Part 4 is our last entry on the beautiful city of San Francisco. Today we are focusing on the Marina/Presidio area along the north shore of the city, leading to the Golden Gate Bridge; the Botanical Garden; and the Haight-Ashbury area.
First – the Palace of Fine Arts, immediately adjacent to the Presidio on the east. Wow! We were dazzled, amazed, and awed. In all of our visits to San Francisco, neither of us had seen the Palace before. It was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition and was so beloved that the public clamored for it to remain as a permanent part of the city. It is 162 feet tall, and evokes a decaying ruin of Ancient Rome. It is framed by a lagoon, and we walked around the lagoon, looking at the Palace, and couldn’t believe this 100-year-old sight was new to us! Just gorgeous, as are the weeping women around the tops of the colonnades, the angels standing guard, etc. We walked from here along the north shore as far west as we could, until we were almost standing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, the eternal, iconic symbol of the city. It is a beautiful walk, with soft waves splashing ashore, and, always, a nice breeze cooling us.
The Botanical Garden isn’t very big, but there is a lot of variety in a small space. We enjoyed wandering on the trails as well as off-trail. There weren’t any formal gardens, just lots of areas with planted flowers gracing our way along the trails.
Haight-Ashbury is up next. One day, as we sat stopped at a light on the bus, we noticed a beautiful Victorian house and talked about the wood carvings and details on the house. We later found out it was on the National Register of Historic Places – the John Spencer House, and we walked past it as we toured Haight-Ashbury. Actually, this area is all about beautiful buildings and lots of color, which is so evident in the photos. A lot of the district still looks quite psychedelic, with lots of artistic creativity.
We have added San Francisco to our list of favorite cities, and intend to visit more frequently when we are on the West Coast. We like the vibe, the diversity, and the feeling of a big city in what is a very compact area. We will be back!