Sightseeing in San Francisco

This trip is different to my previous ones in that my interest in the US and Canada and their histories has not been anything like as great as my in terest in Europe and the UK. Also, I had zero expectation of ever visiting here. That means I set off from home with very few things on my “must see and do” list. Consequently, my getting about has been random.

Today it was out of town to Sausalito (a pretty tourist trap with appropriate shops) and Muir Woods, where I did a mile walk and saw some chipmunks! I was surprised at how small they are. Chip ‘n’ Dale (not to be confused with the Chippendales!) had made me think they were bigger. The redwoods were pretty tall but I didn’t see one with anything approaching an 8m girth, which is how big they can get, I gather. What has interested me on the couple of tours I’ve done has been the comment about ever present eucalyptus (not gum) trees, and their being native to Australia, imported for building but the timber not proving suitable.

I’ve done Fisherman’s Wharf (the aquarium was interesting, never been to one before) and the boat ride out under the Golden Gate Bridge (top shrouded in cloud) and around Alcatraz Island (closer to shore than I’d imagined, sailing around it as close as I’m happy to get to it). I’ve visited a few churches. At the St Francis of Assisi shrine several Franciscans (OFM Conv if I remember the habit correctly) were praying …the holy effect was rather undone when one of them began to snore!!

“The Arts” have got a look-in with visits to Coit Tower (great views as well as the painted murals), the California Academy of Sciences (not quite arty – tropical rain forest and more fish), and the De Young Museum, where there was an exhibition of fabulous Balenciaga gowns. My mum would have loved it – I grew up in a house with not a lot of money but mum did have subscriptions to Vogue, Elegance and Vanity Fair (and dad had the Saturday Evening Post!). I’ll finish of SF with a rush to galleries tomorrow.

A wander around the Mission District (where murals also abound, the one at left being atypical!) was interesting – not to be feared as the cops warned me when they asked where I was going while I turned my map this way and that after leaving the San Francisco Library. Mission Dolores Park was a joy to behold, chockers with people making the most of the setting sun, stretched out sunbaking, playing games with balls and dogs, having picnics. I sat on the grass myself and ate the roll I’d bought earlier at the Ferry Building.

How lucky am I to be doing this?!

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