My first time in San Fran. What a great city. I think Angela and I had the most fun – just driving around those crazy up and down streets. I wanted to re-enact some of those Dirty Harry chase scenes but the gauged out bits of tarmac showed just how damaging such stunts would be.
We didn’t do loads of stuff but we did do quite a bit and as happens quite a lot it was those bits that we did not plan that seemed to be the best for instance: We went to Lombard Street, the one with all the twists, and it was …. well twisty, like loads of others we then blocked the streets to take photos. Then the kids wanted the toilet. We were directed to the San Francisco Art Institute. It is a modern concrete version of an old mission building, sounds bad but I thought it worked. It had a mural by that bloke who was hooked up with Frieda Carlo and some nice views across the bay. What we all really liked was the inner court-yard (unsurprisingly) in Spanish type style; fountain, pool and shaded colonnade. Perfect picnic spot.
Angela did say that she wanted to finish this off – not sure when she is going to do that.
San Francisco did not fail to impress. I (Angela) had been looking forward to re-visiting the vibrant and diverse city for many months and hoped I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in 26 years got me feeling quite emotional. I think the others thought me a touch crazy.
We had booked a reservation at a youth hostel in Marin Headlands a few days previously and managed to drive out to the headlands amongst the fog, that is famous in the city and surrounding bay. The hostel had been a military hospital and spy centre in previous lives and we had a comfortable private room overlooking the headlands. The staff were very friendly and informative and recommended places to eat and fun things to do.
Although tempting to rush off to the city on our first day we spent time re-tracing the places I used to visit in Marin all those years ago when I worked there for a year. First stop was Mill Valley, where I lived and visited frequently. Unfortunately I was disappointed with my inability to remember much about the sleepy town centre and failed to find the coffee / book shop I frequented and had no idea how to drive my way up to the two houses I once lived in. From Mill Valley we drove to Stinson beach where I once accidently bleached my hair white with a ‘sun in’ product while sun bathing on my own on a day off. John wondered where I had taken them too when the park rangers started searching someone on the beach and he was lead off handcuffed.
Sausalito had changed too and appeared grander than I recall. We enjoyed a free jazz / blues concert in the park overlooking the bay and got some excellent ‘night views’ of the city in the distance.
San Francisco was fun. The highlight was an unexpected visit to an art institute where we ‘lunched’ in a gorgeous sunny courtyard while watching ‘arty’ students coming and going. At the bottom of Lombard Street we found an artist painting watercolour scenes of the city and John invited me to choose a couple as a birthday present. I’m looking forward to framing and hanging them at home upon our return. The kids had fun at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 although I found both very touristy. While driving home we made a detour to Coit tower where we rode the lift right up to the top and enjoyed 360 views of the city while the kids had fun shaking the plastic windows in attempt to remove pennies previously dropped there. I think I managed to replace them before winding our way down the staircase.
On the last day of our visit to SF we visited Golden Gate Park where the boys somehow wangled a free entrance into the science museum and the girls spent the equivalent time in the city’s art gallery. All in all, I feel I saw more of the city than when I lived there and I was pleased that John enjoyed his visit, especially as he says he is not a city type.