Friday, August 28, 2009

San Francisco--California's True Gem

I will admit right now that I am partial. I grew up in Northern California less than 2 hours away from San Francisco. We went there often when I was growing up and some of my best memories growing up are from our trips into the city by the bay.

I consider San Francisco to be California's best and most scenic city. For those that have never been, I hope this short post induces some wanderlust in you and causes you to want to include it on your near future travel plans. Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" really speaks to so many of us who have walked its streets and who have taken in its vistas. There are so many visuals and sounds that come to mind when I think of it. I can hear the distinct ringing of the Cable Car bells. I can smell the aroma of the fresh baked Boudin's sour dough bread. I can feel the cool salty air blowing in with fog off of the Pacific Ocean. I can hear a faint fog horn sound from Alcatraz.

It is so vivid and it makes me want to hop a plane and rush back. I want to hurry and scamper up the steps of Coit Tower so I can just sit and look 360 degrees in every direction and see the Bay, the unique downtown skyline with the famous Transamerica Pyramid Building, and on a clear day, look and see the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. I want to take a nice walk from Ghirardelli Square over to Little Italy and then on to China Town before finally making my way to Union Square. Once in Union Square, my next favorite must-do would be to enter the luxurious St Francis Hotel and hop on the elevator. It is one of best ways (and free) to see most of the city from a bird's eye view since its outside elevator takes you up 32 stories to the top.

If you are lucky enough to be in SF during the summer, you know that it is a cool oasis away from the heat that the rest of the Country is engulfed in. It can get as cool as 50 degrees during a foggy summer night in SF which is why you need to listen to those who tell you to pack a coat for your summer's visit.

One last vivid memory to share is the many walks I have taken down the area known as Fisherman's Wharf. You can walk slowly and sample fresh crab and shrimp that were pulled from the water just that morning. Don't get caught up in the tourist snares and commercialism that has come to the wharf, but stay near the areas where you can still smell the freshness of the catch.

The great thing about SF is that everything is either a nice walk away, a fun Cable Car ride away or a very short taxi ride away. The city is one of the easiest cities to navigate and everywhere is a new view to take in and capture by camera. So get out there and enjoy my favorite city in the whole wide world...San Francisco.

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