By way of San Francisco…

Along the way to Lombard Street...
On the road again…
I am on the road to Tahilla by way of San Francisco. We stopped into SF for a family reunion to celebrate my mother-in-law's 85th birthday.  I have written about her over the years, when she was 80 with The Intrepid Traveller and 82 with The Travelling Sisterhood. She is an amazing woman and an inspiration at 85…I have every confidence that she will still be travelling the world at 90. There is no stopping that woman once she sets her mind to something. I love that about her.

People in the know...
Speaking of love…I am passing it on to readers who have left me a trail of San Francisco travel tips between Facebook and Instagram. This is my first trip to SF and while I did a bit of research, I thought it would be fun to ask people who are in the know. I lucked out…travel tips are below.

Uber me….Uber you
But first… Are you an Uber user? If not, and you are planning to spend time in San Francisco, can I suggest you download the App before you arrive? I speak from experience. There are places in the city where you will not find a me when I say, it will be a frustrating experience. After walking many blocks (while on the phone with various cab companies), riding several crowded buses in the wrong direction, we all swore (nine of us)..Uber would be in our life by the end of the day. The flip side of the story is that we were able to visit sections of the city that were not on our list and through it all, we had to laugh. What else can you do?  I am happy to report that several of us downloaded the Uber app as soon as we returned to the hotel and rode merrily off into the evening sunset with the comfort of knowing an  Uber  'black car' was never far away.  We used it a few times during our stay and it is brilliant…a must if you plan to explore the far corners of San Francisco, especially in the evening. Enough said on that subject.

Readers travel tips for San Francisco…what they said
Lisa…go to Hotel Monaco and Maiden Lane Shopping
Kathy..climb Mount Tamalpais near Golden Gate Bridge
Laura..visit  Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown and shop Union Street
Paula… try The Slanted Door restaurant for great Vietnamese food
Carren.. visit North Beach to see Beach Blanket Babylon
Linda..take ferry and lunch in Sausalito, shop Fishermans' Wharf, try cheese at Cowgirl Creamery and olive oi ant McEvoy Ranch store.
Hilda..visit San Francisco Botanical Garden
Lisa…try Peruvian food anywhere, drinks at the St. Regis Bar, Clift Hotel Bar and R&G Lounge. Eat at Shanghai Dumpling for Chinese food, hang out with the hipster crowd at Delfina's in the Mission, go to Dolores Park for an intense experience, grab a sandwich at Bi-Rite Market and ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery, try Boulevard Restaurant near the Ferry Building, drive through Sea Cliff neighbourhood to see the mansions, hike Sutro Tower and walk across Golden Gate Bridge, eat at Coi for super refined food.
Karen.. cable car from Union Square, shop Sutter Street.
Sarah…join Avital for a walking food tour
Lisa..visit Farmer's Market on Saturday morning at the Ferry Building
Pamela…shop Bellochio's on 10 Brady Street Gump's in Union Square at Top of the Mark at Mark Hopkins Hotel
Cindy…eat and shop at Ferry Building
Rodney…visit Flora Grubb Gardens
Jean…wear flowers in your hair

To all those who provided their San Francisco favourites, thank you!!

We wandered..planned and unplanned, taking in the city as it came. In and out, up and down, on foot, by cable car, by bus, by taxi, by Uber…and through it all we only managed to capture just the essence of San Francisco. One thing was clear…there is so much more to explore in and out of the city. We will save the rest for another time…for now, here are a few of my favourite shots, in no particular order. More SF photos on Instagram,  here.

A walk along the waterfront is a must.
 Port of San Francisco.
Feeling creative with a black and white moment at our hotel, The Fairmont.

Love museums…this one, is definitely worth a visit!
 de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

Docked…SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty ship
A fellow bus traveller..

For the 85 year old birthday gal,
 pink peonies with a hint of geranium…
at Spruce Restaurant
A mecca for tourists, Lombard Street, with eight hairpin turns…
a curvy downhill experience.
Can we give it up for the colours of this house and garden?
It all happens in one block…the crookedest street in the world.
Purple paint passion on the streets of North Beach
Wishing on a fish…or two.. on San Francisco Bay.
Buddha Haven…on Havens.
Walking the streets of SF with a camera is a must. If you can, do it on your own,
fellow travel partners will thank you. ;)
This little fellow, Walter, surprised us in a taxi today…
he hopped over the front seat and made himself comfortable.
I can tell you, I was not expecting that!
A painterly moment (above and below) from our trip
 to the San Francisco Botanical Garden this morning. 
For the love of a garden…and a blue veil.

The Blue Veil, 1898
by Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862-1938)

I discovered 'Poets in the Garden' at the de Young museum.. a program for San Francisco Bay Area students. Students are introduced to fundamental principals of art viewing and creative writing and are offered the opportunity to select artwork as inspiration for the poems they create.

One of my favourite paintings and student poems...

Untitled by Jonah Copi
Seventh grade, the San Francisco School
written for The Blue Veil (above)

I shift and change
places with her every move.

I glide, flowing in the air
with the slightest gust
of wind.

I hide her beauty and 
ensure her innocence.

I conceal her emotions
with my blue shadow and
act as her barrier.

It is my duty to protect her
and I do my best.

She is helpless without
my blue, silky shield.

The two of us become one
as I cling to her forever.

I give her clarity 
in a state of confusion.

I give her guidance
in a time of fogginess.

I am not only her veil
but her friend and protector.

With that we say adieu to San Francisco.
Mr. H heads due west back to Vietnam.
Mrs. H heads due east to New Hampshire
and Tahilla Farm.

Catch you on the other side! 

If you would like to add to the San Francisco travel tip list,
please do. Leave a comment or write to me
I will add it to the list, happily!
Thank you! Thank you!

Jeanne xx 

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