San Francisco

16-Feb to 20-FebAround the middle of the 19th century gold was discovered in California. This discovery triggered a mad rush of people in search of gold in particular and their dreams in general. Today California is no different. People still come here in search of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, to partake the joys of the Boardwalk and Disneyworld, and in general to bask in the glory of the sunshine state.My entry into the state of California was through the small city of Oakland. San Jose was base camp. But San Francisco was where my heart was.San Francisco envelopes you in a bear hug and never does not let you go. The city is alive and vibrant, while at the same time it retains a certain old-world charm about it.

My first evening in SF also happened to be the Chinese New Year. So the city was full of activity and there was an air of fun about it.

After hitting a couple of bars we decided to eat as all three of us were famished. We hopped over to an Italian place and it was overflowing with people. We told the waiter we did not mind a roadside table. This turned out to be a great decision as that meant we could eat at our own pace, smoke and generally enjoy the cool night. The food was awesome, and by the time we were done, we were also stuffed.

The sights I took in during my trip were Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Lombard (Crooked) Street, and Pier 39. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the sights on offer in this awesome city.

The Golden Gate Bridge is by far the most imposing of the lot. It’s hard to miss it and hovers over the city. It is hard to imagine that this imposing bridge was built in just three years. A walk on the bridge is a must for every visitor to the city.

Coit Tower was built from the money donated to the city by the widow of a wealthy financier. The caveat was to use the money to beautify the city. The Coit Tower stands on top of a hill and overlooks the city. The shape of the tower resembles that of a fireman’s hose. This gave rise to the popular story that the tower was built to honor the fireman who lost their lives in a city-wide fire.

Very close to the Coit Tower is the crooked Lombard Street. It is a narrow lane which literally snakes down. Wide enough for just one car, the street can be a scary experience on a busy day.

Pier 39 is one large shopping mall cum food court. Located on the waterfront, you can take trips to Alcatraz and other nearby islands from here. It is also a great place to pick up souvenirs. Also located here is the famous Boudin bakery. They have been baking bread since 1849 and are especially known for their clam chowder. This is a definite do-no-miss item.

To say that SF was the most exciting city I have seen since being here would be an understatement. It was a visit I most enjoyed and since I know there is so much more to see, I will hopefully make another visit here.


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