blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, July 16, 2012

First visit to San Francisco

After breakfast a taxi to El Cerrito del Norte, where a BART train stops, at the first stop after Richmond station, said to be less salubrious. We caught a train to MacArthur on the edge of Oakland, changing there to another line that would reach the San Francisco waterfront, the Embarcadero. It was crowded in the stations with baseball fans wearing orange caps (and a little girl carried an orange teddy bear). Up to the surface on Market Street-- we'd crossed the Bay underground, underneath the Bay Bridge over which we'd been driven last night.

Our first stop for refreshment and a sit-down was at a New York bagel outlet, Noah's. Here's Chris outside Noah's, with a jazz trio, saxophonist and friends, just out of sight behind us.

Then we crossed the plaza and main road by the water's edge, to wander a long way along the Embarcadero from Pier 1 to Pier 45. The busiest was Pier 39 and in that area I remembered the Scarborough sea front. There was a whole museum (former warehouse) full of slot machines dating back to the 1890s, still in use by the masses of tourists whose tastes still aren't very sophisticated. There was an Aquarium, tour boat docks, and (as I rightly anticipated) a Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum. We had some fresh and tasty fish and chips in mock newspaper, served to us by a couple of Mexican girls who appeared to be about 12 years old. Then we walked further, stopping frequently to gaze at the superb views across the Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge (topped with low clouds) and Alcatraz prison on its island, the many and various ships and boats and the distant hills. Moored at Pier 45 was a very large Liberty Ship (built in the 2nd World War and now a museum ship) and a US navy submarine of the same vintage.

The weather all day was glorious, bright, sunny, cool, clear and breezy. Choppy waves broke against the sides of the boats; cormorants and pelicans flew by. Every tourist attraction had a queue in front of it, so instead of joining one of these we decided to walk up Telegraph Hill, one of San Francisco's many steep slopes. I have never been in such a hilly city except perhaps Barcelona. In fact it reminded me very strongly of Barcelona with Spanish vocabulary everywhere, the muddle of houses, the Spanish style of architecture, the panoramas and the long seafront. Coming down the other side of the hill back into the main part of the city we had to watch our step, the pavements were so steep and uneven. No escalators here as there had been in Barcelona. The sidewalks looked ancient as did the famous electric ("emission free") trams-- or street cars, I should say.

Much more to add about all this, but I'm  sleepy. We made use of the outdoor pool for a while when we got back to the hotel and this evening had a really good Mexican supper at Chevvy's across the road from the hotel, a restaurant that has an eye catching slogan posted outside, saying : "BEHOLD! The ten hour Happy Hour." The sunset seen from our room was gorgeous, as were the flowers and flowering trees we saw today.

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