The City of Love and Peace

San Francisco. The city with lots of hills, trams and houses with bay windows. We had heard many good things about this town, and although they were true, that wasn't our first impression. After a six-hour-long trip from New York we had traveled another three hours "back" in time, and fifteen degrees cooler on the thermometer. It was colder than Sweden. The first thing we did when we got off the train from the airport was to run into McDonald's, and the first thing we saw was a lot of homeless people walking around in the area. It felt far from the city of love and peace.

We stayed in a hotel near the gate to Chinatown, right next to the financial district. Good location since it's really in the middle of the city and you can walk to almost everything, but I was not very fond of the Chinatown. Especially not when we arrive exhausted and want nothing else than to sleep, but there's a chinese man in street corner, playing an instrument with only two strings for SEVERAL HOURS. Our window had absolutely no isolation which means that we heard everything from outside and it was just as cold inside as outside. I got into a mini-depression that day. It was hard to leave New York, where we had already gotten some routines, a sense of security and favourite places, to arrive at a new city that doesn't live up to the expectations right away, and where you're also freezing your but off. In addition to that, we were undescribably tired after all the walking in NY, I can't explain how much my legs and feet ached. For the first time ever, we slept a whole day while on vacation, and it was so worth it .

But new day, new beginning! The next day was a bit warmer and the sun came out after the morning mist. We finally left the hotel to explore San Francisco, and the impressions got better and better. Not that the Chinese enviroment wasn't cool, we checked out that area too, but it didn't feel like being in the U.S. It's the largest Chinatown (except in NY) outside Asia!

Jeans and sweaters felt quite strange after the sultry heat in New York. But since it was neither cold nor hot it was a pleasant weather for tourists. When the fog swept over the city it became much colder though. San Francisco has a very special climate since it's surrounded by water on three sides, and apparently it tends to be colder in August than in September and October due to the fog and the cold winds. So much for California heat...

The city is also famous for being built on hills. Even if you have read about it and seen pictures of it, you still get surprised at how steep the streets actually are. Especially when you have to WALK all the way up! However, you can avoid the worst hills just by walking around them, hehe. Lucky for them all their cars are automatic.

Something else very characteristic of San Francisco are the houses with bay windows a la "Full House". Sorry for nerdy architect talk, but I thought it was very interesting how most buildings adhere to certain parameters, like the same number of floors and bay windows, but vary infinitely in the design, which still makes the city vibrant and interesting. And there are lots of modern interpretations of these bay window that follows below:

Fun, huh? I photographed lots of buildings, but this is enough for now. The second day we also visited Fisherman's Wharf (which I'll write about later) and took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour which was the stupidest thing to do at 4-5 pm when the fog and the winds sweeps over the city. It blew so hard when we drove towards the Golden Gate that I had to duck under the seat.

Luckily we had the funniest, Irish, guide that made the tour worth while. He deserves a final picture here!


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