San Francisco: A City of Eclectic Charm
San Francisco: Alcatraz, Cafe Trieste, Chinatown and more!
My most memorable moment of San Francisco visit was walking one balmy evening through The Mission on the way to dinner. The Mission could not be any more different from a more conventional downtown: the area was obviously up and coming and fashionable with a plethora of new restaurants and bars, and yet intimidating with beggars and mad people wandering the streets. At one point, I witnessed a proper “bitch fight” – forgive the rather crude term, but it is exactly what it was – one woman, obviously a diva with perhaps a little too much swagger, who started beating another with her handbag whilst shouting rather funny sounding obscenities at her. This was a scene that you could easily imagine as part of a film, and yet you never encounter in real life. The local spectators, stopped in their tracks by the commotion, were cheering loudly and clapping. I had to stop and watch the whole feisty scene unfold, as the whole spectacle was entertaining beyond belief…
San Francisco is my second favourite city in the US, following closely in the footsteps of New York City. It is a “walking” city with a distinct character, a city of picturesque neat architecture accompanied by a slight roughness around the edges. The most populous city in Northern California, San Francisco is ridiculously charming: rolling steep hills that can make even the fittest person feel unfit; the constant hum of the cable cars; an eerie fog that often envelops the city like a feathery duvet; the proliferation of brilliantly coloured flowers in almost every nook and cranny in the summer; the iconic, magnificent red Golden Gate Bridge soaring high above the glistening waters of San Francisco bay; expansive, brilliantly-coloured Chinatown. San Francisco is also home to the former infamous and daunting Alcatraz prison located on Alcatraz Island, a federal maximum security prison (1933-1963) that was housed many a notorious crimnial including Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and Robert Franklyn Stroud, “the Birdman of Alcatraz”. It is also a prison with perhaps the most stunning location affording sweeping views of San Francisco itself across the bay, and well worth a visit, if you are only in town for a short time. San Francisco is a city I could easily imagine myself living in. It is a city whose appeal is further heightened by the proximity of the Wine Country, with an astounding array of first-rate wines: delicious chardonnays, delectable pinot noirs, and mind-blowing cabernet sauvignons.