My last day in SF – at two galleries. First, Legion of Honor with current attraction, Pulp Fashion – costumes made from paper. So intricate and brilliantly done but I couldn’t help wondering “Why bother?” – the same thing made from fabric would be durable, wearable even. Later, SFMoMA. I still believe the genius of modern artists is to get people to buy their “output”. Overheard some guy talking total ________ (insert your derisory word of choice!) with people hanging on every utterance. They’d obviously suspended their critical faculties.
I also saw three cathedrals – old and new Catholic, and Episcopalian. The new Catholic a bit like Christ the King in Liverpool and Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa, Sicily; the Episcopalian was very British (embroidered kneelers, flags, evensong which I unfortunately missed) but architecturally a take-off of Notre Dame in Paris.
Tip for visiting SF: you have always got something better to do than visit Cliff House. They must pay to have it in the guide books. I’d have liked to see the ‘open to public’ camera obscura but it’s closed for long-finished restorations to the now posh hotel.
Cable cars are only part of it – getting around in San Francisco, I mean.There are trolley cars, new and historic. Buses, commuter and tourist, electric and smoking. There are ferries, commuter and tourist. There are trains – but I haven’t been on one of those!
I’ve been genuinely impressed by the helpfulness of public transport drivers, help given willingly and often quite humorously. Something I’ve not seen before – buses have bike racks on the front of them. How sensible. Not all vehicles are new (no, I don’t mean the historic ones!) but they’re all in good nick.
The price of petrol looks horrific – but by my calculations, it is in fact considerably cheaper than we’re paying in Oz.
Getting around has been made easy by wonderful street signage – the best of any place I’ve ever been. There’s been only one exception to that. Once in Golden Gate Park I was totally lost with few signs and none of them particularly helpful. It took a few asks to find someone who could help me find where I wanted to go. A very pleasant ramble if I hadn’t wanted to visit specific places.
And of course, there’s Shank’s pony …… getting quite a workout!!! I get back to the hotel footsore every night. Thank goodness for a hot shower and a comfortable bed!
Eating is my least favourite thing when I’m away – the solo woman occupying a table for two with a book, now Kindle, for company. Plus trying to conserve the $$$$. Here, where there’s no breakfast at the hotel, the problem has been to get a small breakfast. Serves for any meal are huge. The trashy side of eating is fun, of course, but I have to say In’n’Out Burgers, in spite of the recommendation from Piers, are not as good as Hungry Jacks, not even as good as <shudder> Macca’s! And I don’t see what the fuss is about salted caramel ice-cream. On the other hand, peach and ginger gelati is really yummy. Hilary has suggested I eat Mexican but I need her with me to guide me … pity she won’t be here for a few more weeks yet. Hilary also recommended Whole Foods – finally spotted one this afternoon – too late for this city.
The architecture is quite varied, as you’d expect for a city of this age and whose citizens come from such diverse backgrounds: I’ve heard Spanish spoken more than English by people who appear to live here. What has been pleasing is that the budget for newer buildings has included decoration of some sort – something beyond glass and steel. The amazing thing has been how many timber homes there are, belying their facade. And the scary thing – looking decorative in some instances – the fire escapes on the outsides of so many buildings. I’d hate to have to use one, my fear of heights would do me in!
Can’t not mention the weather – it’s been glorious! Enough said!!
Now out to dinner, hopefully where I’ll have a bit of a view of the city at night, then back to pack for the early start to Chicago in the morning. I’ve really been looking forward to the train trips for a long time, even more so now to give my feet a rest for a couple of days!!