Streets lined with Victorian style homes, cable cars that steal away your heart, the sparkling waters of the Pacific and the crimson colored Golden gate bridge- San Francisco, undeniably stole my heart. The place I stayed at, the Fisherman’s wharf, proved to be an excellent choice- to explore this city. I had little idea, of what to expect, but an early morning walk across the pier region led me to the cool waters, pleasant and serenity of the Pacific: a view to die for. Later in the day, the busy streets led me to this unobstructed view of a full moon in the heart of the city.
Golden Gate- the symbolic manifestation of the city of San Francisco called onto me, from the very first day of my stay. But to be honest, never had I thought that biking across it would be that awesome. Not that I am an ardent fan of biking, to be honest, my hands shook while trying to guide the bike on the busy bridge. It wasn’t a very smooth experience either- punctuated by falls ad me almost bumping almost into the walls of the bridge. But one look at the vast expanse of Pacific, loosened me up to an extent that I really wouldn’t have cared if I had landed flat on the street. On the other side of the bridge, on a forest trail, the bridge did look magnificent- living up to its name- the Golden Gate. For me, the bridge- the golden sunlight on the Pacific, kind of connected my present to the past- my childhood, of a time that filled me up with happiness.
I believe, that the best way to know and explore a place is to walk through the heart of the city. It gives a clear insight of what truly defines the city, its nuances and the people. You would be surprised at what flavor awaits you at the next turn of the alley; how a general cacophonous crowd could lead you to an avenue unexplored. How a tired walk back home can suddenly turn into an adventure, a beautiful memory.
As an avid coffee lover, I make it a point to visit different cafe and bakeries, at each place I visit. San Francisco, did not disappoint me, with its variety of coffee shops. Each exquisite in its own way. I feel that there’s nothing in this world that a perfectly brewed cup of latte cannot cure. I kind of enjoy the ambience that these quaint places offer, a kind of peace that is soothing to the soul.
I also enjoyed watching the public cable cars. I was fortunate to visit SFO during December, when the city was all dressed up for festivities- even the cable cars. I regret not being able to board one of these, but if there is something that I would love to do on my next visit here, would be this. I remember this cable car was hoarded with small kids who were singing a Christmas Carol and I was so mesmerized watching them, that I started waving to them. They did wave back, and I loved the simple fact that children can connect to us in such simple ways. Filling up us with awe, and affection.
For people who love food, San Francisco is a place with a cornucopia of options. Whether it be the Ghirardelli Square, with its exquisite collection of chocolate (and gift shops), the Cheesecake Factory nestled inside the busy streets of the city, or the Pacific facing sea side breakfast places, the bay city has it all. I also enjoyed the various roadside food options. Trust me, they have it all, starting from Indian food options like Dosa (which tasted heavenly) to the more global pizzeria.
And then suddenly you discover, “Chai” in the most unlikely place. Run by an Indian, this was all I needed in the freezing cold, to warm not only my hands but also my heart. As they say, a cup of chai is all I need.
I also got a chance to explore the China Town- it was so fascinating in itself. Streets lined with local Chinese shops (selling toys, clothes and such variety of things that it was difficult to keep track of them) and dining places (which are pretty awesome). I especially found it funny that even though it was a different place, the feeling was so similar to the busy streets back home in India. China town is definitely a great place to shop for cheap mementos and other smaller gifts (you can actually bargain here!!)
My visit would’ve been incomplete, without the trip to the Lombard Street, which is one of the crookedest street in the world. The undulating roads that led to it were kind of steep and man! it was tiring. Overall I feel that it was actually balanced and worth it, because of the view that it offered. Colorful houses adorned the street, and I could see the entire city sprawled out like a maze in front of me along with the azure sky. That! I felt was awesome.
This trip was so fulfilling in its own way; not only I explored the city in a way that exposed me to its different facets but I also realized that how much knowing a new place meant to me. I particularly remember sitting by the pier with my journal, trying to write and the cold wind made it impossible to even hold the pen appropriately. There were so many other things I would’ve wanted to do- visit the Alcatraz, go wine tasting in the Napa Valley…the list is unending.
SFO you’ve stolen my heart, giving me a reason to come back…soon.