Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘coffee houses’


It breaks my heart to see the town
I made my home four years ago,
Be to its knees brought cruelly down,
By an unforeseen foe, laid low.

Lines of listless people straggle
The erstwhile bustling shopping street,
Six feet apart, no speech or gaggle,
Silent, patient, shuffling their feet.

Some wait to get cash from machines,
For stores that will only take cards;
Some with trolleys in third world scenes,
Praying that shortages are past.

Coffee houses, bars, and restaurants closed,
Some may not reopen their doors;
Dark, empty shopfronts lie exposed,
Bleak images of a town floored.

The day cannot come soon enough
When we’ll be free to hug again,
Laugh and chat over coffee cups
And joy will overcome the pain.

Read Full Post »


Our first morning in Bernal Heights was spent in getting the washing done from the week in Tahoe (one of the most welcome features of having your own place in the city), catching up on the morning commute and weather forecast on KRON4, trying to avoid re-living the Giants’ frustrating defeat in Phoenix the night before and re-acquainting ourselves with proper granola and sourdough toast.

We finally slipped out into the warming sunshine (was the rain really so torrential when we arrived last night?) a few minutes before one o’clock, heading for our favourite lunch spot (well, actually our only one up until now) of Progressive Grounds on Cortland.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lugging – perhaps unwisely – bagels filled with cheese, egg and peanut butter in our stomachs, we set off on one of the neighborhood stairway walks described by Adah Bakalinsky in her extraordinary book entitled, strangely enough, Stairway Walks in San Francisco. Bernal Heights has the greatest number of stairways, around fifty four, in a city boasting several hundred.

Normally, we would wander aimlessly around the area, stumbling, or not, upon some natural or architectural gems purely by chance. But today I wanted to ensure that we didn’t miss any of the sights (though locals will surely disabuse me of such presumption when they read this ).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our walk began at Holly Park Circle at the intersection with Bocana Street. The view looking back towards the hill provided perspective and familiarity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of the most satisfying features of a visually stunning city are the signs at the intersection of streets. For me, they are as iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz or cable cars.

Whilst Haight/Ashbury and Powell/Market may be among the most celebrated, it is those that you discover in half-forgotten corners of downtown or out in the neighborhoods that provide the real thrill, not least when the juxtaposition of names appears particularly incongruous.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We circled Holly Park, stopping intermittently to scan the horizon – from downtown to Bayview, Hunters Point, Candlestick Park and McLaren Park. The marriage of sky and trees enabled some lovely photographic opportunities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The decision to follow a recommended walk was vindicated because we might otherwise have missed a number of delightful and ingenious gardens and stairway as we criss-crossed the streets of the western side of Bernal Heights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stunning views of Twin Peaks, Diamond Heights, Noe Valley lay before us or peeked through overhanging trees at every point.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The love lavished on these community gems was evident in the signage that accompanied them. How could you argue with such requests?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This being San Francisco, the stroll was never on the flat for very long.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fortunately, there were rest areas laid out to enable the perspiring hiker to take a breather, notably on the long, steep Esmeralda Stairway that we dipped in and out of towards the end of the walk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Such a shame there isn’t a Wordsworth Street, especially in such a literary and artistic neighborhood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Why couldn’t this have been a downhill stretch at the beginning of the walk rather than the latter?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally, proof that aliens are among us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the top of Esmeralda we joined Bernal Heights Hill where, as had been the case when we visited last year, dogs greatly outnumbered humans. We sought out the mud and pebble path of the short Moultrie Stairway and, via Powhattan and Bocana, returned to Cortland where frappés beckoned at Martha and Brothers.

The walk had been every bit as thrilling – and challenging – as we had anticipated, undertaken in increasingly warm conditions.

A great first afternoon in the neighborhood!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


As our month’s stay in San Francisco’s Noe Valley sadly draws to a close, here are a few photos we took of the neighbourhood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flowers and Festivals

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bougainvillea sprouting everywhere

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday morning Farmer’s Market

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can never leave here without parting with our money

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Excellent local bookstore

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Constant lines outside Chloe’s café 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But we preferred this one – the Eggs Benedict has it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Famous movie location  (“Sister Act”)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur favourite 24th Street bar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Excellent coffee and bagels at Martha’s just a block away

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If we run out of anything, there’s always the corner store

Read Full Post »