San Francisco is a facinating city & I believe its two most colourful neighbourhoods are Haight-Ashbury & Mission District, let me tell you why.
One morning I went for a walk with Miriam, my partner in crime, around Mission District. It’s like a little Mexico. What made our mouths drop were the fabulous murals that were in every corner & street.
There are two little allies where most of them concentrate & that you cannot miss if you visit this city.
One is Clarion Alley, located between Mission & Valencia streets & the 17th & 18th.
In the 80’s this urban talent started to arise & to be portrayed in these two allies. The other protagonist is Balmy Alley, where the paintings show how the artists felt about the political abuse in Central America or the civil & human rights. Nowadays the themes vary.
Some are tributes to muralist women & the future generations.
They recommend seeing it by foot, & I agree. We met a little group of muralists in a creative process, here they are.
Walking around the area, in 24th street, we saw a “wish tree”, yes, just like that, it was full of little notes that many people had left there with the hope they’d get fulfilled, very sweet.
The houses in that area are divine & colorful in their Victorian & Edwardian styles.
Another house you cannot miss is the Women’s Building which is decorated by the biggest & propably best known mural of all. You can read about this place here.
The Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood is where the hippie movement in the 60’s started & where the songs of Jimmy Hendrix & Janice Chaplin were playing. I arrived on a sunny day on the bus number 6 from Market St, the main street I mentioned in another occasion. I got off just after the bus turned into Masonic St.
If you are taking public transport remember to have the exact amount of coins, $2,75 in this case, as the machines don’t give change back; & another tip, the ticket is valid to use again within the next two & a half hours from the moment of purchase.
The area is full of colour & psychedelia. There are vintage shops where you’ll find second hand clothes too.
To eat I found a vegan burger place & I was happy.
Close by, in Alamo Square, live the famous Painted Ladies, another example of Victorian homes, painted in different colours to empathize their details. If you’ve grown up with “Full House” they’ll look familiar to you.
On my way back I passed near the City Hall, a grand & beautiful building in Beaux Arts style, reconstructed after the big earthquake the city suffered in 1906.
Next morning I went to see the hearts in Union Square, it reminded me to tell you that from there, as it’s the main square, you can catch a touristic “hop on hop off” bus. This is what my friend Lourdes & I did went we went exploring one day a few years ago.
We lost the last bus as we spent a lot of time “playing” in the shops.
So we had to take the tram, yes, that nice icon we must catch if we visit this city. We bought the ticket but as it was one of the last trams of the day they didn’t ask for it.
Do you know what we did with it? Next day we went to the big queue that you can find in Powell St with Market, it’s the place where the tram gets turned around by this guy & we resold them to a pair of happy tourists that were queueing to get on.
On my first post about this city I talked about the first book of the “Trilogy of the Century” by Ken Follet, & on the second post I told you about the second book, so today I’d like to introduce you to the third book, “Edge of Eternity”. Novel about the third war or Cold War. It is a continuation of the lives of the characters that form the five families that are part of this trilogy. Their grandchildren are, this time, the protagonists & with them we learn about our recent history & what happened in the 60’s after the wars, their fight for freedom in a world divided & ruled by two great powers. Again with Follet you’ll enjoy an addictive & entertaining reading, ideal of a long flight.
And remember nomads … if you come to San Francisco be sure to wear flowers in your hair.