05 July 2012
I. Golden Gate Bridge: 2012 Celebrates its Seventy-Five-Year Birthday
II. deYoung Museum, Golden Gate Park (additional photographs in next post)
Re-entry has been slow and methodical, almost a snail’s pace. My grandchildren joined me for an eight-and-a-half day vacation that had all the elements of famous European cities. In fact, San Francisco is one of my top favorite cities (including Paris, New York, London, Tokyo–Tokyo is the only one that I’ve not visited) of the world. This second visit solidified the notion of its universality yet unique qualities. To show the city’s aesthetic, architectural, arts, cultural, culinary, and historic legacy will take many posts. I’m beginning with a brief commentary about the trip’s rewards–rewards that are intertwined with the bonds cemented between my grandchildren and me.
My teenage grandchildren (grandson is 15 and granddaughter is 13) have traveled southward and even to the Caribbean, but never have been out of our Eastern Standard Time Zone. Their adaptation to the three-hour time change was seemingly easy. But the new and unknown can bolster adrenaline, helping the mind and body ignore the obvious. As we touched California terra forma, the sparks flew and splendor abound.
Here is a summary of our observations, rising from a whirlwind exploration of ourselves through a city that keeps giving and giving. As first-time visitors to this western frontier, they saw much, much more than we thought possible. We started slow and increased our pace day-by-day. The amount of territory that we covered amazed us. But even more important, we found a way to open ourselves further and further to San Francisco’s offerings.
Because we were traveling over nine hours the first day, upon arrival we took taxis throughout the afternoon and into the early evening. On the next morning we discovered the efficiency of the buses, but they were super crowded. So we agreed to “foot” it from that point forward. That simple yet significant choice was monumental. It expanded our vision of the city, solidifying that walking is the perfect venue to see, really see the heart of a city’s charm and character. We stretched our personal boundaries, allowing us to notice and serendipitously discover small, medium and large pockets of this West Coast frontier.
While we spent most of our time in the city, we also were fortunate to have three excursions. We visited: 1. Alcatraz 2. my dear friend, who lives in Nevada City, California, took us to Santa Cruz where we zip lined through the Redwoods, and 3. my cousin, who lives in San Francisco, took us to Sausalito and Marin Headlands as well as distant places in the city.
Before we left Delaware for California planning was part of the days leading to departure. We each had our top-tier items. My granddaughter placed the Golden Gate Bridge as her number two, but not just seeing it: We had to walk it end to end and back again.
The bridge is 1.7 miles each way, which really was a small task for the three of us. Still, we were buoyed by the weather–crystalline azure sky, cloudless and no wind. But our entire trip was blessed with gorgeous weather: high 50s to low 60s, perfect for walking everywhere. We had one morning of heavy fog (really, to me it’s teeming rain) and chill-through-the-bones temps that changed magically by noon, giving us another sun-filled warm afternoon: no complaints by us. We experienced the city’s famous fog: check that off the list.
Our first full day we explored the Golden State Park and the Golden Gate Bridge. See the Lens section where I have posted two sets of photographs from those destinations. Part One is my visual interpretation of the Golden Gate Bridge, decked in international orange that makes it famous. For me its appeal is its Art Deco style as well as its ability to survive the 1989 earthquake–quite a feat. It’s truly a spectacular design that with each step changes and morphs with light and its angels and shapes. I will remember this statuesque structure’s features for a very long time.
Quick facts about the bridge: completed in 1937, middle span is 4,200 feet and the width is 90 feet. The Golden Gate Strait is the entranceway from the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay. The bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County.
Part Two in the Lens section are two of the first images that I took at the de Young Museum in Golden State Park. The Museum was second on my top-tier list to visit. I will save my comments about the Museum until the next post. But I wanted to end this one with the photograph of my grandchildren’s interest in the deYoung’s design.
Travel conjures many descriptors, but one of the most important is a person’s experience or lack of it. That last photograph is symbolic of our trip. For me it represents elements that were strongly evident during our travels in California: exploration of the new and reflections of the past and present. The photograph also shows our mutual passion: my grandson and my love of photography as well as and my granddaughter’s blooming interest. Our photographic toolbox consists of my Nikon DSLR and our iPhones.
Although I rarely ever post my family, I have included some photographs of my teenage grandchildren. One of my favorites in Part One is the first where my grandson is pointing to Alcatraz (His finger was in just the right place to symbolize the apex of the bridge, and also adventures yet-to-be made by pointing ourselves in the right direction), because this trip was about the three of us. Not just what we did, but the journey that we took together both inwardly and outwardly.
Their company made our travels from East to West and back the best vacation of my lifetime. They gave me my own golden moments, my own golden memories. I can never really thank them enough.
Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of this blog. If you want to learn more about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge, click here. The next post will continue the visual and written record of our visit to the deYoung Museum and the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden State Park. See WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment where I posted two photographs from the trip. Click here.