Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day Two A Hike Across San Francisco

A Hike Across San Francisco

We had accomplished most of our essential tasks on our first day except for one. We were too tired to go to the super market for some essential groceries, so that was our first goal of the day.

Walking down the steep two blocks of 17th street, we hit Market and Castro. Again, we noticed some naked men standing on the corner. We will have to ask someone "why?"

We followed Market Street down a few blocks to the Safeway grocery store. It is a gentle slope down, which means a walk uphill all be it at a gentle slope. But the hike up 17th street is a steep climb. I was very thankful to have a backpack. I would not have survived if I had to hand carry bags up such a climb.

Our groceries taken care of, we made our way back out.

Market Street is one of the main streets that cuts diagonally across San Francisco. We planned to walk down most of its length and then head North into Chinatown, and ultimately end at Fisherman's Wharf.

An Art's Store caught Hera's eye, so we crossed the street to take a look. It was a phenomenal store. Even though I do not do any Arts and Crafts, they had a selection of Art paper that was indeed a sight to behold.

As we continued along Market Street, we came across another naked man walking with the rest of the crowds. He turned North, and when we looked up the street, we noticed a street fair. So we veered off our original plan and headed into the street fair. I had thought it might only be a block wide, but that was only the start, as it extend severalblocks North.

Once out of the fair, I planned to make our way to the South Gate of Chinatown, which meant going several blocks East and a few blocks North. Simple, but, San Francisco is full of steep hills. So we would North walk up a hill for a block, and then rest as we walked East a few streets before tackling another climb North.

Finally after a good walk, including several climbs, we made it to the corner of Bush and Grant, with Chinatown's Souther Gate.

We walked North along Grant Avenue, through Chinatown. We window shopped as we walked, and entered several stores. One had amazing pieces of Amber with large insects preserved within it. While another store some interesting looking mushrooms and other foodstuffs that we did not recognize.

Chinatown is huge, and it extends for several blocks on both sides. But simple crossing the intersection of two large boulevards, Columbus and Broadway, Grant Avenue is suddenly in a different world. Taverns and pubs adorn the street. One had a very good band playing that had a crowded standing outside the open window to enjoy the show. But it was a bit too early for us to settle down for a beer, but this would have been a great place.

We kept going North towards Fisherman's Wharf, but had to go over another steep hill ahead of us. But I knew, after this one, we had to start going down. After all, we were headed for the water.

Cresting the hill, we were met with a spectacular sight. Only surpassed by the terrace views of some of the near by apartment. The Bay could be seen in the speckled with sailboats.

Although quite touristy, Fisherman's wharf is worth the visit. It is a carnival of people, restaurants and shops. Of course Seafood is a main item on the menu here. Taking a break, Hera and I eached ordered a seafood chowder served in a bowl of sourdough bread, along with a Corona beer. Sitting on the wharf, we rested, ate and enjoyed the views.

Unexpectedly, we spied across the street, a gallery that looked impressive. It was the Rodney Lough Jr Wilderness Collection, and it was indeed worth the visit. Done with a large format camera (Arca Swiss 8"x10 film), the large prints must be seen in person. While a smaller image might convey what the image shows, the grandeur, depth and colors can only be appreciated in person.

We walked further along the water and came across an even better place to eat. Less touristy, with wonderful aromas wafting in the air. But that would have to wait for another day.

We had already walked a fair amount today, and I did not intend to walk all the way back home. I knew that the cable car could take us along Hyde Street to Market Street. But there was a line of people waiting to take the small cable cars. Instead, we opted to take a nearby street car that would take us all the way back to Market and Castro Streets, our home neighborhood, without even a transfer. It felt so good to sit and ride back home.


Hera & Anthony