Monday, April 30, 2012

The Pedometer Broke*



At this time last week, I was eating breakfast at Tyger’s (the California Scramble: eggs, avocado, mushrooms, cheese and tomatoes—yum!) and reluctantly planning our final day in San Francisco. Laure Ferlita and I made the trek cross country to gather material for articles and scout subjects for a new online art class. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it!

Even though I was born and raised in California, I’d never been to San Francisco for longer than an overnight stay with my sister-in-law about 15 years ago. I remember nothing about the city, except that we ate at an amazing restaurant where the chef cooked up some French fries (not on the menu) for my 2-year-old son so he’d have something to eat while the rest of us indulged in more grown-up cuisine.

I did some research beforehand, trying to make sense of the different neighborhoods (Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Haight-Ashbury, etc.) and how they fit together. The online travel boards agreed that having a car wasn’t necessary, that public transportation was readily available and reasonably priced, while parking and driving were headaches.

Well, yes and no. And yes. Public transport was available, but the size of the city made it difficult to get from location to location quickly—and while there is plenty of public transport, sometimes it’s a bit confusing to figure out which method will get you where you want to go (street car, cable car, bus or metro?) and how many hills you’ll have to climb in the meantime. (Being from flat Florida, we found even those hills described as having “gentle inclines” taxing to the cardiovascular system.)

We’d planned to rent a car for part of the visit anyway, hoping to get out of the city to Muir Woods or Point Reyes, and by the time we picked it up, we were ready to brave the traffic of San Francisco in order to see more in less time. The traffic was indeed headache-inducing and so was parking, but we managed. And no, we did not drive Lombard Street (known as the world’s crookedest street) but we did take pictures of the foolhardy brave folks who did. I did the driving and Laure the navigating, and I could not have done it without her. She also made a fine coach through what seemed to be constant parallel parking.

Even with the car, we still averaged around 10,000 steps a day, logging more than 16,000 on our busiest day. Some of the things we saw included (click to enlarge photos):

Chinatown:


Fortune cookies being made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company:


You can bring your own fortunes to be inserted into the cookies. We just bought a bag of already-assembled cookies. My fortune said, “Opportunity awaits you next Tuesday.” That was last Tuesday. I'm still waiting.

Brown velvet sea lions at Pier 39:



Life is good.
Japanese Tea Garden (located in Golden Gate Park):





They are not kidding. See below:



This garden has a real aura of peace and tranquility even if it’s busy with visitors. I'd come back here.

San Francisco Botanical Gardens (also located in Golden Gate Park), beautiful flowers and friendly squirrels:




Coit Tower/Fillbert Steps:

For some reason, the murals at Coit Tower, located on Telegraph Hill, charmed me. They were part of the Public Works of Art Project (under the New Deal) and are mostly done in fresco, according to Wikipedia.


"Old Man Weather"



Views from the hill are pretty spectacular:



Just steps away from Coit Tower, a hidden walkway and set of stairs winds between homes perched on the hill, giving us peeks into backyards and more beautiful views of the water (these are either the Filbert Steps or the Greenwich Street Stairs--I'm not sure which):



Wouldn't this make a wonderful place to write or paint?
Hope you’ll return Friday for part two of the San Francisco travelogue! We felt like we barely scratched the surface of what there was to see in the city. Have you ever been to San Francisco? What are your favorite memories?

*Not really—the battery just wore out!

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16 comments:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Oh, Kathy, I want to go back there so badly! I have been three different times and loved it so much. Cary has no desire to go to San Francisco; he went once and said it was too expensive.

Thank you for posting all of these awesome photos, I am so happy for you two that you had a great trip. Can't wait for part two!

Kathy M.

Laure Ferlita said...

Great post! It's fun to see it in retrospect—without the hassles of parking, navigating, sore feet and legs fresh in my mind.

Hey, where are we going next!?!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Kathy--Maybe you can get him to go there if you take the new RV! Of course, I don't know where you would park it! It was an adventure finding a spot to park a tiny little car.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Laure--It really was a lot of fun...now that I'm not sore and exhausted and lost!

Cheryl Gebhart said...

Looks like you two had a great trip. I hope it means what I think it means! ;)

Claire M said...

Oh... so that is what you two have been up to. Sounds like you had a fabulous visit to S.F. Can't wait for an Imaginary or Real Trip to San Francisco!. I loved your pictures. There was a recent article in the local paper about the murals at Coit Tower - it caught my interest and I think I saved the article. It must be here 'somewhere'.....

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Cheryl--It was a great trip. I'm sure you'll be one of the first to know if it means anything! :)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Claire--I'm glad you liked the pictures--I took so many! So many beautiful growing things, in particular.

Hope you find the article about the murals. They were very interesting. (You sound like me, only in our family, things I'm looking for are "in a better place."

Kay said...

Left you a message on Laure's site. Then came to your site and found what I was looking for - photo's, etc. Glad you had a great time. I agree with Cheryl -but, I guess I have to wait to find out and I am so bad about waiting. :)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Hi, Kay--Good things come to those who wait! :) But I know it's hard.

I'll be writing more about the trip and posting more photos on Friday if all goes well. Hope you'll come back for part two.

Teresa said...

What fun!!!! Gosh, what a great time you both must have had. And gorgeous photos...I'm green with envy!

Hugs,
T

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Hi, Teresa--Thanks! Good to hear from you. We did have fun, and I'll be posting more about the trip tomorrow.

Hugs back to you, too!

Clare said...

These are wonderful photos. I can't wait to take the trips with Laure and others. I love SF. have been there many times but it has been quite a while since my last visit.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thank you, Clare. I know you'll love all the trips with Laure. She's awesome, and her trips are terrific.

Danielle said...

Well, it has taken me much longer to read your post than I had expected, but it was worth the wait! How cool--I do hope it works out that I can go there in the fall--still no definite plans, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and being good by not using my credit card unless absolutely necessary. Which neighborhood did you stay in? My sister and I would rely entirely on walking/public transport, so I'll have to read up on it and orient myself if we do go. Great photos!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Danielle--From what I hear, the fall is a good time to visit as far as weather is concerned. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you--I think you'd love it.

We stayed in the Diamond Heights area, which is a bit outside the city's most popular areas, but we were right near a BART line and a MUNI stop that made it fairly easy to get into the city. Be prepared to walk up and down some pretty steep hills, too!

There are a couple of companies that do hop on/hop off tours of the city, and I would recommend doing one of those to get an idea of where everything is and what you want to go back to see. We didn't do this and regretted it.