Day 4: Wednesday, February 20

Lombard Street, Lots of Chocolate, The Castro & Haight-Ashbury

Rain showers first thing this morning. I had breakfast once again at Lori’s Diner at Powell and Sutter Streets. The sun came out at about 9:30 a.m. and, thankfully, the weather remained clear for the rest of the day.

After breakfast I took the Powell-Hyde cable car to the top of Lombard Street, then walked down the side of Lombard Street to the bottom of the hill (at Leavenworth) and took some shots:

I continued down Leavenworth Street to The Cannery on Beach Street…

… and then along Beach Street to Ghirardelli Square. Ahhhh, Ghirardelli chocolate – there’s nothing like it. I bought lots of chocolate as gifts for those back home (almost all of the chocolate made it back to Toronto):

I wandered down near the water and got some shots of the San Francisco Bay from Beach Street, then took #47 MUNI bus up Van Ness Avenue to Hayes Street. I walked along Hayes Street (brutal hills!)…

… to Alamo Square and took some shots of the infamous “Postcard Row” houses:

Leaving Alamo Square behind, I took the #21 MUNI bus to Market Street and transferred to the vintage “F” streetcar on Market Street. I got off the streetcar at Powell and Market, stopping at Quiznos for lunch. From there I went back to the hotel for a while to rest and regroup.

Having rested a bit, I continued my adventures. I took the subway out to Church Street and walked the rest of the way along Market Street into The Castro. I self-toured around Castro Street, getting lots of shots:

I spent a couple of hours in The Castro (ice cream eating, shopping, strolling), then walked north on Castro Street to Haight Street to explore the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood:

Walking up and down Masonic Street I admired the beautifully restored Queen Anne homes:

I walked back to Haight Street and proceeded west past Ashbury Street to check out a few of the shops in the Haight-Ashury neighbourhood:

It was starting to get dark already (was about 4:30 p.m.), so I started back for Market Street and took one last look at Castro and Market in the fading sunlight… the neon lights of the Castro Theatre were starting to flicker on <heavy sigh>:

One final look at The Castro after walking back from Haight-Ashbury

Returning to my hotel, I got on the subway at Castro and Market, getting off at Powell and Market. I was accosted at Powell station for my MUNI passport (transit pass) by a friendly, big, burly, black MUNI Transit cop – it was all good. I continued back up Powell Street, stopping for a sub at Subway (which I took back to the hotel). I ate, then changed clothes and took the Powell-Mason cable car to Green Street to catch the 8:00 p.m. performance of Beach Blanket Babylon at Club Fugazi. It was a very good production and lots of fun, albeit a very straight, blue-haired, touristy clientele in attendance. My seat was great – I got the very front row/table in the Front Cabaret section. Beach Blanket Babylon is simply a San Francisco institution and has been running since the mid-70s.

The performance ended at about 9:45 p.m.. Leaving the theatre, I walked up Green Street to the top of the hill on Mason to wait for the cable car. It was a very still, quiet night with a full moon hanging overhead. No one else was around except for a homeless person in the shadows very quietly going through some recycling bins. I stood wistfully on this high corner and took in my surroundings for a good half hour – to my left, Alcatraz, with its search light gently sweeping over the Bay waters. To my right, downtown, the Transamerica Pyramid, its beacon softly glowing against the full moon. This was a special moment. What a way to end my last, precious night in this beautiful city by the bay.

I eventually caught the Powell-Mason cable car back to the hotel, packed for the next morning’s flight home and turned in at about 11:30 p.m.

– End of Day 4 –

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