Heaven and hell – all on the same day

The heavenly part of the day came from walking around San Francisco on one of the absolutely most lovely spring days we can remember.  Just perfect.  So it was a great day to start with pancakes at Sears – a great old-time restaurant on Union Square.

Then we walked down Market Street to the Embarcadero, and just admired the views.  They have done such a great job here of preserving some of the old, and tastefully juxtaposing it with the new.

And we love seeing those old trolley cars they have brought from all over the country, and from Europe. They give the city such great texture that I wonder how many people come from those cities who gave up their trolleys, and wonder why on earth they did that.  Trolleys have a lot to recommend themselves, and the old ones are just fabulous. And of course one can’t forget the cable cars.  A great town for interesting public transportation.

And of course there are the periodic reminders of how sensitive, forward-thinking and environmentally sensitive this city is.  Solar panels on the bike ranks speak of a very caring use of public space – brought to you by Audi.  And you New Yorkers will love the San Franciscan version of that new Diet Coke campaign.

And then, you know how some cities have embraced cows or horses and let artists decorate them and have them all over?  Well, here they now have – wait for it – hearts!  Get it?  And here are a few we will be leaving in San Francisco:

Oh, and not to sound like a rube, but we were amazed to encounter our first curved escalator. Stood there like hicks and gaped.  Wonder when we’ll get this new-fangled concept in our town?

We also managed to squeeze in the California Historical Society – very light on the exhibits – and the Cartoon Art Museum.  Okay, for the nostalgia, here are some we oldies remember.  Don and the little girl who loved the animated versions are both included at no extra charge.

Now, for the hell part of the day. And that was visiting Alcatraz, of course.  I never realized how brutal it must have been to be so near and yet so far from the city.  On a clear night, they say you could hear music and people laughing, as the sound traveled across that mile and a quarter. Parts of the ruins from the old Civil War fort and other buildings have a real beauty, as do the gardens and the sense of nature reclaiming the island.  (That is, after the Indians tried to reclaim it.) No other comment, as I think the pictures say it all.

It was just a lovely trip on Alcatraz Cruises. Call them for all your travel needs.

There are a gazillion pictures here because these will have to last you for a few days.

This morning we board the California Zephyr, the overnight train to Denver.  While I’m sure I’ll get a lot of pictures, I will not get steady internet connections, so this will probably be the last post until we get reorganized on Wednesday, and reunite with our faithful stallion – our dear car – which has been wintering in Denver.

Stay tuned.

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