Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just a Weekend in the City

Poppies overlooking SF
As I sit here, it’s raining outside. I don’t mind the rain, I actually really enjoy it. My father used to say that after it rained, or after you watered your plants, everything turned green to thank you for the water. When it rains, I think of our planet engaging in a wonderful cycle of love and reciprocity.

There is one downside to the rain, and that is that it keeps me inside. I mean, I could go out in the rain and try to keep warm and stay dry—in fact, I do, when I take Bomber out throughout the day—but I’d much rather stay inside, warm and dry.  This is why I’m happy that last weekend Joe, Bomber and I spent most of our time outdoors, walking around the city and discovering new alleys, new parks, new street art, and new ways to have fun in San Francisco.

Our wanderings took us to wonderful overlooks of the city where I was able to snap a few photos of Alcatraz, a pirate boat, Coit Tower, and more. But, my favorite walk of the weekend was the one through Chinatown, up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, and back.

Alcatraz and Pirate Boat
We usually go to Coit Tower at night, as an evening walk for Joe to stretch his legs, and for Bomber to burn some energy. It’s a great distance from our home and we really love the walk. The night walk is pretty fun and relaxing and there are not many people around and it’s pretty quiet.

The walk is totally different during the day, especially during a weekend day. As we started going up Telegraph Hill, we started seeing more and more tourists. I didn’t really mind. In fact, it was sort of fun to see all these people, most of whom are probably not used to walking around cities, very excitedly going up this very steep hill. I felt bad for people who reached the top of the stairs huffing and puffing, but I was also impressed at their determination to climb all the stairs, after having gone up a steep hill, just to reach the top of the hill, see Coit Tower, and admire the gorgeous views of San Francisco and the Bay.  I could almost hear them telling their families and friends about those darn steep hills in the city, “How do people live there?” The answer to that is easy: you learn what the flat streets are, and get lots of practice walking on hills when you can’t avoid them.

Classic Cable Car!
Anyway, back to the walk. After we reached the top of Telegraph Hill, we decided to go down a different side of the hill just for fun. We usually take the better-lit path in order to avoid any uncomfortable situation, but this time, during the daylight hours, we could choose any way we wanted! We found a new flight of lushly landscaped stairs and started going down. At some point we reached a road and, on the side of the road, an alleyway with stairs took us down to a beautiful garden. Now, it’s spring out here, so you can imagine all the flowers that were blooming and all the fragrances that were lingering in the air. It was quite magical to find this oasis of flowers and greenery in the middle of the city!

Red Door
The three of us walked around the gardens, trying to take it all in. We admired the views we got, and then started contemplating what are next move should be.  As we descended all the way down to Filbert Street, we again crossed paths with people who were really struggling to go up the stairs. Were we in any better shape? We asked ourselves and decided to test ourselves and see if we really were.
Coit Tower

Once we reached the bottom of the Filbert Stairs, we had a drink of water and, immediately, turned around and started going back up the way we had come from.  Even though, everyday we go up the very steep hill we live on, I have to say that climbing up almost 400 stairs was no easy task. We were not exactly out of breath, but we could certainly feel our hearts beating harder and our lungs trying to get a bit more air. All of a sudden, instead of being shocked at the fact that people would get winded going up some dinky stairs, we were quite impressed by the fact that people in their 50s and 60s, who are not used to hills, were going up the hill on foot. I guess you can say that you need to walk in someone else’s shoes (or up their stairs!) before you can form an opinion about them, right?

Flower in Bloom
After exploring new roads and new alleys, we started making our way home. This time we chose the flat road back. 

Walking around is my #1 favorite activity. I love it for so many reasons. Walking makes you healthier and allows you to explore places you cannot go on your car. Also, walking allows you to better take in your surroundings, it brings your closer to the Earth and to the people around you.

So, even though San Francisco has lots of very fun parks, I really loved the one we found. Yes, it is a bit overrun by tourists, but because we found it by accident, it still feels like our little secret. Look at some of the photos from our weekend to get a taste of the beauties I encountered while moving on my own 2 feet.

Fun truck on Nob Hill

For more photos, check out my Etsy store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WorldPhotosByPaola

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