does not give the USA the cities that stand for the American dream? New York. Chicago. And above all: San Francisco. You just have to see this city once.
I am traveling to the USA with Janina to see this city with my own eyes. We’ll be staying here for a few days before heading out to see a little more of the state of California.
City center. A single mother rents a room under and gives us all the freedom to do what we want in her home.
The streets are not only steep in downtown; around it, too, the checkerboard pattern of American planned cities has been consistently drawn through, without taking any ridiculous details such as incline into account. Nobody needs switchbacks.
Before we take the bus to the city center, we already have the first interesting experience. I find a purse on the street in front of me. A few things are scattered around.
It looks like this wallet was stolen and then thrown away. There is no money in it, but an ID. Since we are not familiar with American lost property offices, I speak to the next closest passers-by. He is very friendly and agrees to take care of the return to the owner.
The bus conveniently brings us directly to downtown. The selection of other passengers looks as mixed as you know it from all American films. Some even look really poor. Maybe this is how you look at the end of each month when you have to pay your rent.
I get into conversation with a black American. He’s got the typical slang. I tell you that we come from Germany. He is happy and tells about his job and that life in “Frisco” is very hard. In downtown we say goodbye after a very entertaining drive, on which he describes to us through the windows what we see there. Be it the stock exchange, the headquarters of Adobe or Unity or the direction of Lombard St.
We have to hold our breath as we walk through the skyline. It’s a forest of houses, only much higher. The people here exude the very energy that lies behind the power of this city’s industry. People are young, jogging or otherwise keeping in shape. Probably just between two meetings.
Since downtown San Francisco is located on a peninsula, it is nowhere far to the sea. Before we go there we must first visit the steep streets, especially the famous winding Lombard Street.
We too wind our way through Lombard Street and follow the streets on which Bruce Willis, Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, Nicolas Cage and other action stars delivered their obligatory car chases.
We come through Chinatown and slowly move towards the cafes of the flower children.
At the corner of Ashbury and Haight Streets, the city tells a different chapter in its history. Here you will find the coffee shops, mariuana shops and hippy bars. Most of the Woodstock heroes made their debuts here.
Jimmy Hendrix Geist still lives in these streets and is recognized by numerous graffiti on the houses.
There is a saying by Marc Twain: “I have never experienced a colder winter than summer in San Francisco”. The water around the city is cold and mornings can be especially fresh. Even when the sun is shining strongly, you always have a slight shiver on your skin. I don’t want to imagine what it’s really like in winter.
Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 are also famous. There is a lot of tourism there. Sea lions have always lived on the named pier. In the middle of the city, these giant animals loll around on a few square meters.
It doesn’t seem to bother them that they are gazed at by thousands of people around the clock and that there is also a lot going on on the water, from kayaks to ferries to warships.
Many musicians perform their pieces here for the best. You have to be able to do something to be allowed to perform here.
By chance we stumble into a park full of people in the evening. A stream of young people moves into the green, where a couple of large stages have been set up. We have no idea who’s performing there and the music isn’t exactly our thing, but the atmosphere is fantastic. The festival is free and open to everyone.
Most people don’t seem to be there for the music either, but the boys and girls have picnics, play games or tell each other stories. Here, too, we experience the alternative character of the city. Jimmy would be proud.
From the shore you can see the notorious Alcatraz, the prison island from which no one has ever fled. Or maybe yes. Now it is closed and a museum.
Most of the time there is fog in the morning, which can last all day and prevent you from seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. Only the characteristic pillars protrude above the thick layer of cloud.
Driving around San Francisco and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
We are lucky because the fog lifts completely and reveals the famous bridge.
We cross the Golden Gate Bridge and get to other very rich neighborhoods.
We ended up taking the ferry to get back downtown.