship was the stocky modest tugboat Hercules. Perhaps this is because she has a toy tugboat in her bath at home, or perhaps because of the little "platforms" (her word) that you could stand on to peek into the various sleeping cabins, galley kitchen, engine room, and so forth. Her verdict on these platforms was that they were: "really good for little childs." I think we could say the same about the whole darn place.

Running around with a wee one is not so conducive to picture-taking. So though the top photo is (obviously) mine, the image sources for the others can be found here, here, here, and here.

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