A Blog About What Inspires Me... A Blog to Share My Photographs And The Story Behind Them...
I live in San Francisco, so I blog a lot about my lovely city. But, because I love traveling, I usually find myself visiting new towns, cities, and new countries!
At the beginning I was just delaying the writing, waiting for
the time right time to go take some photos, but the time never seemed to come
and I stayed busy with work and life in general. I was getting a bit anxious
about the lack of what I thought was inspiration, and by the fact that the days
of the week kept passing by and I had not had the chance to explore somewhere,
seen something new, or been motivated to take photos.
started two weeks ago when our friends visited from Paris. They stayed with us
and we spent the week showing them around our wonderful city. It was quite
refreshing to see San Francisco through the eyes of tourists. Not only did we
see the same old things in new ways, but we also discovered many new things in
our city. For example, I had never
visited City Lights (http://www.citylights.com), a super cool bookstore founded
in 1953 right on the intersection of Broadway and Columbus Streets in North
Beach. We had walked pass the bookstore many times but had never gone in. In
fact, we hadn’t even noticed it was there.
Thanks to our French friends, we learned about it and got super excited
about all the fun books in it!
City Lights, one of our friends showed us a book about the graffiti artist
Banksy. This “British graffiti artist
known for his intricate stencil images with ironic socio-political content”
seemed familiar in some ways. I guess I had seen one or more of his famous
images on t-shirts or in a book. But, the point is, we learned that we could
find some of his original work right here, in San Francisco!
also went on a self-guided tour of the famous murals that are hidden in alleys
in the Mission District. My blog on Street Art had some photos of these murals
from one of our first visits to San Francisco before moving here but, since
moving here, we haven’t really visited the murals to see what new and fun art
is now decorating these alleys.
friends’ visit, I didn’t take photos because I was busy being their tour guide
and I was simply enjoying showing them around. Seeing how much they loved San
Francisco made me want to re-discover our city, to do something new, to see all
the exciting things that the city has to offer and that, sometimes, I don’t
even know exists!
left a week ago and it was then that my week got very busy. In the back of my
mind I wanted to go out, take some photos but it just didn’t happen. Not until
As if things
weren’t challenging enough, the weather last week was quite gloomy. The fog
didn’t clear until the afternoon and only for a few hours. Evenings were very
foggy, windy and cold. As we walked Bomber in the evenings, it was funny to
think that this is summer weather in San Francisco!
foggy walk, I took some photos. I don’t mind the cold damp weather. I actually
like it a bit and it was fun to take photos of the fog, of what the city looks
like on a foggy Wednesday evening during the summertime!
We got home
when the sun was already down, which meant that I got some cool night shots
along the way.
On Friday we
set out on a walk with the purpose of taking photos but it didn’t work. We
didn’t get quite to where we wanted and ended up just walking around, with our
dog. We did see, from one of the hills, some of the fancy sailboats that are in
town for the America’s Cup. We sat on the sidewalk on a street corner, and
watched the races for a bit. After a while, we got up and moved on.
weekend finally here, I hoped to finally be able to find inspiration – weekends
are great, they feel so free! So, on Saturday, I headed up to Noe Valley to
meet a wonderful friend who was visiting the city (she recently moved out of
the city) and, a few hours—and several cups of tea—later, Joe came down with
Bomber to meet me to go for a walk somewhere new, hopefully somewhere with a
good view of the city.
plan, we started walking up the street. We walked a few blocks and then saw a
hillside park called Billy Goat Park. We went up it and got an amazing
panoramic view of San Francisco. Because of the time in the day, the fog was
already making its way into the bay, and downtown was almost covered in clouds
and fog. Nonetheless, the views were quite beautiful.
up and then found some wooden stairs that went down. We followed them down
until we reached Laidley Street. We were in between Glen Park and Diamond
Heights, but yet it felt like we were in some sort of quirky movie set. The
houses were extremely colorful and the shapes were very unusual. There was even
a house that had golden eggs adorning the roof, very similar to Dali’s house in
The more we
walked, the more pleasantly surprised we got by the amount of quirkiness we
encountered. We decided to call this walk the Architecture Walk!
After a few
blocks we left Laidley St. and continued our walk up Diamond Heights to a
nearby dog park. We thought Bomber would not mind a quick sprint before walking
back to the train station to head back home.
Sunday, the skies were blue when we opened our eyes to the new day. After
taking care of some chores around the house, we headed out, determined to look
for two of the works of art of Bansky that we knew were close to us.
Street Art by Banksy
stop was Chinatown. On the corner of Grant and Commercial Streets, behind a
protective glass, we found the first Banksy. Strangely, there was nobody there
taking photos of it. For some reason I had pictured the scene full of people,
snapping photos, but that wasn’t the case.
We stared at
it for a while. The image depicts a doctor listening to a big spray-painted red
heart that is next to a peace sign. Some minutes later, we took a few steps
back and saw the full scene. The wall in which this piece of art is painted on
is also painted with two huge and colorful dragons. The dragons are, at the
same time, located in a very colorful corner of Chinatown. I can see how other
people would miss the much smaller, almost hidden piece of political art.
Street Art by Banksy
Chinatown and started to walk towards North Beach, to see the Banksy our French
friends had seen while exploring San Francisco. Once again, right on a busy
corner where books dangle from cables, and poetry is written all over the
sidewalk, on the side of a second story of a building, was another street graffiti.
This time, the image of a young kid wearing a gas mask drawn next to a caption
that read, “If at first you don’t succeed—call an airstrike.”
Street Art by Banksy
with having seen 2 of the 7 works of street graffiti by Banksy that are in the
city, we walked towards the ferry building, along the water.
that a visit from French friends would turn into a walk of discovery for us? Well,
the truth is that we really got motivated to stick to our determination of
seeing a new part of the city every weekend, or as often as possible.
learned that perseverance is a great thing. I kept my eyes open, and my camera
in my bag at all times and, finally, I got some photos and a blog post to share
more fun photos, visit my Etsy store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WorldPhotosByPaola.
I turned 32 years old. Somehow it felt a little bit like I was getting closer
to 40. I guess, in theory, every day I’m getting closer to 40, 50, 60, etc.
Every day I turn a bit older or, as I like to think of it, a bit wiser!
my big day, we went camping for 4 days. We booked our campsite sometime back in
February, which was a good idea because the campground was full when we arrived
to it on Thursday afternoon. We have noticed that parks in California get
heavily used. I mean that in a good way. I’m not just talking about the big
well-known parks like Yosemite, but about all parks, forests, preserves, etc.
There is a TV ad that uses a play of words to say that Californians are “out
there.” Yes, they are out there in many ways, but they sure are out there in
the woods and in nature, enjoying the beautiful scenery this state has!
camped in many different areas in the state. We have been to the desert in
Death Valley, in the valley at Lake Isabella, on the coast at Big Sur and
Montaña de Oro, and this time we went up north, about a 4-hour drive from San
Francisco, to the Mendocino area.
wanted to bring Bomber with us to celebrate my birthday, we had to do our
research to find dog-friendly parks that had trails where dogs were allowed.
Well, Joe was the one who did all the background work and he did great! The
result was a very cute site on MacKerricher State Park, a popular park located
about 4 miles from Fort Bragg, a “city” in Mendocino County.
campground was very close to the beach, about a 5-minute walk, and dogs were
allowed on it. Alongside the coast there was a great paved path that ran for
miles in each direction. The haul road, as it was called, had been used to
transport lumber and is now used as a walking/biking path. If you walked south,
you could get all the way to Fort Bragg and, if you walked north, you reached a
arrived to the park, we were greeted by a very cheerful park ranger. After
checking us into our site, he told us to make sure to keep our coolers locked
because, sometimes, the “local youth” come around looking for free drinks. In
fact, he suggested we keep valuables out of sight when we were not around the
campsite. We thought it was funny in some ways. I mean, the “local youth”
probably consists of a bunch of 13-15 year-old kids who have too much time on
time at the park, we walked pretty much all of the haul road and enjoyed the
beauty of the gorgeous California coast with its rocks, arches and dramatic
cliffs. We also walked north, all
the way up to the preserve, but couldn’t go in because no dogs were allowed.
The sign made it look like dogs used to be allowed on a leash but probably they
changed the rule to no dogs because some people seem to be completely unable to
follow rules and respect laws that are in place simply to protect wildlife.
I won’t lie.
Sometimes, I too want to bend the rules regarding dogs and let Bomber off-leash
at beaches where dogs are supposed to be on-leash. But, either Joe or I end up reminding each other that there
is a reason why dogs are not allowed, and that letting him off-leash would have
a greater impact on the ecosystem than we actually think.
birds and other animals will change their nesting and migration patterns if
they sense a predator. Dogs, as much as we think of them as pets, are predators
in nature, and they can be threatening to certain species, regardless of how
small the dog is.
also had a great boardwalk that ran over wheat-like grass areas. From the
boardwalk you could see an endless field of gold to one side, and the endless
Pacific Ocean to the other. Ahhhh, the California coastline, simply a beautiful
during this walk that we had one encounter with the “local youth.” As we
approached one of the platforms alongside the boardwalk, we saw two kids
sitting on the ground and another one leaned over the railing. Well, the one on
the railing was obviously carving something on it, presumably his name, and the
other two were acting as lookouts. We walked by the lookouts with Bomber. The
two of them looked so tough, so not willing to be friendly but, when Bomber
started acting crazy after seeing a ground squirrel, one of the kids’ faces
slowly turned from a frown into a smile, the smile that kids his age should
have: carefree and sincere.
Why do kids
try so hard to grow up?
walks, we also enjoyed seeing lots of wildlife. We saw deer, seals, Great Blue
Herons, Western Scrub Jays, lots of seagulls and other fishing birds, Snowy
Plovers, and three Ospreys! What a treat!
It was such
a lovely weekend and such a lovely way to celebrate another year of life, out
in nature! There is something amazing about being outside all day long, tuning
up with nature’s clock, going to bed when the sun goes down and waking up with
it. On top of that, we could hear the ocean all the way to our campsite and,
every night, when we went to bed, we would fall asleep to the sound of the
On the day
of my birthday we went for a drive on Highway 1. This highway is one of the
most beautiful I’ve ever been on and, on this new stretch, it lived up to my
expectation. We drove through giant redwoods and right next to ocean cliffs. It
was foggy but it didn’t really matter. Nature is beautiful in any way, rain or
everything in life, our camping trip had to come to an end. On our way back to
the city we stopped at the Cabrillo Lighthouse and were fascinated by the
beauty of this lighthouse. After that, we drove through redwood forests first,
and through small towns, before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into our foggy
but lovely city!
news, yesterday I sold another photo. This time it was a photo of a yellow
cable car in Lisbon and it’s going to join other photos in decorating the
laundry room of a wonderful lady from Portugal! So very excited about this!
I hope you
enjoyed this week’s post and photos. For more fun photos, visit my Etsy store