Monday, July 30, 2012

Use your feet, walk places!

What a fabulous weekend this last one was! I had been waiting for a weekend like that for a bit now.

On Friday, Peru celebrated 191 years of independence and we celebrated it by going out on a long walk that took us all the way to Fort Mason.

When we walk around the city, we make a point of trying out new streets. Even if exploring means climbing up steeper hills, we usually choose to walk on streets we haven’t been before. Poking around unexplored areas usually has its rewards. A few weeks ago we ventured into a park that looked more like a private walkway, and we discovered a super cool, and super private, alley where blackberries grew wild. Unlike most blackberry bushes in the city, this one was untouched, full of ripe, juicy and tasty blackberries! Obviously, this alley does not get the foot traffic other places in the city do!

Well, our curiosity paid off once again on Saturday. While walking towards Fort Mason’s grassy fields, we walked pass a community garden! Yes, a lovely garden that is cared for by community members.

Because we had Bomber with us, only I was able to walk in while Joe waited outside with the puppy. No dogs allowed inside the community garden, which makes total sense.

Once I opened the gate and entered the garden, I felt as if I had entered the Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens in Santa Barbara. The smell of flowers was so intense, and the variety in shapes and colors was incredible.

I walked around the garden for a while and then went back outside where Joe and a very anxious Bomber were waiting for me to continue with our walk.

We ended Peru’s independence day with a fabulous meal at La Mar, one of the best Peruvian restaurants in the city, and one of the many restaurants owned by our celebrity chef, Gaston Acurio.

Sunday started early and we decided to head West to Ocean Beach. We took the train there and rode for about 40 minutes all the way to the beach.  Once there, we unleashed Bomber and started walking on the beach. We went back and forth about 3 times.

The beach is such a relaxing place. When you are at the beach, you don’t have to worry about anything other than the steps you take, and that’s not even something to worry about.  At the beach, the only sounds are those of the ocean, the birds and other beachgoers. Such a soothing place. After a long week, a little bit of beach time was all we needed!

Ocean Beach is also the perfect place to find sand dollars!  We saw people looking for them and we saw many of them as we walked along the shore. Most of them were broken but, nonetheless, they were still very pretty!

Because we left the apartment early, we started getting really hungry around noon, so we decided to head back to the train station to find some food.

After we fueled our bodies, we decided to start walking in the direction of home, following the train tracks. We had never walked around the Sunset, the district south of the Golden Gate Park, and this was the perfect opportunity to check it out.

Walking around the Sunset was fun. We crossed the entire district and enjoyed seeing how colorful the houses are there.  I have never really understood why there are ordinances or rules about what colors to paint your own home. In the Sunset, those rules do not seem to exist as you can see a pink house next to a blue one, next to an orange one, next to a white one. The end result? A very colorful neighborhood where the houses light up the streets given that the sun seems to hide behind the clouds most of the time.

Once we passed the Sunset, we entered Cole Valley and then Parnassus Heights before hitting Buena Vista Park. At this time we were quite tired after having gone up all the way from the ocean to this point. We still ventured into the park but decided to come back and really explore it some other day. While walking through it, we found some blackberries. They were not totally ripe but we still ate some.  A bit bitter but still refreshing.

I think it was around Parnassus Heights that we saw the coolest and possibly the wackiest succulents I have ever seen in my life. If any of you have seen Pink Floyd’s The Wall, you’ll be able to picture them as they looked exactly like the animated flowers on the movie.  I indulged in a full 15 minutes of photos of just these guys!
We went up and down, over the hills and through parks and new neighborhoods. In total we walked about 9 miles before deciding to catch the train back by Duboce Park. At the end, I was very happy to have seen all these new places. After all, I might live in Nob Hill, but there is nothing stopping me from enjoying all the other fun neighborhoods that exist in this city. And, only a train-ride away, I can always position myself to start a long walk through unknown streets!

Hope you enjoyed the photos from this weekend. For more photos, check out my Etsy store at:


  1. Such a bouquet of amazing flowers! What a lovely post, Paola! <3

  2. Well, you know how I feel about walking! Such a great documentation of all that the city has to offer. I love the little things one finds when "taking a road less traveled". Such beautiful photographs (as always) and the colors are stunning! Feliz independencia, too!