Wade and Nicole Fuge check out the sights in San Francisco.
Wade and Nicole Fuge check out the sights in San Francisco. Nicole Fuge

San Francisco can also be called candy apple heaven

AS a kid I always loved toffee apples and even now in adult life I occasionally indulge. But nothing compares to the candy apples in America.

I first saw them in New York as I was walking through Central Park and saw a young lady munching on the sugary treat. Unfortunately I couldn't find where the illusive candy apple store was, and went empty handed.

Then in DisneyWorld, there were caramel candy apples rolled in nuts, something I'd never seen before.

But in San Francisco, I died and went to candy apple heaven.

Caramel-coated apples rolled in an array of nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, m&ms, Oreos and toffee lay neatly on trays before me.

There were cheesecake-flavoured ones, apple pie and a peanut caramel apple covered in double chocolate.

Overwhelmed, I went for a more traditional caramel apple and it was everything I imagined. The caramel was still soft and tacky, not crunchy, and they cut the apples into wedges at request, making it easier to eat.

San Francisco is a foodie's dream, particularly Fisherman's Wharf.

It's home to the traditional clam chowder in sourdough bread. The tricky part is deciding where to go.

Eateries on both sides of the street bear illuminated signs to entice customers in for their clam chowder, but it was hard to go past Boudin Bakery.

The open glass windows peer straight into their commercial kitchen and bakers work quickly to mould the dough into animal shapes reminiscent of a child's birthday cake.

It's a cold winter's day, the wharf is drizzled with rain and the fog on the water sends us indoors for clam chowder in a sourdough roll. Perfect.

While I'm talking about the delicious delicacies in San Francisco, I have to mention Ghirardelli.

Their chocolates now top my favourites, alongside Cadbury, and it's hard to go past their free samples as you walk in the door (providing for some cheeky treats for the walk back to the hotel).

Along with chocolates, ice creams and drinks, they also have a display on how they make the chocolate. The warm smell wafts through the store - inviting on any day, but even more so when the temperatures outside are plummeting.

Armed with a thick, creamy hot chocolate, we walk back to our hotel - the Holiday Inn Fisherman's Wharf (highly recommended for its proximity to the Wharf, cable cars into the city and 24/7 Denny's diner downstairs, very handy when you have a late flight).

Aside from exploring Fisherman's Wharf, we also took the open top bus around San Francisco, learning about its bohemian history. Having used these bus tours in Europe years ago, it's now a must for any capital cities.

Not only do you get your bearings, but they take you to the well known places and some hidden secrets, too.

It also stops at most of the major places, so you can use it as a mode of transport when exploring the city.

While on the tour, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, then walked back across it, to get some photos of the bridge and the city across the bay.

The following day, we visited Alcatraz - and of course it was a foggy, gloomy day, to add to the eeriness of the tour.

Alcatraz was once home to some of America's most hardened criminals including Al "Scarface" Capone.

Walking through the abandoned cells and hallways, learning about the history, it's fascinating to imagine what went on within the walls.

Aside from being home to one of the world's most legendary prisons, when it closed, the American Indian Occupation moved in and there are still reminders on many surfaces.

Now, the only people on the island are visitors, soaking up America's history and photographing the deteriorating buildings.

While there is so much to see and do in San Francisco, it's hard to go past its charm and I just loved walking around, watching buskers and smelling the delicious food being cooked.

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THINGS TO DO

  • Alcatraz Tours from $32 AU per person
  • See the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39
  • Visit the Painted Ladies (Full House house) in the Lower Haight
  • Hop-On Hop-Off San Francisco Double-Decker bus tour $35 AU per person
  • Visit Lombard St, San Francisco's crookedest street with eight switchbacks
  • Ride the cable car


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