Disclaimer from 2018
This text is ancient history. It was written during my solo trip to the USA in 2012. I had just won a massive deal for the company I worked for but suddenly felt the weight of straining three years past on me. I ran too far, too fast. The trip was in part to find closure, distraction, energy, happiness and connect with the olden dream of living and working in America. Years have past and what remains of this trip are great memories, friends and the certainty to have at least tried something when I thought all energy was spent.
I went through this text and made some edits, added a comment or changed a picture. Otherwise it's reserved from a time, when Notebooks were still heavy. This text especially is more of a fragment. I've started writing it in 2012, but have done a bit more work two years after the actual trip. I kept it unfinished until I imported my archive to my new page and now it's too distant, too much a memory to properly write about it
So far we had some stories about South California. Sitting in a Vancouver sou-terrain apartment, after a casual stroll through parts of Vancouver's Stanley park, I want to begin talking about San Francisco. Yes, I want to BEGIN talking about this city. Because it was a damn intense, albeit short, ride and will take more than one post.
Wow, California you god damn roller-coaster
Luckily, Vancouver is a much calmer city, somewhere where you can open the safety harness after the roller-coaster ride of California and straighten your hair, get your facial expression in order and stand up.
I only spent a couple of days in this city, aptly labeled Fog city, SanFran or just San Francisco (Note to Germans: No one calls it Frisco). Yet the days I had were enough to get me excited about the vibe of this town. I found what I was looking for in this city of wind, clouds, mist and rolling ascends and descents.
For the progressive European, the city will fell like home or a summer festival turned city. For the American arriving from the east coast or Midwest, the city must feel alien. It's a fusion of open-mindedness, innovation, progression and laissez-faire.
It's almost as if everyone knows that their personal existence and that of the city is only temporary. There is a kind of drive and buzz over the city that both urges you to enjoy the every-day ("This city is all about food, man") and to try to create something great, may it last or not (The IT world in and around San Francisco).
To put in other words: There are the United States, then there is California and then there is San Francisco.
It's like a gem that the country just allows itself to have, like a side-business, an "and we also have" endeavor, a reservoir for all those who want to step out of the usual American way of life. In simple words: It's fucking awesome.
San Francisco as a tourist
Whew, that was a lot of meta description. Now let's get down to Business. What did I do? After I parted from my road-trip companions and placed the luggage in some dude's place, I moved on to a German pub to watch the soccer game of Germany vs Denmark.
Wearing my jersey, I gave myself away, but that was ok, quite a few other Germans and fans of "our" team arrived, so chatting soon commenced and beers were drunk. I got tips for my days in the city as well as the number of a waitress eager to show me around her town. She was an aspiring Miss California pageant, but the tour never happened as I had no time and I didn't want to trigger confusion with my Misses back home (Hello...no worries, mkay?).
After we kicked Denmark's Rød pølse-asses, I moved on to the Golden Gate park. While the day started off with great weather - which everyone had to talk about - it turned cold and foggy as I arrived in the park. I took the elevator up the De Joung museum, which is a neat trick to have a free look over the city - if it wasn't for the fog which obstructed my view. So down I went again, to sit in a park and listen to the Golden Gate Park band and marvel at some clowns juggling on stage. Free, nice.
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Free music and free show - that is the Golden Gate Park
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Goldern Gate Park
The weather continued to be shitty, but I pushed on through the park. When I got lost, I asked one of the Golden Gate Park band members for directions. Walking with me, he told me that summer sucks in this city and I should come back in September, which is the little secret they won't tell us tourists before arriving.
Visit San Francisco in September - not in Summer.
Leaving the park, I took a bus to Ocean beach, which was less than thrilling in fog and mist. Anyways, I took the Lands End trail, chatted with a nice guy about cameras and how nice NorthCal is, especially for whine drinkers (and its has the better weed, too). There was no sight of the present shipwrecks just off the coast, but I heard the foghorns guiding ships through these dangerous waters. Neither Golden Gate bridge nor Alcatraz showed themselves, but I still enjoyed the hike. The trail is highly recommended, as is chilling at the Golden Gate Park. To feel the city it is best to lay aside guide books and travel plans. Just take half a day to lie in a park, feel the people and city and soon you'll meet a likely hearted person who will give you tips or bring you to places you would have not expected but after seeing them will make you feel that without them you would have not understood this city.
Don't bring your guidebook when going to California. Lay your crowd recommendations to the side and lie down in the grass, let the recommendations come to you via the sweet whisper of Californians sensing on of their own.
Onwards to Little Italy and Chinatown
This post might be boring so far. Let me skip to Little Italy and North Beach, then. Because this is where I spent the night at my colleagues place. This place is the bomb. Not only great bars, drinking and food on every day of the week, but also an atmosphere that makes you want to sell your liver just to be able to afford a flat there. Not only did I see bottles of Reissdorfer Kölsch, but also, just as we stumbled through an back alley, a really old saloon with free music. Great Bluesrock, old hippies dancing and a welcoming atmosphere made me believe it must be Saturday. And there is more than one place like that, just in this neighborhood alone.
add pink garage door please check blog for the missing images
I like the pink color and blatant disrespect of the graffiti ban.
The red light district seemed to have shifted from Chinatown to little Italy To the left is the Transamerica tower. This is a night shot of North Beach San Francisco.
A bar which tried to capture or conjure the poetic minded Alright, here I'll tell you a little something: On the left you see a model posing on a motorbike. The rest of the people in the image are busy drawing here. This was at some café with the biggest Espresso machine. If you can't make out the details, click on the image for full size and access to full gallery. A shy blues man sings his songs. For a bar we stumbled into, the music was real good.
Expected more action from this post? Just you wait for the next one, because then we have a missile site, red woods, near death experience and more. Well see here, it never came to that, I never wrote that second part :-(