2013-10-01 We awoke to learn the news that the US economy had been put "on hold". This didn't mean much to us, until we rang the tourism operator who was scheduled to take us on an Alcatraz tour later in the day. It's a National Park and as such will be closed until the government gets its act in gear and sorts out their stalemate. So, for the second time in as many visits to San Francisco, I won't be going to the major tourist attraction. At least this time I don't have to blame myself! This debacle has also cast a doubt over our plans to visit Yosemite - it too is closed. At this stage it is just "cross your fingers and hope for the best" The weather was absolutely stunning today and without a trace of yesterday's fog we set off on foot, down the pan-handle and into Golden Gate Park. We stopped in at the de Young Museum for the opportunity of using its free observation tower. Whilst not huge, it offered commanding views of the surrounding Russian district and back towards the city. We caught our hope on / off bus up to the Golden Gate Bridge, where we got the photos we failed to capture yesterday in the fog. Back on the bus again, we went back to Pier 39, got a refund for our Alcatraz tour and stopped in for a lunch of clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. With unplanned extra time on our hands, we caught the bus up Telegraph Hill and went up Coit Tower. I'm sure last time I went, you were allowed to use the stairs, but these days, they are reserved for emergency use only so took the much easier elevator. We walked back down the hill to the Italian district and caught a regular bus back into town, where we partook in some retail indulgence, revelling in prices far cheaper than clothes manage to be back home. We caught the tram / light rail back to Cole Valley - right on peak time, which made it awfully packed, but a great way to skip the traffic and cheap too! $2 per ticket for 90 minutes puts the Melbourne and Brisbane public transport systems to shame... In Cole Valley, we found a beautiful French restaurant to have dinner in and quite contented we headed back to our SF base in Haight Ashbury. '