Saturday, January 27, 2007




I like San Francisco!

It's a city with a human dimension and it looks a bit like Lisbon, the city where I live. Of course, San Francisco was not conquered from the Moors on October 25, 1147, after 428 years of Arabian occupation, and cannot claim over 20 centuries of History. And you cannot hear Fado music there.

But it has several hills, trams and the San Francisco Sound, with Jefferson Airplane, Santana and others!

To make it more alike, we even copied the Golden Gate to build the first Lisbon Bridge over the Tagus River, inaugurated on August 6, 1966. With a main span of 1,013 m (Golden Gate 1280m) and measuring 2,278 m from the south to the north anchorage (Golden Gate has 1,966 m of suspension span including main span and side spans), the Lisbon bridge was the longest in Europe and included the world's longest continuous truss. The caisson foundation at the south tower, embedded in rock 79 m below water, is the world's deepest bridge foundation.

It seems that San Francisco also likes me. The first time we were there in 1982, the temperature reached record highs, just to contradict the joke credited to Mark Twain, but not confirmed: «the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco». When we got back in 1993, the weather was also perfect. And finally - it’s incredible, more than ten years passed since the last time I was there – in 1996 I can’t complain, though the fog was present on the Bay, for the first time during my visits. The only annoyance was that sometimes we could not see the Golden Gate Bridge from our room at the upper floors of the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, Number One, Nob (from the Hindustani word naváb, plural of nayab - viceroy - or nawwab that also generated the Portuguese word nababo) Hill...

"BAY, FOG, SEAGULLS in a sunny blue sky: San Francisco at its best..."

"GHIRARDELLI SQUARE - Come in! The site was home, over a century ago, to the Ghirardelli Family's chocolate factory. It seems that everything started with Domenico Ghirardelli, who was born in Rapallo, Italy, in 1817, and started learning about chocolate at the age of 20. By 1893 his sons purchased a property by the Bay and started to construct the buildings: Chocolate in 1899, Cocoa in 1900, Clock Tower in 1911 and Power House in 1915. Ghirardelli Square was born!"

"RESTAURANTS, SHOPS - Today you still can eat, drink and buy chocolate at Ghirarderlli Square, but there is much more to do..."

"VIEWS - When you're tired of shopping and eating, you can always enjoy the views"

"THE ROCK, a small island located in the middle of the Bay, saw a lighthouse to function there from the summer of 1853 until it was torn down in 1909. It also saw a military fortification since 1850. But it only became world famous when the United States Department of Justice acquired the barracks in 1933, and transformed it in a federal prison in August 1934 - ALCATRAZ! It was used until 1963 and hosted some notable criminals as Al Capone, the same of the «best American sound film», so it was named by Jean-Luc Godard in Cahiers du Cinéma: «Scarface» directed by Howard Hawks in 1932! «Don't call me Scarface; I'm Capone, C, A, P, O, N, E, Capone...» I don't remember whether this is a quote from Hawks' film, but I perfectly memorized the scene, seen probably some thirty years ago..."

"SHIP at the San Francisco Maritime National Park, I think. Today is a maybe day..."

"SKYLINE - San Francisco skyline is unmistakable: the Transamerica building on the left and the Nob Hill skyscrapers in the middle cannot be missed; but the Roy Lichtenstein swatch that goes pretty well with Guida's pull also deserves to be mentioned..."

"PARK - Maybe Fort Mason Gardens..."

"CABLE CAR - The best way to go uphill"

"THE CANNERY, the former site of a Del Monte's Plant, was once the world's largest place in the world where peach was canned; today, is another marketplace, modeled after old European piazzas, featuring shops and restaurants, and even a jazz club"

"FISHERMAN'S WHARF - Said to be San Francisco most popular destination. I remember a seafood meal at Alioto's: crab, shrimps, seafood risotto were perfectly acceptable, though the risotto was not so good as mine «shrimp and aspargus»!"

"WAX MUSEUM -Madame Tussaud in the West Coast..."

"BUS disguised as cable car"

"PIER 39 - More than 110 stores, 13 Bay view restaurants, sea lions, street performers, there is always something for everyone, so says the publicity..."

"SEA LIONS - There are hundreds of sea lions basking in the sun. They rest at the marina near Pier 39 and are a big tourist attraction"


John said...


I loved the pictures, but the Fado music even more. I much perfer it to Rock and Roll. I can testify that San Francsico still looks the same.

I had hoped to post more pictures this week-end, but it has been a very busy weekend and I won't be able to post more until later in the week.

It was good to hear from you today.


Trotter said...

Thanks John.

Look forward to seeing your new photos.