San Francisco

San Francisco

Post cards. Remember getting those colorful post cards from your family and friends when they visited a new place or city? As a kid I used to collect these post cards, and pester folks to send them to me. Sometimes, a kindly neighbor would give me their old post cards their “foreign” friends sent them. Somewhere in my house I still have a couple of shoe boxes with a stack of post cards. And then there were the colorful calendars with pictures and captivating images of places and people from different parts of the world. I remember those intensely vivid Eastman calendar that featured scenes from Germany. Or, was it ORWO calendar? These postcards and calendars transported me to different places around the world and kindled my curiosity about their culture, food, music and food. A picture speaks a thousand words was so true for those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet age.

Anyway, I digressed. In this digital age those old tyme postcards are not cool. What is cool are video post cards. Every week I shall (attempt) to share a video postcard from my travels. Hope you enjoy these travel cards.

Here is the first travel post card from San Francisco. San Francisco, or the city by the bay is a compact place filled with interestingness. Here is a quick dekho at San Fran, please don’t call it ‘Frisco. We zip across the city from the iconic Golden Gate bridge to the Bay bridge, Nob Hill, and Land’s End.

Quick Travel Suggestions:

If you have less than 24 hours in San Francisco here are a couple of things you can do. San Francisco is a food obssessed city and there are lots of neat little cafes, dives and wonderful restaurants to suit your budget. Head down to the bottom of Ferry Building Marketplace on Market Street to grab a coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee and a sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery. Don’t sit in. Head straight out to the back of the building and park yourself in a sunny spot and  do some people watching. Maybe you can play Otis Redding’s “Sitting By The Dock Of The Bay,” while you are noshing that sandwich?

Alternatively instead of the Ferry Building head to the Fisherman’s Wharf area  in a cable car.The best part of riding the cable car is you will catch tantalizing glimpses of the city and its steep streets.At the wharf grab one of those famous San Francisco sour dough sandwiches at Boundin Bakery and then head down to taste that famous glass of Irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe. Be warned, it will be crowded.  And if you still have some room then mosey over to Ghiradelli Square and indulge in a sweet treat at the famous chocolate store.

Now, if you are a little bit adventurous mosey up to China Town and the neighboring Italian neighborhood of North Beach. And if you are really, really adventurous then head over to Golden Gate Park and Cliff House. All these places are easily accessible via public transportation or by foot. Let me clarify – you can reach both these destinations by bus and then walk around to explore.

Wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget to grab your jacket. San Francisco weather can be very deceptive and it can go from being warm and toasty to cold within hours.

Gandhi in San Francisco

Gandhi in San Francisco you ask? Yes, there is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi tucked away in one corner of San Francisco’s Ferry Building. You may miss it if since it is located a little away from where folks sit on the bay and watch the water, boats and the traffic on bay bridge. In fact, I almost missed it the first time. I discovered it the second time when I stepped out of Sur La Table, the speciality kitchen store and spotted the statue. A couple of days ago it was his birthday (Oct 2), and I happened to be in the Ferry Building and decided to go pay him a visit.

Here is a collage of pictures from the Ferry Building area along with the wonderful view of the San Francisco bay bridge that connects San Francisco to East bay towns like Berkeley and Oakland.

If you happen to be in San Francicso’s Market Street area walk down to the bottom of the street towards the bay and  you will see the Ferry Building. And inside the building are a cluster of food shops and restaurants like Cowgirl Creamery, Strauss Family Creamery, Blue Bottle Coffee, Acme Bread, Frog Hollow Farm and much, much more. And if you are lucky, you may just be able to visit the wonderful Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.

Tucked at the back of the building are a bunch of benches, where you can sit and watch the boats come and go or simply enjoy the sun sitting by the dock of the bay.And by the way remember that famous song Sitting By The Dock of the Bay of Otis Redding? He wrote that sitting by the dock of the bay in Sausalito, which is just yonder across the bay.

If you are in the mood, to visit Sausalito  you can jump into one of those ferry boats and go over this picturesque town and sip your coffee sitting by the dock of the bay in Sausalito.