Sunday, August 15, 2010

She’s a good girl ... loves Jesus and America, too... Part II – San Francisco

Often people think that I am boring.

When I go on vacation and they ask if it’s Croatia again and I say “Yes, of course” they roll their eyes and ask if I do not want to explore the world and see new places.

The answer is: Of course I want to see new places and travel somewhere else. I love it and do it as often as I can. But when I like it somewhere I do not mind visiting a place more often. I actually love it when I know where to go, when places and people get familiar, when I stop feeling like a tourist – at least a bit.

And some – only a very few – places become very special to me like close friends. I leave a piece of my heart there and it stays until I can come back again (and again …).

One of these places is definitely San Francisco.

Last week the city was in the news here in Germany a lot, because something horrible happened: A German teacher, who was travelling the US with her husband to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and just having a great time, got shot and died.
And she did not take the wrong exit and got trapped in a bad part of the city; she did not carelessly walk along the wrongs roads in the middle of the night. She was only returning to her hotel around 9pm just around the corner from Union Square – right in the center of the city, close to Macy’s and the other fancy shops. Every single tourist who ever visited San Francisco including me was at least once where this lady got killed by an 18-year-old “baby gangster”. Reports tell that it was a gang shooting related to night clubs in this district. It was a ricochet – the bullet hit her accidently … as if that would make any difference.

In the first place I am very sad and feel with the family of the lady, but my second emotion is anger. Because of this stupid kid and the rest of the ruthless gangsters the people out there must think that San Francisco is a horrible place, where you get killed easily at the most popular sightseeing locations.

I am seriously upset about it because San Francisco is a gorgeous place with great people and does not deserve a bad reputation like this. I personally cannot do much about it, but what I can do is setting a counterpoint and using exactly this sad moment and post here some pictures of my most favorite places in San Francisco and show you how beautiful it is:

The Cable Car is the classic way to travel through the center of the city climbing up and down the hills. Standing at the sides is BIG FUN, but please hold tight, don't lean back too much and be careful. And one rule: if there is a cable car line where you walk, your legs will hurt very soon if you keep walking. Cable car lines are usually going where the hills are BAD.

Union Square is the heart of the city center - and usually absolutly not dangerous to walk around. Here you find all the famous shops as well as lots of restaurants and hotels. And here you really have the feeling to be in a big metropole city although San Francisco (only the city not the Greater Bay Area) is smaller than Munich for example.

This would be a typical San Francisco postcard motive - IF the sun would shine :(. These beautiful Victorian houses are one of the few, which survived the 1906 earthquake and are called Painted Ladies. You'll find them at Alamo Square.

The absolut "Must do" when you are in San Francisco is of course crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Take your time - the views from both ends of the bridge are beautiful. The shot you see below is taken from a very nice sightseeing spot on the way back from Sausalito to San Francisco. It is one of the rare places where you get the chance to have the bridge and the skyline in one picture.

Once you crossed the Golden Gate you should definitely visit the cute town of Sausalito and even more important the fantastic Redwood Forrest. I can strongly recommend to do get up early for this little adventure. We were the first ones there and to catch the morning light and enjoy the silence and the incredible energy of the Redwood trees was totally awesome.

One of most popular mistaks done by international tourists is to think that all California is warm and sunny all the time. I can tell you that there is a reason that thick and warm hoodies are the most popular souveniers of San Francisco tourists. Nothern California and especially San Francisco is often foggy, not seldom rainy and too often damn cold. BUT of course there are beautiful and sunny days like you can see below. In the bright sunshine you can see here a tiny bit of the huge Oakland Bay Bridge.

This picture was done during a coffe break around lunch time on a very warm and sunny spring day and shows one of my favorite places in the city:The Ferry Building. On Saturday's you can enjoy the Farmer's Market in front of the building and all the great food offered in the beautiful stores inside the place. It is also a perfect start for a walk down the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf.

Of course this small collection is not complete. There are no pics of the Transamerica Pyramid, none of the City Hall, none of Fisherman's Wharf, none of Nob and Russian Hill, none of St. Peter and Paul, none of Grace Cathedral, none of so many other great places. But hey ... I need some material for another edition of my San Francisco postings in the future of this blog :)
So let me say good bye for today with a little bit of the downtown skyline and the Claes Oldenburg (one of my favorite artists!) sculpture at a perfect day ....

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