We arrived to downtown San Francisco and the first place we visited was the Mission of San Francisco de Asis. It is also known as Mission Dolores. Rosemary, our traveling friend, wants to visit all the missions in California.
From there, we found ourselves driving up and down the small streets and hilly mountains trying to find the main road that would take us to our hotel. We reserved rooms on the south side of the city near the beach area. We had these rooms because they were the only ones we could find at a reasonable price. It amazed us how expensive rooms were in the central area of the city. To make matters worse, some hotels would charge up to $40 dollars to park the car overnight on their premises.
We found a nice and quiet hotel that was next to the city zoo. What was particularly helpful was that we could walk a couple of blocks and we could get on the city metro train to go downtown. As soon as we put in our luggage away, we walked over and took the metro to go downtown. We went to eat dinner in Chinatown.
Thereafter, we walked over a couple of blocks and caught the cable car (trolley) to go over to Fisherman's Wharf. By that time it was dark but we kept going. I have always enjoyed stand and hang over the front side of the trolley. I find the cable car drivers in general to be unique and cheerful individuals. It's fun to hear them explain things to the passangers. At the Wharf we walked around and reacquainted ourselves with the area.
I recalled when I first visited this gorgeous city. I was probably 12-years old. I enjoyed the wide variety of cultures, building and city layout. I like how the scenery changes since the weather in the city kept changing. One moment the sky was clear and next moment there was the fog. Back then we stayed in Little Italy. I can still recall all the heavy scents of garlic and pasta. I was impressed by the sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I returned again to San Francisco when my high school, Bishop Mora Salesian High School (East Los Angeles), brought us as part of a college visitation tour. It was my junior year (1968). I met one of my best friend Phillip Herrera on this trip. Phil and I had some free time in the city and we went over to Height Asbury. At that time, it was the center of the hippy movement. This current quiet residential area was once ground-zero for the youth and drug culture. Wow, what an experience that was!
On that trip we also visited the campus of UC Berkeley and that was another exciting eye opener. There were several noisy gatherings on campus protesting the Vietnam War. There were also members of the Black Panther Party members holding a rally. I recall the hippies walking around barefoot and giving out little red books with quotes of Mao. The hippy fashion was very unique, colorful and some real cool jewelry. I still recall this one girl putting flowers in my hair. It was a perfect time to be in the San Francisco area. Jimi Hendrix music was booming all around.
Another time that I returned to San Francisco was when I brought my girlfriend back then (now my wife) here for her 21st birthday. It was a surprise birthday gift. We flew here from Los Angeles in the morning, spent all day exploring this exciting city and we flew back in the evening. I think she enjoyed visiting this diverse and beautiful city.
I have always enjoyed the city atmosphere, the shops and I never tire of eating crab sandwiches and of course, San Francisco sourdough bread! The wide variety of wine you can have with your meals everywhere you go is tremendous. Restaurants are small, quaint and they take great pride in having you taste their selected wines.
I love it here. I have great memories of being in this city.
We went back to our hotel and we talked about visiting Alcatraz Island. I had never visited this famous landmark so we were looking forward to going there and visitng other local beautiful sites.