Travel: The Bay Area (Revisited)

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Trees in Golden Gate Park

Well, we made it. After a week of hard core travel, we made it to California. Hoorah! It’s been eight years since I lived here, and I had no idea how much I missed it. The Bay Area (That’s San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and surrounding areas) is a special place and there is always something to do.

San Francisco is a small city that packs a big punch. It’s 7×7, which means it is totally walkable if you have the right shoes and the right attitude. You can be in China Town checking out all of the cool markets and restaurants, turn a corner and find yourself in the middle of Little Italy and the birthplace of the Beat Movement. It’s pretty awesome. There is a sense of excitement in San Francisco, a sense that something is going on – and it usually is.

SN858038I decided to take my boyfriend to all of the places I like to eat, naturally. We did breakfast at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe and The Pork Store, and we had some always awesome burritos at Pancho Villa in The Mission, pizza and beers at Lane Splitters in Berkeley, and some Pho in China Town. I still need to hit up The Baywolf in Oakland – by far the best dinner, wine, and service in all of the Bay. As you can see, The Bay Area is definitely a place for good food and tons of options. No matter what you like, you’ll find it.

Since my sweetie hasn’t been here before, I’m taking advantage of my old status as tour guide and taking him to all the best places. I can still remember how to get around, and I still remember most of my “fun facts”. (Did you know that Lombard Street is NOT the steepest street in SF? It’s true!) We walked Golden Gate Park from The Haight, past all the street punks and Hipster/hippies, to The De Young Museum. The Museum is inside of Golden Gate Park and it’s architecturally stunning. We got to see The Conservatory and the lawn bowlers and even the carousel and kid’s play area. Golden Gate Park is beautiful, free and bigger than Central Park in NY. It is also home to Bison. Yup, bison.

Lombard

Lombard

From there we went to The North Bay. We saw Lombard Street and got a great view of Alcatraz before walking down the hill to Little Italy. We walked past Saints Peter and Paul Church where Marilyn married Joe, and on to City Lights Bookstore where Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the rest of the Beat-nicks stated a revolution. Right next door is one of my favorite bars, Vesuvio, where Beat Poetry was pretty much invented. It opens at 6am like a good bar should and it looks pretty much the same as it did in the 60’s. I love to sit upstairs with a good book and a pint and watch the city go by.

I’ve only had one real disappointment. The Bay Bridge. It has always been my favorite bridge in any city. I love it’s cold steel, hard feel. But, unfortunately they have done away with that. It was due for an upgrade, but in doing so it has lost a lot of it’s personality. It’s all white and shiny now. (Yawn) The new Bay Bridge was scheduled for completion in 2013 and cost an estimated total of $6.3 billion dollars making it one of the largest public works projects in US history.The SN858059West Span is being retrofitted through reinforcement and the East Span is being replaced entirely with a new design. And LED lights. So now the gritty bridge that was built in 1936 is gone and in it’s place is a public art piece that is better suited to Disneyland. I know I’m in the minority, but I thought I’d share my opinion anyway. Some of the best parts of any city are the old, dirty parts.

We still have a little time before we head up the mountain to Ratna Ling. In that time I plan on singing at The Mint, eating more good food, and perhaps seeing a movie or two. I’ll keep you posted.

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