Sunday, June 01, 2008

San Francisco

Last stop on the Yosemite trip, San Francisco treated us with the usual clouds and mist to prepare for the Belgian climate back home. We put on our tourist hat and went into the city. Having both been there before, we decided to discover San Fran by bike. It is popular and thus easy to rent a bike for a full day and there are numerous bike paths around the city. The main attraction is crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on bike. The views are gorgeous, and you can visit the yaht town paradise Sausalito and come back by ferry.

Biking through the city from the Ferry Building, we went up the hill to Alamo square, to see these Painted Ladies, reminiscent of Bostonian Victorian architecture. My bike is in the center of the picture!

The day not being over yet, we did another popular biking loop, going to the Golden Gate park, San Francisco's way of building a Central Park, and then back again to the Golden Gate through chique quarters of the city this time. Here is the bridge again, from the other side and with less clouds, the same day:

The biggest impression that San Fran has left in my mind this time though, is composed of its homeless people. The picture below comes from the grass in front of the City Hall, not far from our hostel. Either American economy is doing really poorly, or the mayor of the city needs to be sacked, but the situation is incredible. Having been to Vancouver and its East End, San Fran beats all comparison. I kept my eyes down in shame in front of all these blacks (mainly), whites, and hispanics, laying down and sleeping around on the streets. In popular tourist districts, as well as in residential areas or on main shopping streets - they were everywhere. Sad place, country of opportunity in this shape...

Despite the homeless, there are many worthwhile things to visit in the city. I spent the whole day waiting for my evening plane, in the Asian Art Museum that has moved in 2003 to a building redesigned by Gae Aulenti in front of the City Hall (she is the one who redesigned such buildings as Barcelona's Museum of Catalan Art on Montjuic, Paris's Musée d'Orsay and Centre Pompidou). The collections and its caffetera are great. We enjoyed ourselves, and immersed into the American culture. Here is Renaud remembering how to eat a serious hamburger:

That much for the USA travel, till next time!

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