That was ten years ago.
Now I’m just being reminded why. There is so much beauty here to discover in this city, even within the ruggedness of some of the rougher areas. The touristy activities are a lot of fun, sure. I have been waiting in line for a cable car ride and paid a fortune to go on a ferry ride too. But try and wander around one day, aimlessly, and you’ll find things and places you didn’t know you were looking for. It is also the only way you will find the hidden postcard views of the city, the really cute houses and the cosy artisan cafe’s, because those won’t be in any guide book.
I spent my entire first day just walking. I walked around the ferry building, walked through the farmers market inside the ferry building, walked around Fisherman’s wharf and the little park by Ghirardelli square. A caffeine induced madness made me decide to walk all the way back to the hotel, past the curvy Lombard street and along Mason Street, because it looked like a pretty short walk on the map. What I didn’t account for was that walking along this route, even when walking straight ahead the entire time, I was actually walking up and down a few hills. And these hills are no joke to walk. Especially not in the sun. I was rewarded with great views at the top of each hill though, and that totally made up for falling into bed exhausted at 7pm.
On the Sunday I planned on having a good chill to finally get my body clock adjusted to local time, and because I was switching hotels I couldn’t really go anywhere for long anyway. First I spent some time people-watching at Union Square (there are a lot of tourists, and a few homeless people asking for change, yes. But every now and again you’ll see the old man in a white tracksuit driving around in a mobility scooter blasting some Latin American tunes). Later I took a bus to Alamo Square, where I shot loads of pictures of the Painted Ladies and then just sat down in the grass and read a book.
Speaking of taking loads of pictures: I somehow thought it was a good idea to restrict how many rolls of film I bring along with my three cameras, and so I only brought ten. After two days I have already shot two full rolls of film. After day three, another film was full. I am going to stay here for 14 days….you do the math. Luckily I have found a little gift shop on the way from the final stop of the Powell-Mason cable car line to Fisherman’s Wharf which just happened to sell a select sortiment of 35mm film. As it turns out the owner of the shop used to be a photographer and develop his own film, and as it happened he talked me into buying a UV filter for my Konica’s lens. Because of course I needed more equipment.
On day three I spent some time riding cable cars (they move slowly) and after strolling through the market behind Pier 39 and watching (and smelling) the hordes of sea lions located at the pier, I got on a bay area cruise ferry for an hour of taking pictures of the skyline and the Golden Gate. Good thing I brought my wind and rain resistant jacket too, because as soon as the ferry left the pier I felt a big giant gust of wind hating my face and hair and trying to make me fall in front of 100 people. And those are all people who will fight you for your space at the front end of the boat. It was totally worth it though for this view though.
I just bloody love this city.