San Francisco an OverviewSeptember 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 24 °C
Rome is built on seven hills, goodness knows how many make up San Francisco and they are seriously steep. In particular The Lombard St crooked street of Steve McQueen car chase fame! We have had the bad luck to be here in the week that the cable cars are out of commission for an overhaul, so sadly no cable car ride. As a consequence we took the Big Bus tour to give us an overview of the city, which did the job, but was excruciatingly hot (in the 90s today) on the top deck and filled with really irritating people who seemed unable to sit still for more than five minutes at a time. I know, I’m being unreasonable, but every time I had a photo opportunity some sweet soul jumped up in front of me, but some photos did come out as you will see. At the end of the three hour trip it was back to the hotel for a cool down. It is apparently going to be much cooler tomorrow.
The San Franciscans are very proud of their home as a city of charm and culture. They are not wrong. It is quirky and In general I like it. Like all big cities there are parts that are less than salubrious and they clearly have a huge homeless problem, particularly in certain areas. Fisherman’s Wharf is rather too like an upmarket Gt Yarmouth for my taste, but the seafood is divine.
The architecture around the city is outstanding from all eras and the buildings sit juxtaposed to one another with great effect. There are still some pre Earthquake and lots from the twenties and thirties. Downtown and the Financial District are ultra modern and there is the largest China Town here in the USA. Haight-Ashbury is as attractive and bohemian as you would imagine the home of flower power and the hippie culture to be. This a very green city. Trees line the streets and there are parks everywhere. The Golden Gate Park is larger than Central Park in New York. There is an very classical Opera House, Ballet Theatre and a brand new Symphony Hall built in the shape of a Grand Piano, key windows and all. As you approach the Golden Gate Bridge, the breeze picks up and the temperature drops. Once on the bridge itself, you need to hold on to your hat and anything else that may be taken by the wind. It is as spectacular a structure close to and from a distance, in its rust coloured glory. (Apparently, this colour is called international orange?! ). I can see why it has become iconic. The views are magnificent and on a majestic scale; looking back towards city, the Wharfs and out to the open ocean. A plethora of little sailing boats cut backwards and forwards, together with larger sea going vessels on their way to goodness knows where. The Bay is made up of a variety of microclimates due to the interaction of the landforms and the sea and whilst it was 80 degrees on the Golden Gate Bridge, it was 93 on the Wharfs and 105 in East Bay. It has a reputation here, similar to the UK, in that you could experience all four seasons in one day. At the moment though it is definitely Indian Summer and this is normal apparently. You are unlikely to suffer the sea fog that can blight the earlier summer months. Having said that we haven’t lost the chance!
There is much talk of this being the most expensive city to live in, rental and real estate wise. Rents are high and some of the beautiful houses change hands for millions it is true, but the same could be said of Chelsea and Knightsbridge. I suspect it is like many a prosperous city (and it is riding a techno bubble at the moment), it is the place to be and the law of supply and demand rules.Read more