Day 1,988 of Traveling the World | San Francisco, California | July 12, 2023

It has been a great two weeks in fabulous San Francisco. We arrived with a little trepidation, as there was recently news of store closures downtown, more homeless than ever camping out on the streets, and our hotel (Hilton San Francisco Union Square) just defaulted on its payments. What were we getting into? But we found it a bit better than two years ago, when Covid was still a pretty big threat. And, even though the rest of the country has been baking with hotter temperatures than ever, and with floods and fires raging – San Francisco has been its usual chilly self. Even though it is July, everyone (except Mike) wears a jacket or sweater to walk outside. Some days in late morning, it has been just 56-59 degrees. Last Saturday, it was the warmest day of our visit at 74 degrees, then went right back to the 60s. So we haven’t been “too hot” at all.

Wandering around the city and doing a lot of walking, we saw many retail buildings for lease and a lot of restaurants closed. But there were a lot of tourists, and our hotel hosted several conferences and conventions while we have been here. Sitting in the lobby, we have heard many foreign languages being spoken, especially German. The popular restaurants are crowded, with long lines, and the two musicals we saw – A Chorus Line and Les Miserables – were both pretty crowded. Chinatown had sidewalks bursting with shoppers. Molinari’s Italian Deli in North Beach has the best Eggplant Parmesan sandwiches, so we waited in a long, long line for about an hour to devour the sandwich in 5 minutes! We visited several museums, and were in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, and they also were crowded – typical summer tourist season. So it is a bit too early to write obituaries for Fog City!

Tomorrow we are off on a cruise, this time ending up in Reykjavik, Iceland. We will be there, and on the Faroe Islands, for about a month. After being quarantined for two years, it is still thrilling, still new, to be traveling the world and discovering new sights.

A foggy day in Fog City – you can just see the tops of two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from Pier 39 adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf.
The tippy-top of the Admiral Dewey Monument in Union Square. She is the beautiful Goddess of Victory.
Also in Union Square was a collection of heart-shaped statues, this one with an owl. We didn’t realize there was a skull beneath its beak until we looked at our photos that evening!
Maiden Lane only runs for two blocks, but was decorated whimsically with flowers and butterflies overhead.
Yum! Ukrainian borscht and pierogi at Leleka, a unique and delicious meal that was so enjoyable.
The main wall in Leleka.
The Westin St. Francis was decorated in flowers and Pride bunting – Love in Bloom.
The Transamerica “Pyramid” Building, seen from the end of Pier 7 in the Embarcadero.
The Bay Bridge on a great day for walking and sailing.
The Grant Street Chinatown Arch, gateway to wonderful shops and a variety of Asian cuisines.
This store, Michael’s, had six locations on one block…all contemporary art pieces, as you can see. The purple table goes for $18,000, but they were willing to sell it to us for an amazingly low $8,000!
What? No? You don’t want a melting cherry Tootsie Pop in your living room??
We don’t know what this is – we just found it unusually strange!
A quartz butterfly.
Sigh. You also don’t want a wood-and-metal lion for your home???
The lampposts throughout Chinatown are so delicate and pretty.
A view down Grant Street, Chinatown’s main drag.
A store named Canton…
…is across the street from a store named Old Shanghai.
A newly painted facade.
East West Bank took over this pretty red pagoda.
We liked this poster! It was at the corner where Chinatown and North Beach meet. Notice the wild glasses on the woman fourth from the left.
At that same corner are these remnants of the past.
And across the street we found this cool street art.
The magnificent red building of The Stinking Rose, a garlic restaurant. Their motto? “We season our garlic with food,” followed by – Have a stinking good time!
Adjacent to the Stinking Rose is an Italian ceramic store – amazingly, it had the same items in the window that it had when we were here two years ago!
Yerba Buena Gardens, across from SFMOMA, was having music in the park on a lazy Thursday afternoon! A lot of people were listening on the grass, enjoying the rare warm-ish weather.
We had not visited the Museum of Modern Art here before. It is a beautiful building with some interesting pieces.
This is the inside of the striped glass in the previous photo. Do you see the black dots on the stained glass? They are people on the walkway!
Okay, c’mon! Jan looked at this and said – is that Tweetie Bird? Mike said, no, I think it is a fish! Read the museum note card in the next photo to see what it is – you won’t believe it!!!
Quite unbelievable! It is very modern, though, for having been done in 1926.
This is the Flores Sea, by Minerva Cuevas. She dips her paintings in heated chapopote, a naturally occurring tar. We had never seen artwork like this.
This wire basket sculpture is Untitled, by Ruth Asawa, circa 1958. The “double image” with its shadow on the wall is neat!
This book was in the museum shop. We just liked its cover.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could report your weight using only your chopped-off toes???
A view down Pier 39, at Fisherman’s Wharf.
A candy store with a whirling tree of goodies – candy apples, donuts, candy, stuffed animals….
Krazy Kaps did NOT sell any top hats, funnily enough.
This is a thrill ride called Plunge. We liked the image of the woman on top, about to dive into the pool!
We had never seen a dragon on a carousel like this one on Pier 39.
Kwak! Quack! They sell rubber duckies.
A store called Happy Bubbles, selling everything for the bath.
Entrance to the Legion of Honor Art Museum.
Auguste Rodin, The Age of Bronze, 1887. Rodin displayed such knowledge of musculature, and there is an entire gallery devoted to his sculptures.
Auguste Rodin, The Prodigal Son, 1886-1893. Yet another wonderful display of the human body.
One of the ceilings in the museum.
Another magnificent ceiling.
The Holocaust Memorial outside of the Legion of Honor Art Museum.
We attended a magnificent production of Les Miserables at the Orpheum Theater downtown. This is intermission, with the backdrop ready for Act II. Notice the pretty “gingerbread” walls on either side of the stage. You even can see a glimpse of the ornate ceiling.
Great name for a dress-up dress shop!
San Francisco Marriott Marquis, with beautiful leaded glass windows and postmodern architecture. It was completed in 1989.
It is interesting that people would present themselves as workers at a parking lot, only to “take the $$ and run!”

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