May 30, 2006

My trip to San Francisco Part 6

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 3:42 pm

I did not have firm plans on what to do in San Francisco, so I’ve sort of followed the road, bypassing Presidio – which in hindsight I really should have visited-and went towards the ocean to the House on the Cliff.
Its modern structure somewhat disappointed me and I was really surprised later when I learned that the house was built in early 1900s! I did not have much time before the museums would start to close and I did want to visit at least one of them that day, so I did not go down to the Camera Obscura, preferring a quiet lunch on the terrace with the view of the ocean. I am a big fan of clam chowder and the chowder in the House on the Cliff was one of the best I tried (or maybe I was just too hungry?

class=”MsoNormal” style=”MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt”>In any case, after I finished lunch I was running a bit short on time as it was getting close to 3:30 and the Legion of Honor Museum that I wanted to visit could close at 5 for all I knew. I left the House on the Cliff, but I still wanted to get down to the ocean. There was a funny show down below, where people in what seemed two carts were roaming about on the shore, driven by the force of the wind in the parachutes attached to the carts. I forgot what those guys are called, there is a name for this sport, – but they were a great fun to watch! On top of everything else, I wanted to come down also to touch the Pacific Ocean again, for the first time in over 13 years. I am a bit sentimental in this way, I have to admit… >

All that done I hit the slope back up to my car again, so I could get finally to the museum of European Art – the Legion of Honor Museum, located not far from there, in Lincoln Park. I was a bit surprised to realize that the whole park is actually a golf course, though one could envy these golf players for such a wonderful scenery all around.

In a funny coincidence I got the 3rd season of Remington Steele TV show when I got back home and one of the last episodes of the show features events happening in most places in San Francisco that I’ve just visited (only the show was made over 20 years ago!) I have to say, Lincoln Park did not seem to change a bit!

The Legion of Honor Museum is really a small museum, compared to many European and US museums I’ve visited before, but it had several gems in its collection – I was most impressed by the French triptych of the 13th century as well as the Moorish golden ceiling from Spain. It does not take a very long time to walk through the museum, but it is a very entertaining walk! I was also amused by the copy of the Louvre Pyramid before the entrance – nothing of the grandeur of the real thing! The Thinker statue seemed to be the copy made by Rodin himself, but I was not sure.

I only had an evening left and it was getting a bit dark by the time I’ve left the car at the hotel parking lot and walked a few blocks up to

Hyde street

, where the cable cars were running. The street was going right into the Bay, with Ghirardelli square on the left and the Fisherman’s Wharf on the right. The Bay and the Alcatraz Island were all the way in front of my eyes as I was slowly moving along

Hyde street

, marveling at the skill of the local drivers, who somehow managed to parallel park the car on the slope at no less than 20 degrees inclination! Watching the cars going up that same slope was really very painful, my sympathy to the poor drivers was growing by the minute!

As an added bonus (though I did not even realize it was there) I ran into the “Crookedest Street in the World” – Lombard street, which at one point was crossing Hyde street and it was the beginning of that very famous slalom descent road, where (as my brother, who once did it told me) one does not see much further that the very nose of the car! Looks to me like one’s got to possess some supernatural skills to drive in some parts of San Francisco!

One thing that’s got to be said about Alcatraz – it’s surprisingly small. Also, though I was an avid fan of the movie “The Rock”, which featured Alcatraz profoundly, I realized that I’ve got the bay prospective totally wrong based on how it’s portrayed in the movie! Alcatraz seemed to be located somewhere in the ocean, so long was the distance shown in the film, while in fact there is probably no more than a mile from either side of the bay to the island! Talk about deception of the silver screen…

By the time I reached the Wharf it was already dark and I leisurely walked through it towards the

Bay Street

, watching the crowds, listening to some really nice music a guy was playing on the electrical piano. Seemed to me that he wrote it too, because he was selling CDs with his face all over that cover and I even felt sorry later that I did not have enough cash to buy one, the music was really good. I hope he’ll enjoy success sooner than later!

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