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City by the Bay

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my visit to San Francisco last summer, intending that post to be an introduction to a handful of posts about my summer vacation. And … a month later, here I am.

Huh.

Part of my delay in writing about San Francisco has been, well, the things that keep me hopping from day to day and week to week. Like other trips. Also, work. Spending time with family and friends. Chores.

You know, the usual.

A more truthful reason, though, might be that I just don’t know what I think of San Francisco.

One thing I did figure out while I was there is that when I travel I much prefer to spend a much longer period of time in a place. Long stays in a city, like my winter in Paris or my summer in Amsterdam, let you really dig into the rhythm of a place and figure out what makes it tick.

Not so easy in a week.

At any rate, I’m going to do my best to share a few posts with you about this City by the Bay.

This photo was the view we had from our too-cold-to-sit-out-for-long balcony on the night of our arrival. It would prove to be the most spectacular night of our stay — every night afterwards, the fog rolled in.

But at least we had this.

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Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

The first time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, I was in a plane. Only its two towers were visible; the rest of the bridge was hidden in the fog. I found out later that fog is a common weather phenomenon in San Francisco and the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge are often as much as you ever see of it from an airplane.

I didn’t get any closer to the bridge that time ― or see anything of the city ― as I was merely on a stop-over on my way to somewhere else.

The second time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, I was in a car driving over it. I’d been visiting a friend in the Sonoma Valley and, after a couple days of touring wineries and wine-tasting, we decided we should spend a day in San Francisco. When you drive from the Sonoma Valley to San Francisco, you enter the city by crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I couldn’t stop marvelling at the bridge; I may even have giggled. My first thought was probably, “Wow!” I know for sure my second thought was, “The Lions Gate Bridge is just a toy compared to this one!”

The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1936, and I like to think of it as the Lions Gate’s older, more grown-up sister. At six lanes, it’s twice as wide as the Lions Gate and it’s a kilometre longer. Those three additional lanes are what impressed me ― it feels more like an expressway in the sky than a bridge.

It I don’t know if the Golden Gate Bridge would have impressed me as much had I not been so familiar with driving over the Lion’s Gate Bridge. But I do remember I asked my friend to drive over it again, just for the thrill of it.