The place where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars ...

San Francisco Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
As pretty as a postcard ...SF skyline

I left my heart in Fat Sam's disco ... or was that San Francisco? Thus crooned Tony Bennett. I can certainly see why. SF is a very compact city by American standards and is extremely walkable (well apart from all those steep hills). I stayed in the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, surrounded by little sushi bars and Asian restaurants. This was about 20 minutes walk from Union Square (the centre of SF) and was a very nice hotel indeed, the rooms having an authentic Japanese feel. On my 1st night I walked down Post St (avoiding the shemales selling their adam-appled wares outside Divas) and just sussed out the area. SF has a very different ambience to LA and is more like a maiden aunt, whereas LA is a crazy wild cousin who still hasn't settled down.

Union Square, SF
The next day I walked down to the Castro area famous for being the centre of the gay, lesbian and transgender movement. This is evidenced by the myriad rainbow flags almost everywhere. This area was also brought to prominence by the biopic film 'Milk' which dealt with the struggle for the acceptance of the gay community championed by the gunned-down city councillor Harvey Milk, played brilliantly by Sean Penn.

Took the trolley bus back to Union Square and had a beer and sandwich in a famous watering hole called Lefty O'Dools. I decided to see Sausalito (which was where Otis Redding sang about in 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay') and Muir Woods (remember the Wookies scene in Star Wars? ) the next day. Sausalito was also the home to Alan Watts one of my favourite philosophers, who lived there on a houseboat before he died in the early 70s.

Castro trolley, SF
He wrote about Man's effect on the ecology even back in the 60's and his words are chillingly true today. Muir Woods is the home to Giant Redwood trees, some over a thousand years old, and are thankfully protected from logging.


You can't go to San Francisco without seeing Alcatraz so that was next on my hitlist, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Surprisingly close to San Francisco this penitentiary was home to some of the most infamous criminals in America and the audio tour certainly does a great job in making you feel the oppressive atmosphere which prevailed during their incarceration on the 'Rock'. It must have been torture in those cells with the bright lights and sounds of San Francisco so tantalisingly close.


Once again I was struck at the level and quantity of homelessness in San Francisco and some streets seem to be overwhelmed with dropouts and vagrants.

Homeless living out of shopping trolleys, SF
So sad to see this level of poverty in the midst of such wealth and abundance. There seems to be no safety net for these poor unfortunates. They were some mother's little bundle of joy at one stage and I always wonder what were the circumstances in their lives which led to them ending up homeless and drink/drug sodden. Such a sad thing to see in a fellow human being. Maybe its just the huge population but I was genuinely surprised by the degree of this phenomenon in California.


However despite all of these flaws California is a place I'll definitely go back to especially Venice Beach, and it's only now almost 3 months later I'm beginning to appreciate how lucky we are to be able to travel. Next stop Gdansk in Poland!


I hope its cold and snowing, love those Eastern European countries in the cold weather. I've been to Poland twice before (Krakow and Warsaw) and loved it especially Krakow.
Thanks to everyone who's read and commented on these blogs ...safe travels everyone.

anupa_rk says:
Loved this city! So pretty
Posted on: Sep 03, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
As pretty as a postcard ...SF skyl…
As pretty as a postcard ...SF sky…
Union Square, SF
Union Square, SF
Castro trolley, SF
Castro trolley, SF
Homeless living out of shopping tr…
Homeless living out of shopping t…
Golden Gate Bridge, SF
Golden Gate Bridge, SF
Golden Gate Bridge, SF
Golden Gate Bridge, SF
Alcatraz, SF
Alcatraz, SF
View of San Francisco from Alcatraz
View of San Francisco from Alcatraz
Alcatraz, SF
Alcatraz, SF
Guard Tower, Alcatraz, SF
Guard Tower, Alcatraz, SF
San Francisco City Hall
San Francisco City Hall
Woman shaving her legs San Francis…
Woman shaving her legs San Franci…
Twin Peaks ...1st openly gay bar i…
Twin Peaks ...1st openly gay bar …
Castro, SF
Castro, SF
Castro, SF
Castro, SF
Castro, SF
Castro, SF
Moving the cable cars in San Fran…
view of San Francisco from Alcatraz
riding in the cable car in San Fr…