Monday, June 1, 2015

San Fran Drive-bys

It's taken me three posts to cover our one day of touring San Francisco.  To finish up our day, I directed poor Ron all over town to hit the places on my list.

First up was Lombard Street.  I suggested that Ron let me out at the bottom so I could take his picture driving down the "crookedest street in the world."  I'm sure that title is not totally accurate, but it is a one-block stretch which descends a 40% slope with 8 tight switchbacks.

Ron passed on my idea and there were so many people standing at the bottom of the hill that there was no place to stop.  I ended up just snapping a picture out the window as he drove by.  You can barely see the cars for all the landscaping.  I would need a 50-foot ladder to get a decent view of the spectacle.

Another drive-by was the splendid City Hall.

But I asked Ron if he could find a parking space for the famous 'Painted Ladies.'  Boy, did he come through - that's our car second from the left.

Checking with Wikipedia, I discovered that 'Painted ladies' is a term in American architecture used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details.

This row of houses is also famous for having appeared in the opening credits of the television series Full House.

Our next stop is not nearly as famous but it involves mosaic tiles, so I wanted to see it.  At the edge of Grandview Park is a mosaic stairway that is a masterpiece.  I made the mistake of directing Ron to the top of it because I thought the mosaics were on the steps.  Silly me, they are on the risers - just another case of me not reading the whole description.

We descended to the first landing and looked back - wow! 

So I went down a couple more.

Over 300 residents of the Golden Heights neighborhood helped create the mosaics.

At this point, I climbed back up and we drove to the bottom.  After all, this was the same day we did the 442 steps to Coit Tower.

Here's the bottom group of steps.

Oddly enough,  I was so in awe of this splendid sight, that I didn't realize until I looked at the pictures that it's actually one scene, from the ocean at the bottom, past land, then sky, and topped by the sun.

I loved it!  And best of all, there was hardly anybody there.  Once again, I could have used that 50-foot ladder to get the overall shot.

Next up was Baker Beach for a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Baker Beach is actually a nude beach, but I figured, "Hey, it's cold."  However, sure enough, as soon as I took this picture, some lily white guy came along and stood right in line with the bridge that everybody was photographing.  Geez.

We stopped at the heart-breaking Holocaust Memorial.  It's hard to comprehend the slaughter of six million Jews during the Nazi Holocaust of 1933-1945.  According to the signage, this amounted to two thirds of the European Jews.

On our way out of town, our final stop was at the overlook for the Sutro Baths.

I was more interested in taking a picture with the fog rolling in over the Marin Headlands across the bay, but the baths must have really been something in their day.

Taken from the AAA book - A lavish playground developed by wealthy former mayor Adolph Sutro opened to the public in 1896.  Standing at the ocean's edge, it boasted seven swimming pools (six saltwater and one freshwater), more than 500 private dressing rooms, an amphitheater, grand staircases and landscaped promenades, all looking out over the Pacific.

So ended a very long day of sightseeing.  I was really glad we don't do this all the time. I was exhausted!


  1. "Those painted ladies" are world famous. Good to see them on the flesh though.

  2. Wow, the shrubbery on Lombard Street has really grown since we were there in 2000 driving a rented convertible down the street several times for fun! :c)

  3. A very good photo of the Bridge! Lombard ST looks pretty steep for sure!!

  4. Wow! It all looks so lovely. Those stairs are great ... love the colorful theme. I just can't understand the mentality that thinks one group of people are better than another.

  5. Great mosaics! I remember that when we live in San Diego there were nude beaches but since I was 8 years old I don't remember much else. I'll have to ask my mom what she remembers about that.