Over the holiday vacation we took a road trip to the “Bay Area”. That refers of course to the San Francisco Bay Area. We also had time on two separate days to visit The City, which of course refers to San Francisco. I don’t know why this place had the audacity to name itself this way, but it works. If you say you are going to the Bay Area nobody would think you mean the area around the Santa Monica Bay, which looks actually larger than “the” Bay. Even the Monterey Bay, just south of San Francisco, equals its sister in the north in size and is actually geologically much more interesting. It is home to the underwater Monterey Canyon, at one mile its as deep as the Grand Canyon. I also don’t know of any other American city that refers to itself so proudly as The City. Only “The Big Apple” comes to mind, not that cool in my opinion.
I must admit, however, that “the” Bay is pretty cool. It’s surrounded by “the” City to the west, San Jose and Silicon Valley to the south, Oakland and Berkeley to the East, and Marin County to the North. We visited all those places except Silicon Valley (we are there on our computers all the time anyway).
On our first day in San Francisco we got of the BART subway on Market Street and walked all the way through Chinatown and Little Italy over to Fisherman’s Wharf. The main attraction there ended up being a group of break dancers performing at Pier 39. We then walked along the Embarcadero back to the Ferry Building and Market St.
On our second day in The City we walked around the Mission District and up to the top of Corona Heights Park, a little mountain with an almost 360° view of the city. On the way up we enjoyed the quaint neighborhood of North Mission
with wide sidewalk, broken up with little garden patches and sitting areas. This is a real-life image of the utopian mural rendition we saw in the Mission. The girls continued walking to the west over to Golden Gate Park and I walked back to the Mission for a coffee meeting with an activist for the Economy for the Common Good.
On our third day in the city we went to the Presidio and the Visitors Center at the Golden Gate Bridge. I was planning to just enjoy the view and get some cool pictures. Our adventuresome friend Lisa said, “Hey, can we walk across the bridge”. What, no way, I first said. With Julian, Joshua and baby Theresa long ago we had walked out to the “South Tower” and that was amazing in itself. I had never thought of actually walking all the way across.
I guess it takes a 17-year old German to think of something so wild. Susa agreed to drive the car over and Theresa held my hand all the way. I was OK as long as I stayed arm’s length from the rail guard and in my daughter’s safe grip. It was very exciting. The view from out there is wonderful and it is a majestic bridge.
Another highlight of our trip was New Year’s Eve. We walked about 15 minutes up a dark road from our remote Youth Hostel to a lookout point where the four of us watched fireworks across the bay. The Golden Gate Bridge and the illuminated San Francisco skyline were the backdrop to the firework show.
I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. Once again I felt like I am “Homing In” a bit more here in California. Although I grew up in the other “City” down south, I feel roots in the Bay Area because my dad grew up here and just because it’s California.