Wednesday, 4 August 2010
I left my brain in San Francisco
Sleep patterns still shot I'm afraid. It turned out this morning that builders don't work in the rain, so I went back to bed for several hours! But I'm here at last with some of our pics of San Francisco, the City By the Bay. It's a lovely and fascinating place, with some truly weird weather even by British standards. Just look at that fogbank on the Golden Gate Bridge!
We did explore across the bridge to find out what the countryside north of the city was like. And the answer is, "Scotland" - only without the sheep and the nasty pebbledashed bungalows. I mean, seriously, it could not look any more Scottish if there was a bagpiper in a kilt stood on a rock. I was quite taken aback!
The extensive touristic heart of central San Francisco itself is a mixture of modern skyscrapers and really pretty Victorian buildings (the ones that survived the earthquake and fire of 1906). This is the classic shot of downtown from The Haight. The row of houses at front is called the Painted Ladies. The spire is the Transamerica Pyramid, and the dark tower is the Bank of America Building - the exterior used for The Towering Inferno. Heh.
This is the Palace of Fine Arts, left over from the Exposition in 1915. I loved this building. We were on this city tour, btw, which was a really good introduction to the city highlights.
The grid layout of streets takes little account of the natural hills of the area. Which means lots of the streets are steep. Walking about is hard work - but there are great views everywhere.
This is Lombard Street -the "twistiest street in the world."
One of the real highlights for us was Cruisin' the Castro ... a guided walking tour of the gay district. Thoroughly recommended: I learned a lot.
We also really enjoyed the California Academy of Sciences (a modern natural history museam with a fabulous aquarium), the Japanese Tea Garden, the Botanical Garden, the Coit Tower (built as a memorial to a highly eccentric woman with a serious thing for firemen) with its fab primitivist-socialist murals and, um ... the Cheesecake Factory in Macy's.
Plus we went for a walk in a redwood forest, but more of that in a later post.
And we called in at Good Vibrations - one of the original female-friendly sex shops. Here's their terrifying collection of antique vibrators!
But we never braved the queues to ride a cable car :-(