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Saturday, August 11, 2012

••◊ Never trust San Francisco schedules, part 2

Monday began as any normal Monday begins for me.  If my alarm clock doesn't get me up, my stomach does.  I swear I was born with a German brain and a Swiss precision stomach.  If it doesn't get fed by 6am, there's revolt.  So I got myself up, early morning cave man style, to go foraging for breakfast in the urban jungle.

Hotel Whitcomb is on Market Street in downtown San Francisco.  Lucky for me, across the street from the hotel is Sam's Diner.  What I quickly learned is that if you get there at 7am you can sit at the counter and get better service.  By 8am they are swamped and service comes to a standstill.  Also, Sam doesn't really exist.  S.A.M. is an acronym made up of the owner's kid's names.  Dad walks the floor, mom works the back office, and the kids work the counter and tables.

After breakfast my Aunt had arranged for an all day walking tour of the city from Anton of Urban Trek USA.  Normally I like to blend in with the locals, albeit with a fancy camera in my hands, but today was a day to just go with the flow, man - Sorry; had to throw in the mandatory hippy reference - there, it's done...it's out of my system.  This day we were a few minutes late for the meet and greet with our host and fellow tourists at the San Francisco visitor center, which was mostly my fault.  A lot of the tour involves exploring the neighborhoods, which are refreshingly distinct in San Francisco; somewhat due to the fire that destroyed a large portion of the city.

One of the first stops was Filbert Street up in the North Beach neighborhood.  This street is one of the steepest residential streets in America at 31.5% grade (yikes!).  Sara and my aunt are actually standing straight up in the second picture.  That's Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill off in the distance, but I'll get to those later.  Notice how all the cars are parked perpendicular to the curb for good reason?

Lombard Street ads to the unique flavor of San Francisco.  It has the distinction of being the second most curvy street in San Francisco.  Vincent Street is technically more curvy, but Lombard Street is more well known and prettier by far.

The gardening is done by 'John', an east coast transplant who is retired and now spends his time making this tourist destination beautiful.  I just feel sorry for the residents on this street.  I think the last photo in this series shows how packed this street is with tourists.  The street entrance above was consistently backed up for a block or two.

Two more parts to come in this series.

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