Friday, April 17, 2015

SF - Berkeley

A longtime Ocean reader may remember how much trouble I sometimes go to just to catch a sunrise. I am in love with sunrises, even as I know most people find sunsets far more beautiful. For me, a sunset is melancholy. A sunrise brings with it an opportunity to face a new day with a smile.

This morning, I have, without question, the easiest sunrise capture of my entire life. I could have taken this photo (just before the sun cracked the horizon) from my bed.


I do get up, take two steps to the window and watch the most glorious day's beginning.


After, I crawl back into bed and contemplate the beauty of the mildly misty morning.

But not for long. I'm still on Wisconsin time. A sunrise at 6:30 here really feels like 8:30 to me and I am never in bed at that hour. Too, I can see how northern California really inserts that healthy living bug under your skin. I am to meet my Mom in the late morning. Shouldn't I use these early hours to do something invigorating? Perhaps join the hoards jogging or biking, or doing something equally energetic?

Oh! I live up to that challenge alright! After taking a large swig of the orange water in the hotel lobby (it's either that or cucumber water -- both always available; I asked if they believed cucumber water to be especially healthy - they answered that they were following the lead of spas and places that made a point of studying these things)...


...and I set out.  It is a glorious morning! Still nippy in the early hours, but absolutely dazzling!


I hug the shore and walk. And walk. And walk. Past the piers where the ferries come in, past seemingly deserted piers, too. Walk. All the way to Fisherman's Wharf -- a set of commercial amusements that I find significantly less interesting than New York's Coney Island and much more tacky than Boston's Faneuil Hall. Think: the hugest multistory Applebee's ever (among other dining pleasures) and Ripley's Believe It or Not.

It's a little tamer to be here in the early morning. And if you stray toward the water, you might catch the racket the seals are making here...


Or, you can gaze toward the foggy bay and contemplate Alcatraz.


Or, you can poke your nose into a warehouse of a crab distributor. Ship these to your friends back home!


I continue along the shore and up the path toward Fort Mason, where theoretically you could come face to face with the Golden Gate Bridge. But on this morning, like on many mornings, you have to accept the fog's domineering hold over the Bay.


And now it's time to turn back. I look at my little map. My, but it's a long walk back! And I still need my breakfast. And there's this pair of cheap sneakers I want to pick up off of Union Square and darn it, whose idea was it to put so many hills right in the center of this city?


I go up and down Russian Hill (with that crooked street that everyone loves to photograph)...


Then up and down the hill in North Beach and here I finally do pause for a far less expensive breakfast at a local cafe where, too, they still draw hearts and flowers in your coffee cup.


I have the local (organic!) yogurt and granola (also organic!) and berries along with my cappuccino.


Up Nob Hill, down Powell Street and finally to the sneaker store and now three hours into my walk, back to my hotel where I dump everything and quickly go back to the main drag where I catch the BART...


... to Berkeley.

Yes, Berkeley, where the cottages are so very interesting to look at and the flowers bloom profusely -- despite the drought (my Mom suggests that Berkeley has less of a drought problem than central California, though of course, all these regions are very interdependent).




My Mom and I have a lot that we must discuss and review, but we still take time to visit a neighborhood to the south, where we do some minor strolling and window-shopping and where, too, we sit down to a Mediterranean salad lunch...


Back at her home, we talk, and we visit with her best pal too, and finally, as dusk brings again the cool air from the sea, she and I go to a local Italian place to eat a dinner that we've eaten several times before -- always the eggplant parmigiana dish for her, because the taste for it has stayed on her palate for a long long time.

I leave you with just one last photo of a flower we passed on our way to dinner: a jasmine, as fragrant as you could wish for on this lovely April evening. Yes, pungent with the aromas of another world, another time.



  1. Your mom is amazing and so are you... three hours of San Francisco hills! Snowdrop's dad once told me Madison is the Berkeley of the Midwest... does your mom think so too?

    I agree about sunrises over sunsets... and the SF fog over the bridge is fascinating. Is that an everyday thing?

  2. Gorgeous! And lovely Lombard Street, with it's crazy curves. You're fortunate that the fog didn't come into the city, because then it might have been decidedly cold.

    For Charlotte, the fog doesn't always go over the bridge. I've been there for several days on end where the bridge was clear - and one day where the entire city was engulfed in fog and felt almost as cold as deep winter, even though it was 50F.

    Mmmmm, eggplant parmigiana! A perennial favorite of mine. :)

  3. I really like Bridge Photo 1 - Red Bubble? And the Starburst Sun is awesome. And your mum looks fantastic, wow.

  4. Great photography today...and what a subject! A beautiful and interesting city.

    I had a childhood friend-of-a-friend and we were occasionally "mean girls" to her, by excluding her. When I was a little older I regretted that. Many years later, Beth married a surgeon and moved to San Francisco.
    Beth wins!!
    I'm glad.

    Your mom looks fabulous again today! I admire her spirit for dressing with panache and wearing it well.
    My mom looks like Miss Marple, no kidding! and she is very pretty in her pastel way.


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