Tuesday, November 17, 2009

California Tour, Day 1: Veni, vidi, vici

This week I'm doing a "whirlwind" California tour -- I flew into San Francisco yesterday afternoon and will be here until Wednesday when I fly to San Diego; Thursday I see a musical (my favorite musical) in Orange County and then at 12:30 AM Friday morning I fly via Houston to be back in Cleveland for the Orchestra's next Fridays @ 7 concert.

I had no plans for today when I got here... and still had no plans when I left the room this morning. Last visit I hit all of the museums I knew about and was interested in so... I wound up finishing my longest walk/run to date -- 16.75, give or take, continuous miles on foot down the Embarcadero, through Fisherman's Wharf (with a brief pause at In-N-Out Burger for lunch), way, way, down Lombard, and that's where it got interesting, especially since that's the last place I actually looked at a map. At some point I decided I was going to cross the Golden Gate while I was here.

First, I found myself at the Palace of Fine Arts which is a beautiful structure and stunning grounds... I'm unclear, though if the Palace includes just the dome or the dome + the hall that is now home to the Exploratorium; if the latter is true the name is much less confusing. In any event, it's amazing what fantastic condition the place is in given the complete lack of walls.

From there the pedestrian path to the Golden Gate was decidedly unclear and I wound up crossing over and making my way through the Presidio, a decommissioned military installation (1776-1994), now a mixed use facility; at some point during my walk through the beautiful grounds, I got turned slightly sideways -- this part of San Francisco is not the most pedestrian friendly with no wayfinding and sidewalks that occasionally abruptly disappear, but it was a relatively scenic hike through the woods with a very peaceful cemetery along the way.

Once back in the general direction of the bridge, I stumbled across an overlook that provided some unworldly views of the Bridge and the ocean before continuing on to my goal: The Golden Gate Bridge. I've driven across, and been driven across this bridge before. I've also walked on to the bridge... but never completely across. Narrowly missing death-by-tourist-cyclist on a few occasions I made it north, then back south.

I, thankfully, did not retrace my steps on the way back; instead, after getting off the bridge I immediately wound up on Lincoln Blvd, switch backed my way down to the coast and followed the coast to Fort Mason; through a park, and back to Van Ness. From Van Ness I took North Point and Beach to the Cable Car turn around. I rode the cable car all the way downtown, not so much because that's where I wanted to go but because I wanted to sit for a little while. Once downtown I walked back to the hotel (about 1 mile, for a total of about 17.75 miles) and took my shoes off.

My hotel is across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid. From the North side of the bridge, you can see the Transamerica Pyramid but it seems like it's one heck of a long way away.

I'm seriously considering, time permitting, checking out the San Francisco Opera tomorrow evening... we'll see.


1 comment:

  1. In N Out huh, take it easy and dont eat too much you still have to eat some with your mom when you visit her.